I've decided that there is no point in trying out all these different cupcake recipes if I'm not going to keep notes on which ones I like best so I am going to start a new category on the blog to store the recipes for future reference. I've got a vague plan in my head about turning the empty shop down the street into an American Cupcake Bakery but I'm not entirely sure that I want to spend my days in an apron. I am the furthest thing from an academic snob, but I have a nagging suspicion that I would be much happier in a job in which I actually make use of my Masters in Economics.(Of course, if instead of a single cupcake shop, I make plans for a Cupcake Empire, it seems much more enticing). All the same, plans sort of swirl around in my head and in the meantime, my entourage is being assaulted on a weekly basis with a new test batch of cupcakes, providing me with free market research for my imaginary menu.
Today's cupcake, Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting, was a solid winner. I actually made them yesterday afternoon and they were much better after having spent the night in the wine refrigerator (maybe this is going to be my secret ingredient? essence of cork?) Just as a side note, that wine cave has proven to be very useful- for holding bottled water and now for chilling cupcakes- but is only barely used for its actual purpose, ie storing wine. Basically, its just an extra mini fridge. Anyways, the chocolate cake was fantastic with a really fluffy light crumb and a gorgeous, almost brownie-like texture on the top. For the frosting, I bought every cream cheese type thing that they had in my grocery store, figuring that I wanted to find a good replacement once and for all; my last batch of frosting was made with mascorpone and I didn't like how runny it was. Kiri and St Moret don't cut it, in my book, as they are far too wet for a frosting. I finally 'craked the code.' I would go so far as to say that Saint Florentin cheese is EXACTLY the same thing as Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Seriously, for the Americans in Paris, this is powerful information. You no longer have to traipse over to one of the American epiceries and pay 7 euro for a pack of imported stuff. I found mine for something like 1.50 euro at the Monoprix. I see a wonderful summer of cream cheese taco dip ahead of us...
The cupcake recipe I used was from the Cupcake Blog, adapted to my kitchen.
Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cupcakes
4 regular cupcakes + 15 mini cupcakes
210° C oven (I had mine on convection to bake them faster)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temp
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg, room temp
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup high quality unsweetened cocoa powder like Van Houten
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
2 Add egg and beat until well combined.
3. Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a small sized bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Measure out the milk and vanilla and stir to combine
5. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk/vanilla and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.
6. Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 2/3’s full. Bake full size cupcakes for about 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Mini cupcakes only need 9 minutes. Please note that I used silicone pans and a metal pan would speed up baking time.
As you can see, I filled my cups too full and they collapsed a bit in the center once they cooled. I was using silicone muffin pans so I wasn't able to tap it against the counter to get a good idea how full they were. I think that with this recipe its better to err on the side of caution and underfill rather than overfill.
Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz St Florentin cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy.
2. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.
3. Add the vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, and 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat at low speed, occasionally stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar to arrive at the consistency and sweetness you like.