Chocolate Stout Cake with Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting

Chocolate Stout Cake via Sweetapolita

This was kind of an unexpected post, actually, so you may notice that there is only one photo of this cake, which isn’t how it usually goes around here. Since it has been so dark and gloomy outside for the past few days, I just couldn’t hold out any longer for nice natural light to take photos (or to eat the cake!), so I took a quick photo and decided to share this recipe with you anyway, because I have a feeling you, like me, have a thing for cake. Yep, I’m catching on quick.

Before I chat about it though, I want to share the winner of the Taste of Home Baking book that I talked about here (along with those rich and chocolatey dipped brownies!).

The winner of the giveaway is…

Sarah {Songbird Sweets}: “…my favorite dessert is definitely chocolate peanut butter cupcakes…i just cant seem to resist them:-)”

Congratulations, Sarah! I will be in touch with you via email!

So, back to this decadent Chocolate Stout Cake with Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting…it will be a short and sweet post, but wow, guys, I loved this cake. I’ve been seeing Chocolate Stout Cakes here and there on other blogs, and I’ve always been intrigued, but never tried it. Since International Stout Day is fast approaching, I figured I better get a move on. Okay, no, I just read that tonight, but that would have been impressive, no? This is a rich, dense and moist cake made with, among other things, dark beer or stout, such as Guinness. The beer really just heightens of the chocolate-ness that’s going on and adds moisture to the cake, but I won’t lie–the dinstinct Guinness flavour is definitely present, however unexpectedly appropriate. It just all works (and trust me, you don’t need to be a beer drinker!). It did, however, lure my husband into trying it, and he was quite amazed. Just promise me you won’t tell him there’s sour cream in it? Don’t ask.

I decided to fill and frost it with my new(ish) favourite sweet frosting, the Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting, rather than the popular chocolate frosting variety, simply because I love contrast in both taste and visual. Since this frosting (as you may recall) tastes like vanilla bean ice cream, all together this cake is kind of like a Guinness Ice Cream Float, and, although I’ve never had one, I’m pretty sure that’s not a bad thing.

Before I leave you with the recipe, I wanted to give you a save-the-date of sorts, for a fabulous giveaway I’ll be posting about next week. As part of the giveaway prize, Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts (where it all began for me!) will be saving 2 spots in the upcoming 2-evening Holiday Truffles & Bonbons class on November 24th & 25th from 6:30pm-9:30pm for a winner and a friend to attend! I’m so excited for the future winner of this prize, truly. Anyone will be able to enter, however you would need to be available those evenings and able to attend the Toronto class. There will be more even more chocolate goodness added to the prize from Barry Callebaut (you know, those folks who produce all of the premium chocolate products I love to use in my recipes, including the extra dark cocoa powder I use in all of my chocolate cake, including this one!), so stay tuned for details.

I’ll be back with another recipe shortly, friends!

Chocolate Stout Layer Cake with Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting         {click to print}

Yield: One 9-inch round two-layer cake–12-16 servings.

Cake Layers

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces) stout or dark beer (I used Guinness)

1 1/2 cups (340 grams/12 ounces/3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1  cup sifted (115 grams/4 ounces) King Arthur Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa (I use Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder – Extra Dark)

3 cups (360 grams/12.5 ounces) all-purpose flour

3 cups (600 grams/20.5 ounces) granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons (12 grams/11.25 mL) baking powder

1 teaspoon (8 grams) salt

3 large eggs, at room temperature

2/3 cup ( 165 mL) sour cream, at room temperature

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round pans (2″ deep), line bottoms with parchment paper circles, then grease circles, dust with flour and tap out excess. Set aside.

2. Place the stout and butter in a large, heavy saucepan and heat on medium heat until the butter melts, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the sifted cocoa powder until smooth. Pour into a large heatproof measuring cup or bowl and let cool.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (flat beater), mix the eggs and sour cream on medium speed (I use #4 on KitchenAid) until well combined, about 3 minutes.

5. Add the cooled cocoa mixture, and mix on medium speed (I use #4 on KitchenAid)  until combined, about 1 minute.

6. Add the dry ingredients slowly and combine on low-speed (I use #2 on KitchenAid) until blended, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of bowl, and then mix for another minute.

7. Divide batter into prepared pans evenly. If possible, weigh the pans and batter with a kitchen scale for accuracy and even layers. If you do, each pan of batter should weigh ~1 kg/2.2 lbs. Place cake pans on middle oven rack side-by-side, but about 2″ apart and bake until toothpick inserted into centre comes clean, about 35 minutes.

