Saturday, October 29, 2011
almond green tea cupcakes.
I've gone a little wacky with frosting today. I used a closed star tip to pipe roses and swirls on the mini cupcakes, and I also did a basket-weave for the regular sized ones. I realized I had extra frosting so I did a rose on top of the basket-weave. I even piped little star squirts on the borders of a cupcake but I decided that looked hideous so I stopped.
I was worried at first that using the basket-weave technique, there would only be a thin layer of frosting on top and would not be enough to complement the cupcake. Turns out that the cupcake was so good on its own that the frosting wasn't necessary! But even if I knew that I would still make the frosting- I love piping~ I'm planning to do a duo tone frosting for my next cupcake. The thing is, I'm thinking a chocolate and vanilla one and I have different favourite recipes for both. I heard duo tone frostings are tricky because both frostings have to be of the same consistency which wouldn't be a problem if you're adapting the same recipe but..
I did tweak the cupcake recipe a bit by doubling the amount of almond extract. Seriously, 1/4 tsp almond extract for 24 cupcakes?! No way that almond is going to show up. True, there was ground almonds included too but I'd rather not risk a non-existent-almond almond cupcake. The raw batter had an almost overpowering artificial scent of almond but it toned down lots after baking so not to worry.
The cupcake was light and fluffy with a nice hint of almond. The extract did not make it taste too artificial. I think the success of this recipe comes from the extra step of whisking up egg white separately and folding them in. It's fussy, I admit, and I was tempted to skip it because I scaled down my recipe and whisking 1/2 an egg white looked really stupid, but I'm glad I didn't. The egg whites made a significant difference in the batter- you can tell when you fold them in.
The frosting was okay, nothing to shout about. Personally, I feel the pleasant bitterness of matcha can be brought out better in other ways.
I'm sorry if this post is overly analytical (well, more than usual). I find that that way is the only way for me to get words typed out. Hopefully I'll get some inspiration soon...
Almond Green Tea Cupcakes
adapted from Baked
I made a few changes (not reflected here) to the recipe. For the cupcake, I used all butter because I didn't have any shortening and I doubled the almond extract. For the frosting, I reduced the sugar by a third, omitted the cream and cut the butter back by a quarter as well because I don't like the buttery taste made with the full amount of butter.
For the Almond Cupcake:
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. pure almond extract
1 large egg
1 cup ice cold water
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
For the Green Tea Frosting:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. unsweetened matcha powder
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Make the almond cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two 12-cup cupcake pans with paper liners.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the almonds until they are a find powder. Put the powdered almonds in a small bowl and set aside.
Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in to a large bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sugar, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, add the egg, and beat until just combined. Turn the mixer to low. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the ice water, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Fold in the powdered almonds.
Fill the cupcake liners about three quarters full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and place them on the rack to cool completely.
Make the green tea frosting: In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar, flour, and matcha powder together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 20 minutes.
Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla and continue beating until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put it in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then mix it again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and mix again.
Assemble the cupcakes: There are many ways to frost a cupcake. If you have a pastry bag, simply fit the bag with the largest tip, fill the bag with frosting, and pipe enough frosting to cover the cupcake. If you do not have a pastry bag, use an ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to scoop the frosting and dispense it onto the top of the cupcake. You can also use an offset spatula to frost the cupcakes.
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