Wednesday, December 16, 2009
These cupcakes are for Jurij Dreo, a med student working in a neurophysiology lab in Slovenia. Jurij wanted to see something neuroscience or brain related on the blog and this is what I've whipped up: chocolate ganache filled brain cupcakes! Because it is a well known fact that human brains are filled with chocolate ganache.
Originally, I was trying to think of what cake flavor would be appropriate for these cakes, I wanted something "smart". You know, a brain appropriate flavor. So Mr. Humble and I were discussing the possible cupcake flavors and this is how that conversation went:
Me: I need ideas for a cupcake flavor that is brain related, or 'brain healthy.' You know, sort of like how Cheerios are considered 'heart healthy', what would be brain healthy?
Mr. Humble: Fish is brain healthy, you could make salmon cupcakes.
Me: Gross. I'm not making salmon flavored cupcakes.
Mr. Humble: Why not, you did make a bacon cake.
So I tossed out the idea of being clever by making 'brain healthy brain cupcakes' out the window. Well, I suppose cacao could be considered a 'brain food', but certainly not in this form. So I am not going to pretend these little cakes are in anyway good for you. These cupcakes, topped with a swiss meringue butter cream and a chocolate ganache filling, pack all the health benefits of a stick of butter. Meaning, they're really good.
Let's get down to how they're made.
So, I've taken 18 ordinary devils food cupcakes and tarted them up with the following (these are both adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes):
4 oz semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream (40% milk fat)
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl and set aside.
In a small sauce pan heat the cream and corn syrup to a simmer, stirring constantly. Once the cream is hot, pour it over the chocolate and allow it to sit for 3 minutes then mix well. I poured my ganache into a squeeze bottle (like these) and then inserted it into my cooled cupcakes to fill them. You can also do this with a piping bag. That's it for the filling, now the cupcakes are ready for frosting...
Swiss Meringue Butter Cream:
5 large egg whites
1 pound butter (4 sticks) at room temperature divided into tablespoons
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Bring a sauce pan of water to a simmer and in a metal bowl combine the egg whites and sugar. Whisk the eggs and sugar in the bowl sitting over the pan of water (not in the water) for several minutes until the mixture is creamy and there is no grit if you rub the mixture between your fingers.
Then transfer the eggs to your stand mixer with the whisk attachment and beat them to stiff but not dry peaks. Allow this mixture to cool completely (roughly 10 minutes). Then on medium speed begin slowly beating in all the butter a few tablespoons at a time and then add the vanilla. The mixture might look a little curdled at first, however continue beating until it comes together in a light fluffy mixture. Then remove the whisk attachment and use the paddle to mix the frosting on low speed for 2-3 minutes to beat any air bubbles out of the frosting.
Using a piping bag equipped with a medium round tip (I used an Ateco #12) and filled with my frosting I pipped a half inch mound onto each cupcake. Then I began crafting my 'brain'. I started by piping a D-shaped outline on each side of the frosting mound and then filling the empty space with swirly brain-like frosting coils.
That is it! Brain cupcakes.
These were soooo yummy. Swiss meringue butter cream has to be my favorite frosting (it will kill you, but it is just so yummy without being too sweet) and it compliments the bittersweet ganache very well. These are best kept at room temperature and eaten the same day.
Brains om nom nom!
Wait... I totally missed my chance to fill a post with zombie jokes.