8. Let cakes cool on wire racks for ~10 minutes, loosen edges with knife or small palette knife, then gently remove from pans to cool completely.

*Chocolate Stout Cake recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting

Note: This is the same frosting recipe I often use, but I have modified the quantity to yield enough to fill and frost this cake.

Ingredients

1 pound (454 grams/2 cups/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes

3 3/4 cups sifted (600 grams/1 lb + 5 ounces) confectioners’ sugar (icing, powdered)

4 tablespoons (60 mL) milk

1 vanilla bean, scraped

2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract — I use Nielsen-Massey Vanillas 8-oz. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract

pinch of salt

Method

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use “4″ on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.

2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy.

3. Best used right away (for ideal spreading consistency reasons).

4. You can eliminate the vanilla bean and use 4 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract.

*Adapted from Donna Hay 

Good luck & enjoy!



Related posts:

Autumn Delight Cake

Autumn Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

So it turns out this cake has more ingredients than any cake I have ever made! And when I started to write the cake description in the blog title, I realized that there are 18 words and two ampersands in the name. Yep. Okay, ready? The Autumn Delight cake is a 4-Layer Sweet Potato & Ginger Layer Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Filling, Candied Pecans and Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Buttercream. When I tried to edit that, I realized that each one of those ingredients are key, and I couldn’t bare the thought of taking any words away. Okay, you’re right, I’m just being silly, but most importantly I am really excited about this cake. In my heart, I am drawn to all thing pastel and sprinkly, but there is a big part of me that just loves autumny, spiced flavours. At this time of year, my sister-in-law, Mary, makes that gorgeous southern sweet potato casserole dish that you have likely heard of or tried, that marries sweet potatoes, brown sugar, marshmallows, vanilla and pecans, and I thought it would be a nice treat to create a cake version of that dish. So on with the apron and into the kitchen I went . . .

Autumn Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

What I love about this recipe is how moist, creamy, and unexpected some of the elements are. I made a sweet potato layer spice cake and added a generous quantity of crystallized ginger for texture and taste to the cake layers themselves, and then filled the cake with whipped toasted marshmallow filling (remember the one from this cake?) that I sprinkled with candied pecans for crunch (you even get those little buttery brown sugary bits that fall off the pecans every now and then). Since the filling was quite sweet, I decided to frost it with a Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream that is fluffy, satiny and perfectly brown sugary and not-too sweet, in true Swiss Meringue Buttercream fashion. The neat part about making Brown Sugar Buttercream is that you essentially just switch the white sugar for brown sugar, and voila! The taste is really quite different and it was the perfect addition to this concoction–particulary when topped with a generous handful of the candied pecans and crystallized ginger.

Autumn Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

So think about it this way: Every bite is crunchy, then brown sugar creamy, then dense, moist & spicy, then sweet and crispy, oh, and then crunchy, and then dense, moist & spicy, and then sweet and crispy, and oh, yet again crunchy, then dense, moist & spicy, then, alas, sweet and crispy, and then dense, moist & spicy. Help me, Rhonda.

Autumn Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

If the sweet potato thing is throwing you off your dessert-loving game, well, don’t fear. It’s much like carrot cake or pumpkin cake, and the texture is like no other–it’s dense yet light all at once. You have my word. I wasn’t sure either, but now I am pretty certain.

Autumn Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

I once wrote that the Zingy Orange Ginger Carrot Cake with White Chocolate Icing is my ultimate-tasting cake, and I have always stood by that statement because I meant it. Well, this cake comes a close second or possibly ties for first. Or possibly the unthinkable: it could be even better.

If you make this cake, just know that it does take some time, but I felt it was completely worth it, and I think it would make an incredible addition to any Thanksgiving event or any autumn day.

