Friday, April 26, 2013

Berry Almond Chocolate Cupcakes

The initial idea for this recipe came from here, but I prefer anything mini over full size. Some may say it's because I am so short myself, but really, who doesn't love more bite-sized treats? So I went for a cupcake version.

I'm not sure how all the sprinkles ended up in a line...couldn't have done that if I tried!

And I couldn't resist making mini cupcakes too!


You start by making the cupcakes (duh!), and then once they are cooled you make a hole in them. If you have one of those nifty cupcake corers you could use that, or you can do what I did and press the bottom of a large piping tip into the center of the cupcake to remove the insides.



The original recipe called for a raspberry buttercream (which I used as a filling), but I wanted to change things up a bit and did a mixed berry buttercream. I used about 6 ounces of strawberries, 3 ounces of blueberries and 3 ounces of raspberries. You can use any combination you want, but my heart belongs to strawberries so they had to be the dominant berry for me. 

To start making the filling you need to make a berry reduction. The end result is a very dark and thick purple/red syrup.

I know I was nervous about overcooking it, so don't be afraid to taste it as you go ;)
After adding it to the buttercream mixture I piped it into the holes in the cupcakes.




Then spread the ganache on top. I found that the easiest way to do this is place a dollop of the ganache in the center of the cupcake using a spoon, and then use a knife to spread it evenly over the top of each cupcake.



Then all that was left was to frost them with some dark chocolate frosting! The frosting was VERY creamy when I made it so I popped it into the refrigerator while I was assembling the rest of the cupcakes. That made it much easier to pipe!



Also, to really pack on the frosting you may need to double the recipe. But I would say this is a less-is-more type of recipe...if you put too much frosting on the top, it will overpower the delicious, fruity insides...

A view from the inside...

 And that would be a shame! The berry buttercream really is yummy!

Berry Almond Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes about 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
{adapted from Martha Stewart}

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place cupcake liners in pans. Sift cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a mixer. Beat on low speed until just combined. Increase speed to medium and add eggs, buttermilk, water, oil and vanilla. Beat until smooth- about 3 minutes.
  2. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from the center of cupcakes. Let cool in pans for 1 minute and then remove and place on wire rack to cool completely. 
For the almond milk chocolate ganache:
{adapted from parsleysagesweet.com}

Ingredients
  • 4 1/2 ounces chopped milk chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup whole raw almonds (then either smashed in ziploc bag or blended in food processor with 1/2 tsp sugar)
Directions

Place the chopped milk chocolate in small heatproof bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan until its just about to boil. Pour heavy cream over chocolate and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Then stir until smooth. Add in smashed/blended almonds. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

For the berry buttercream:

Ingredients
  • 12 ounces mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Directions
  1. Place the berries in a medium saucepan, and begin to cook over medium heat until they break down into a sauce. You can mash any stubborn berries, such as strawberries or blueberries. Strain over a fine mesh sieve into a bowl (you should have about 1/2 cup juice). Pour strained liquid into a a clean saucepan and continue to cook over medium heat until it becomes thick, syrupy and dark (there should be about 1/4 cup of juice left). Place in refrigerator, or set aside, until completely cool.
  2. In mixer beat butter until creamy. Add cooled berry reduction, lemon juice, and 1 cup powdered sugar. Beat until creamy and uniform in color. Slowly add more powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached (I only added 1/2 cup more). If too much powdered sugar is added, you can thin it out with a little milk or cream.
For the dark chocolate frosting
{adapted from Martha Stewart}

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Directions

Combine cocoa powder and boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved. With an electric mixer, beat butter and powdered sugar on high speed until fluffy and pale. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined. Scrape down sides of bowl to ensure all ingredients are fully incorporated. Beat in the cocoa mixture until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.

Assembly

Make a hole in the cooled cupcakes using either a cupcake corer or the end of a piping tip. Using a piping bag, fill cupcakes with berry buttercream. Spread almond milk chocolate ganache on top of each cupcake. Then frost with dark chocolate frosting.

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