Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tiramisu Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

Tiramisu Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's "Cupcakes"
Yields 18 standard size cupcakes
My Notes: If making cupcakes from scratch seems too time consuming, you can use a boxed cake mix white or yellow cake mix instead.*  (But shh! I'm sure Martha would shudder if she knew. :))
For the coffee-syrup, Martha's recipe suggests using Marsala wine ~ however you can use brandy, rum, or a liqueur (Kahlua, for example.) I chose Frangelico (Hazelnut liqueur.) Ummm!
If using a liqueur, I suggest you reduce, or eliminate the sugar in the syrup as they are already plenty sweet.

1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
3 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup sugar

>Flavored Coffee-Syrup (see recipe below)
>Mascarpone Frosting (see recipe below)
>Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

Position rack in center of oven, preheat oven to 325 degrees (F).
Heat milk and vanilla-bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter until melted, and let stand 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, place paper liners in standard size cupcake/muffin tins.
Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, and discard vanilla-bean pod.

Mix together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar in an electric mixer. Place mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, whisk by hand until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture becomes warm warm, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when whisk is lifted.
Gently fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches, until it is thoroughly mixed; stir 1/2 cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.
Fill the paper-lined tins evenly with the batter, making each three-quarters full. Place in preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the cupcakes are lightly-golden brown. Rotate the pans halfway through the baking time. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes and proceeding with recipe.

Flavored Coffee-Syrup:
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly brewed very strong coffee (or espresso)
1 ounce marsala, or other liquor, or liqueur (see note in introduction.)
1/4 cup sugar (omit or reduce if using a sweet liqueur)
Mix above ingredients until combined and sugar dissolves (if using sugar)
>Martha's recipe indicates to brush the tops of the cupcakes with this syrup. Instead of brushing ; I deeply poked the tops of the cupcakes several times with a wooden skewer, then drizzled the coffee-mixture over with a teaspoon, allow it to soak in. Use all of the coffee syrup (some reviewers did not use it all, and regretted that the cupcakes didn't have enough flavor.) Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid 30 minutes. Dollop (or pipe) frosting onto cupcakes; refrigerate up to 24-hours in airtight containers. Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving.

Mascarpone Frosting
Note: Here is where I deviated from Martha's recipe (A couple of reviewers complained that Martha's version was a little grainy.) To avoid this I blended the ingredients as follows:
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
In a small bowl, beat 1/2 of the heavy cream until soft peaks barely form (don't over beat), gradually beat in 1/4 cup of the confectioner's sugar until medium peaks form. It's better to under-whip this mixture, than over whip.
In a separate medium-size bowl, blend 1/2 cup of the heavy cream and the remaining 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar into the mascarpone with an electric mixer until very creamy and smooth.    
Add the sweetened whipped cream to the mascarpone mixture and blend until creamy and smooth. Use immediately.

Alternative for Mascarpone
(This will make a little more than you need for the Mascarpone Frosting, (but I'm sure you'll find a use if there is any left over.)
In my area Mascarpone can sometimes be difficult to find ~ A top notch substitute:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
In a medium-size bowl, beat all ingredient together until well combined and creamy.
Use as a substitute in recipes requiring Mascarpone Cheese
Important: Do NOT substitute low fat cream cheese or sour cream.

* Using a box-cake mix:
Martha's recipes makes 18 regular sized cupcakes, whereas a box mix usually makes 24 cupcakes. You may want to make a little more Mascarpone Frosting if using a mix (or simply make 18 of the 24 into the Tiramisu cupcakes, and frost the remaining 6 with another frosting.)


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