Autumn Delight Cake

Yield: One 4-layer, 8-inch round cake

Sweet Potato & Ginger Layer Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Filling, Candied Pecans and Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Buttercream

Ingredients

    For the Cake Layers:
  • 3 large sweet potatoes (about 900 g)
  • 2 cups (400 g) sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups (315 ml) sunflower oil (or vegetable, safflower, canola oil)
  • 2 cups (230 g) cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon (7 g) ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (7 g) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (3 g) ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.5 g) ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) brandy or dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (120 g) crystallized ginger, chopped
  • For the Filling:
  • 16 large white marshmallows
  • 1 cup (125 g) icing sugar (confectioners' or powdered), sifted
  • 1 cup butter (227 g)(2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 jar (213 g) marshmallow cream (such as Marshmallow Fluff)
  • For the Buttercream:
  • 5 large egg whites (150 g))
  • 1-1/4 cups (250 g) light brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups (3 sticks)(340 g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • a few pinches of cinnamon, to taste
  • For the Candied Pecans:
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons (24 g) brown sugar
  • 1 cup (100 g) pecan pieces

Instructions

    For the Cake Layers:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans, dust with flour, tap out excess and set aside.
  2. Place the sweet potatoes on a microwave-safe plate and pierce them with a fork. Microwave until they are tender (about 7-8 minutes each side). Carefully remove the skin when cool enough to touch, and mash the flesh into a coarse puree.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and eggs together on medium-high speed (I use #6 on KitchenAid) until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the oil and beat on medium until combined. Add the cooled sweet potato puree and mix until combined.
  4. Sift dry ingredients together (cake flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and ground ginger) and then add to sweet potato mixture.
  5. Mix in brandy/dark rum (I used dark rum) and vanilla. Gently stir in crystallized ginger.
  6. Evenly distribute batter into the prepared pans (weigh them if possible with digital kitchen scale), smooth with a small offset palette knife and place in the center of the middle rack of the oven, about 2 inches apart. Bake until a knife or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
  7. Let pans cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack and cool them completely.
  8. For the Filling:
  9. Place marshmallows on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place on lower rack of oven, and broil marshmallows until nice and brown on top, between 30-60 seconds. Remove pan from oven and gently turn the marshmallows over, and broil until they are golden brown. (Be sure to keep an eye on them--they burn very quickly.)
  10. In an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and icing sugar on low until blended, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and mix on med-high for about 3 minutes.
  11. Add marshmallow cream and toasted marshmallows, and mix on lowest setting for about 1 minute.
  12. For the Buttercream:
  13. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160°F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
  14. With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so). *Don't begin adding butter until the bottom of the bowl feels neutral, and not warm.
  15. Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). *If mixture is too runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes and continue mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined. Add cinnamon to taste and blend.
  16. For the Candied Pecans:
  17. Melt the butter in a small pan. Mix in brown sugar, and add the pecans. Toss to coat.
  18. Cook on medium low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be sure to watch carefully so they don’t burn.
  19. Turn out onto parchment paper or aluminum foil and let cool for 5 minutes; break apart into smaller pieces if using halves.
  20. Assembly of the Autumn Delight Cake
  21. Slice both cake layers in half horizontally, so you have 4 cake layers.
  22. Place the first layer on a plate, pedestal or cake board cut side up (so bottom of the cake layer is touching plate), and spread ~3/4 cup of Toasted Marshmallow Filling with a small offset palette knife, leaving 1" or so around the edge. Sprinkle with a handful of candied pecans pieces.
  23. Repeat previous step until you get to the final cake layer. Place last layer face down and chill cake for 30-40 minutes.
  24. Frost cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream and top with a generous handful of candied pecans and crystallized ginger.
  25. Finished cake can be kept at room temperature for up to 8 hours. Keep refrigerated if longer than 8 hours, but always serve at room temperature (Swiss Buttercream should never be served cold, as it goes back to a cold-butter texture).

Notes

* You can make buttercream ahead and keep in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, re-whipping in mixer for 5 minutes.

**Can freeze buttercream for up to 6-8 weeks. To thaw, place on counter overnight, and rewhip for 5 minutes with paddle attachment in an electric mixer. If not satiny enough upon rewhip, take 1/3 of buttercream and microwave in a microwave-safe container for ~8 seconds, then add back to mixing bowl and remix with remaining buttercream.

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://sweetapolita.com/2011/10/autumn-delight-cake/

[cake layer recipe adapted from Martha Stewart]

[candied pecan recipe adapted from Creative Culinary]

Good luck & enjoy!

Related posts:

Chocolate-Dipped Brownies {and a Giveaway!}

Chocolate-Dipped Brownies via Sweetapolita

*This giveaway is closed, but the recipe is still divine!

I love rich, silky chocolate. I also love brownies. And, well, sprinkles are my soul mate, so can someone please tell me how I never thought to marry them into one delightful and decadent bar before? It all makes so much sense, but yet, somehow, it never dawned on me.

