Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bull's-Eye Cupcakes

Recently I ran across a recipe for a superlative Vanilla Cupcake from a notable L.A. eatery, which I am happy to share with you.

This past Memorial Day weekend, I baked a batch, and boy! are they good. They hardly need icing, they're so tasty.

Then I got to thinking: What if I made a batch of my favorite chocolate cupcakes, and then took a plug out of each cupcake, and swapped them, with vanilla plugs going into chocolate cupcakes and vice versa?

A quick call to my foodie-blog-loving Daughter #1 confirms that neither of us has seen this.

Cupcakes filled with a plug of ganache or frosting, yes. We'd done that, ourselves. But cupcakes filled with another kind of cupcake was new to us.

I'm sure somebody, somewhere beat me to this idea. But the goal isn't to be the first; the goal is to create deliciousness!

So today I tried it, and here's how it went. I used my second-smallest Ateco circular cutter and worked it into each cupcake with a gentle, twisting motion:

That's about far enough in:

A gentle, rock-and-twist motion brought back up most of the inner core:

There was a little roughness at the bottom of each core, but that part is going to be covered up soon enough:

Heh. Sorry about the lack of focus, above. I was so excited about what I was doing, I forgot to check each image to make sure I got it right. Anyhow, a little tap inserted each core into the opposite color of cupcake:

Right about now I start humming "Ebony and Ivory" uncontrollably. Most of the cores have been swapped. I left some cakes whole just for the heck of it:

They look like little bull's-eyes to me! Their lack of precision is partly because this is my first attempt at swapping cupcake cores, and partly because I know it doesn't matter much. Because everybody's about to get a two-tone icing:

Hooray for icing! I simply made my standard buttercream icing (recipe at the end of this post), then laid half of it carefully down one side of a pastry bag fitted with a large, star-shaped tip. Then I shook some cocoa powder into the remaining icing in the bowl, blended that up to make a chocolate icing, and laid that into the other side of the pastry bag. What comes out is free-form, two-toned icing:

Oh, yum!
Yummy yummy yumness.

Of course, I should have put everybody in the fridge at this point, to firm up and...meld. But I was too impatient and cut one open immediately. It fell apart:

But, lordy did it taste good.

Standard Buttercream Icing
(I got this recipe off the side of a box of cookie cutters I bought a million years ago, and that's all I can tell you about its origin. It has served me well for lo, these many years.)

3 C. powdered sugar
1/3 C. butter, softened
1 to 2 Tbsp. milk (or cream, or Kahlua, or coffee, or whatever you fancy)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and blend with electric mixer until smooth. If the icing seems too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, add a little more milk. Makes enough to fill and frost a two-layer, 9-inch cake, or to frost 2 to 3 dozen cupcakes (depending in how thickly you trowel on the icing.)

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