So there I was, poring over every single recipe in the new book, Taste of Home Baking, All NEW Edition: 725+ Recipes & Variations from Classics to Best Loved!, and there it was: a recipe for Chocolate-Dipped Brownies. Needless to say I sashayed to the kitchen to whip these up, and although I wasn’t surprised, they tasted a good as I suspected they would. The reason I really enjoy this baking book so much, is because it’s made up seemingly endless (I think it’s almost 800!) recipes that have been contributed by home-bakers all over North America (I even spotted a recipe from a woman in Kitchener, Ontario, my home town, which I found very exciting for some reason). That aside, every single recipe in the book has been tested in the Taste of Home test kitchen, so there’s this comfort of knowing that the recipes are reliable and trusted.

*The sweetest gifts: From coffee cakes to cookies, Taste of Home Baking: All-New Edition offers dozens of home-baked gift ideas, and the book itself makes a valuable holiday gift; it comes with a free year subscription to Taste of Home (within the U.S.)

* Trimmed-down favorites, specially designed for health-conscious readers or those who have food allergies, such as gluten-free options.

* Troubleshooting tips that can help any home baker turn exasperation into elation, including step-by-step photos. 

*These are down-to-earth recipes that will warm the hearts of families who know the simple pleasure of gathering around the kitchen table for fresh-from-the-oven happiness.

Because I have a real thing for family recipes and comfort baking, I really connected with the whole concept of this book and, of course can’t help but feel the need to bake everything in it! The even better news is that the sweet folks from Taste of Home have generously provided me with a copy of this beautiful book to give away to one lucky reader (it also comes along with a year subscription to their Taste of Home magazine.). Some of the recipes that leapt off the pages (and are on my to-make list) are the Hot Milk Cake, Caramel Butter Cake, Peanut Butter Truffle Cupcakes, Candy Bar Meringue Torte (just to name a few) and, of course, these Chocolate-Dipped Brownies.

I found these to be a great make-with-the-kids treat, which always means a lot to me. They don’t even require an electric mixer, which is always a welcomed change. Reese was at school the morning we made these, but little Neve and I had a great time making them together (don’t worry, Reese got her taste test in after school!). I had Neve on sprinkle duty and, as you can probably bet, she didn’t mind.

Dipped Brownies via Sweetapolita

What is it about sprinkles that make life that much better?

Sweetapolita

The same goes for cute little cakelets.

Sweetapolita

 An official Sprinkle Sprinkler–imagine if that was a paying gig? Sign me up.

Dipped Brownies via Sweetapolita

I’m thinking these would be a nice addition to a Halloween party dessert table or to give away to close neighbours, friends and family as homemade Halloween treats. They would also, of course, be a nice addition to pretty much any day of the year.

For a chance to win this epic book, here are some giveaway details:

Here’s how to enter:

1. Leave a comment on this blog post telling me what your favourite baked good is. That’s it!

2. For an extra entry, tweet about this post (with the link) and include @Sweetapolita, then come back and let me know.

3. For an extra entry, tell your friends on Facebook (with the link), then pop back over here to let me know.

*Giveaway Completed

Winner will be chosen on Wednesday, October 26th at 12pm EST using random.org. Any entries received after this time will not be considered.

Be sure to check back for see if you’re the winner!

Here’s the recipe for these decadent (but simple!) treats:

Chocolate-Dipped Brownies        {click to print}

From Taste of Home Baking, All NEW Edition: 725+ Recipes & Variations from Classics to Best Loved!, contributed by Jackie Archer, Clinton, Iowa

Yield: 24 bars (1″ x 2.5″)

Ingredients

3/4 cup (150 g/5 oz) sugar

1/3 cup butter (75 g/2.5 oz), cubed

2 tablespoons (30 mL) water

4 cups (685 g/24 oz) semisweet chocolate chips, divided (I used premium chocolate for 2 cups dipping portion) – Callebaut Dark Callets 53.8 % (2 lb)

1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract

2 eggs

3/4 cup (100 g) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt

1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) baking soda

2 tablespoons (30 mL) shortening

Chopped pecans, jimmies, and/or nonpareils (optional)

Method

1. In a large saucepan, bring the sugar, butter, and water to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat; stir in 1 cup of chocolate chip and vanilla until smooth. Cool for 5 minutes.

2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda; stir into chocolate mixture. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips. Pour into a greased 9-inch square baking pan.

3. Bake at 325°F for 35 minutes or until set (see my note below). Cool completely on a wire rack. Place in the freezer for 30-40 minutes or until firm (do not freeze completely). Cut into bars.

4. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt remaining chips with shortening; stir until smooth. Using a small fork, dip brownies to completely coat; shake off excess. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with pecan, jimmies and/or nonpareils. Let stand until set. Store in an airtight container.

*Dipping Bars in Chocolate

* Melt the chocolate chips, baking chocolate or candy coating according to recipe directions. If necessary, transfer chocolate to a narrow container.

* To cover an entire bar in chocolate, use two forks to dip the bar into the chocolate and lift up. Gently shake the bar to remove excess chocolate. Place on a waxed-paper lined baking sheet to set at room temperature.

* If the chocolate cools too much to the bars properly, rewarm and continue dipping.

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • For easy removal of the baked brownie, I grease the pan and then line with parchment paper with an inch or so of overhang. Once brownies are cool and have been in the freezer for the 30 minutes, I then remove from pan using parchment overhang and place brownie on cutting board for clean and easy cutting.
  • Because this recipe calls for so much chocolate, I used standard chocolate chips for the brownie and premium chocolate for the dipping (I use semisweet Callebaut Dark Callets 53.8 % (2 lb))
  • I tend to like my brownies a little less cakey and bake them for less time than more, so I baked mine for 25 minutes (remove as soon as the top starts to crackle).
  • I cut the brownies into 1″ x 2.5″ bars before dipping.
  • I didn’t have shortening on hand, so I used 1 tablespoon of white corn syrup in its place.

Good luck & enjoy!



Related posts:

Marzipan & Pear Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

Pear & Marzipan Cupcakes via Sweetapolita

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians! I’m not completely sure how it became October, but I’ll take it. Last week was a busy one with some special cake projects on the go, including a fresh & summery cake for Wedding Bells magazine (that will be out in the new year, so I’ll be sure to share!). I was so immersed in summery inspiration boards and colour-palettes, that I almost forgot it was briskly turning to autumn. I have to admit that this is my favourite time of year for many reasons, but my autumnal association with caramel is right up there on the list. Well, that and Oktoberfest in my German-rooted hometown of Kitchener-Waterloo, but since I haven’t been able to attend that craziness since I was in my 20s, I’ve moved on to the ever-comforting and endless list of caramel-ly recipes that call my name at this time of year.

I also tend to crave desserts with a bit more texture and depth of flavour, and these almond and pear cupcakes seemed like the way to go. Marzipan (or almond paste) gives the cupcakes a classic almond flavour and some additional ground almonds and bits of ripe pear add some wonderful texture. I decided to top them with some caramel Swiss meringue buttercream, because I think pear, almond and caramel taste incredible together and, well, caramel Swiss meringue buttercream is never a bad idea. You may remember it from this cake, with which I salted the caramel with sea salt, and since that too is never a bad idea, feel free to add some to the caramel if you wish.

Pear & Marzipan Cupcakes via Sweetapolita

I first learned of the sweet almond-y goodness that is marzipan, back when I worked at my first job at Cafe Mozart–a German bakery in Kitchener, Ontario. Along with incorporating marzipan into some of the authentic baked goods, the pastry chefs would tint and shape the most adorable marzipan fruits and we would sell little clear cellophane gift bags of them tied with gold ribbon. The fact that this intrigued me as a teenager, should have been my first clue that I would have ended up here, but that’s another story. Sure they looked cute, but how good could a little hardened marzipan orange or banana taste? Well, if you like almonds and sweetness, pretty great. Who knew?

That being said, marzipan is a wonderful ingredient to create almond cake and cupcakes from, among other almond-based treats. You can typically interchange almond paste and marzipan, depending on what you have on hand. The main difference between the two is that marzipan contains more sugar than almonds, and almond paste contains more almonds than sugar, but the consistency is very similar. It’s a soft-but-dense paste that can be kneaded, coloured, shaped, rolled, or, as with these cupcakes, included into the batter itself.

I usually buy mine ready-made, but you can definitely make your own, as there are many recipes out there. I love the consistency of Odense brand marzipan, and I love that I can buy it at my regular grocer (baking section in a 200 gram package). I decided to create some gilded marzipan pears as cupcake toppers because I have a thing for making fruit and veggies out of sugar pastes, and I’m still smitten with the cuteness of mini marzipan fruit. In this case, I used a small bit of florist tape rolled into a stem and glittered it with non-toxic gold sparkles, because at the time I couldn’t find anything on hand to use that was edible, but since you want to be able to eat those little pear toppers, you could use a little piece of clove for the stem or anything else you may have that you feel would work well. I made these on a whim, so I wasn’t prepared for edible mini pear stems. Bad baking blogger. Bad.

Pear & Marzipan Cupcakes via Sweetapolita

These treats were a nice change from my much-cherished vanilla cake and chocolate cake fixes, and I love the layers of flavour and natural tones. I hope you love them too.

Marzipan & Pear Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

Yield: 24 standard cupcakes

Ingredients

    For the Cupcakes:
  • 1 cup + 2 teaspoons (240 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 240 g (8 oz.) marzipan, such as Odense Marzipan
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon (140 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons (7 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (4 g)
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup diced pear
  • For the Buttercream:
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 1-1/2 cups (340 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 large egg whites (120 g)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • For the Marzipan Pears:
  • 240 g (8 oz.) marzipan
  • Gold luster dust
  • Gold non-toxic glitter (aka disco dust), optional
  • Clove for stem, optional

Instructions

    For the Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F and line standard cupcake pan with cupcake/muffin liners of choice.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift dry ingredients together, whisk and set aside.
  3. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium speed, cream the butter, sugar and marzipan until light, fluffy, and smooth--about 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract and for another moment until blended.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, scraping side of bowl with spatula between additions, and mix on medium-low speed until incorporated. Add dry mixture and beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then medium speed for 2 minutes.
  5. Add ground almonds and diced pear (or puree) and mix by hand until incorporated.
  6. Divide batter evenly among cupcake liners, no more than 2/3 full, and bake in middle of oven until tops turn golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out just clean (a few crumbs is okay), about 18 minutes. Remove pan from oven and carefully remove cupcakes from tray onto cooling rack. Let cool completely before frosting.
  7. For the Buttercream:
  8. The first step is making the salted caramel (you can also do a non-salted caramel by omitting the sea salt), to set aside to cool while you make the Swiss Buttercream. You then add the cooled caramel sauce it to the buttercream as the very last step. I haven’t tried buying ready-made gourmet caramel sauce and adding it, but I suspect it would taste nothing short of awesome.
  9. Place 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (130 g) of the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan to a boil over medium heat. Brush down the sides of the pot with a dampened pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Stop stirring and cook until caramel is dark amber, gently swirling from time to time. Remove from heat, and slowly add cream, whisking by hand until smooth. It will be splatter, so be careful. Let cool.
  10. Place butter in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (flat beater) and beat on medium speed (I use #4 on my mixer), until pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
  11. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer clean with lemon juice, and place egg whites and remaining sugar into bowl over a pot of simmering (not boiling–you don’t want to cook the eggs). Whisk occasionally and gently until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160°F on a candy thermometer.
  12. Remove the bowl from heat, and place back onto the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5-6 minutes. Once the bottom of the bowl is neutral and no longer warm to the touch, reduce speed to medium-low, and add beaten butter, one cup at a time, whisking well after each addition.
  13. Switch to paddle attachment. With mixer on low speed, add cooled caramel and salt and beat until smooth, about 3-5 minutes.
  14. Prepare to taste the most incredible buttercream you will ever encounter.
  15. For the Marzipan Pears:
  16. Divide the marzipan or almond paste into 24 equal pieces or weigh each at 10 g for ease. Knead each piece to soften, then roll into ball and create pear shape using your fingers and make a small indent at the top and bottom of pear.
  17. Dust the pears with gold luster dust using a dry paintbrush you've designated for food and add a small bit of clove (or anything you desire for stem) and sprinkle the tops with gold non-toxic glitter (aka disco dust), if desired.
  18. Let sit loosely covered at room temperature for a few hours and place atop frosted cupcakes before serving.

Notes

*I used Ateco tip #887 in a large pastry bag to frost cupcakes.

**Store finished cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, but be sure they are completely cool first. Best enjoyed day 1.

***You could easily make quick, simple and lovely marzipan pears without any luster dust.

****Marzipan toppers can become soggy if left in airtight container atop cupcakes--try to place them on right before serving or ahead of time if they won't be in container.

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://sweetapolita.com/2011/10/marzipan-pear-cupcakes-with-caramel-buttercream/

[caramel buttercream adapted from Pear and Caramel Bundt Cake from Cake Duchess

Ginger Pear Cupcakes with Miso Salted Caramel from Cupcake Project

Caramel Pear Pudding from Taste of Home Recipes

Good luck & enjoy!

Related posts: