Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Momofuku Milk Bar Pie Cakes

This is the first holiday in ten and a half years of marriage that Ryan and I won't be with one of our families. Now that we're in Utah, making the trip home to Southern California for the short Thanksgiving weekend doesn't quite make sense, especially when we'll be driving down in a few weeks for Christmas.

I'm both a little sad and a lot excited for this Thanksgiving. Sad we won't be with family (and in the warm weather), but excited for us to start a few of our own family traditions; one of which will be going out to eat for Thanksgiving dinner. With just the four of us, two of which are super picky eaters (errr!), it doesn't seem worth the effort to spend hours in the kitchen for my kids to say they'd rather have a quesadilla. Instead, we made reservations to go out to dinner at Sundance. I love it there and I think it was the perfect decision for us. 

I love the ambiance and the food at Sundance (it's also where Ryan proposed to me) and know it will be a feast to remember. However, I just couldn't let this holiday pass without personally making at least one dessert!  And since you all know my aversion to pie, and my mission to make all the Milk Bar cakes, I decided to make the Pumpkin Pie Cake by Christina Tosi.


This beauty has layers of pumpkin cake, brown butter graham cheesecake, roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin ganache, and pie dough crumbs! Did you get all that? I know, pretty incredible, right? Ms. Tosi is extremely talented and inventive with her desserts, and I've never been disappointed.

This cake does takes some work but it's certainly not hard and it's totally worth your time. Allow about 3 hours to get it all done if you're trying to do it all in one day. Each part of the cake can be made ahead of time too. Most importantly, you want to leave time to refrigerate it before serving, preferably overnight. 





If you're not a fan of pumpkin, don't fret! Milk Bar also has an apple pie cake that is just as awesome. I made it just a little while ago for my blog post with Maggie Sottero about fall-inspired wedding cakes. I actually took this cake into their office for a taste test and it was a huge hit. People couldn't believe how much it tasted like an apple pie but in cake form.




The one component that blew me away and proved Christina Tosi's sheer baking genius in my mind was the pie crumb frosting. She blends pie crumbs and milk in a blender and then adds it to the frosting. You guys! It literally tastes like pie crust and makes the entire cake! In fact, I love this element of the cake so much, I kinda wish it was in the pumpkin pie cake too. But don't worry, the pumpkin pie cake is incredible in its own right. 




In the apple pie cake, you get a brown butter cake, apple cider soak, liquid cheesecake, pie crumbs, apple pie filling, and pie crumb frosting. Again, pretty mouth-watering, right?


Because these recipes are extremely long, and Milk Bar provides all the instructions on their site, I'm going to send you over to their site for the recipes: Milk Bar Recipes and How To's 

I hope you have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving holiday, and if you make one of these cakes (which I hope you do), let me know what you think!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Vanilla Cranberry White Chocolate Cake

I can't believe we're just a few days away from Thanksgiving! The holidays are surely upon us and I absolutely love it! (I've had Christmas music on in my car since the day after Halloween. I know I'm not alone on that one, am I right?) 

One of the many reasons I love the holidays is all the seasonal baking I get to do: pumpkin, apple, sweet potato, gingerbread, hazelnut, cranberry. There's just so much to choose from! I've already shared a couple of these flavors with you (make sure to check my archives for the sweet potato cake, the gingerbread cake and the pumpkin cake. I love them all!). For my next holiday-inspired cake, I wanted to incorporate cranberries. Last year I made a gingerbread cranberry white chocolate cake, but since I just recently did the gingerbread latte cake, I decided to go for a vanilla cake, and knew it would pair perfectly with the cranberry compote and white chocolate frosting. 


I had actually come across a cranberry white chocolate cake recipe on Pinterest a while ago, so I went back to that one and decided to give the vanilla cake recipe a try to see how it compared with some of the vanilla cakes I've already made.

For the first go-around, I tried the recipe exactly as it was printed (as I always do), and ran into a few issues. My first concern was that it said it was a "one bowl" cake - that means you're basically throwing everything into your mixer at once and giving it a whirl. From all the reading and research I've done on cakes over the years, that seemed like a red flag to me, but I went with it. Unfortunately, it didn't work out to my liking. The original recipe said to add the butter and other wet ingredients to the already mixed dry ingredients and mix until smooth. However, my batter never became smooth (even though my butter was at room temperature). I decided to bake the cake anyway to see what would happen. Here's a look:


Because of the clumps of butter in the batter, it crinkled and was kind of oily on top. To my surprise, however, when I leveled it and tried some scraps, I didn't hate it. I decided it had some good components as far as flavor and texture go, but it needed a few tweaks. First and foremost, the instructions needed to be reworked. For round two, I creamed by butter and sugar first, then added my eggs (one at a time), then greek yogurt (one of the changes I made), and then I alternated adding the sifted dry ingredients with milk, ending with the dry ingredients. The other changes I made include: decreasing the flour a little, sifting the flour, adding vanilla bean, using whole milk instead of lowfat and using plain yogurt instead of sour cream.

I'm really happy with the flavor, but even my revised version is a little dense in texture, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I've had many people tell me they like a denser cake over a lighter, fluffy cake. If that's you, I think you'll really like this cake. And I think the cake pairs really nicely with the light, whipped white chocolate frosting. 

Cranberry compote filling 

Vanilla beans straight from Switzerland (they're so cheap there, I had to stock up and even had my sister's boyfriend get me more when he visited a few months ago)
Can you see those flecks of vanilla bean? Aren't they gorgeous!


The 6" cake from my first round

These cakes were for a holiday photoshoot, so when I dropped them off, I snapped a couple pictures but they don't do justice to the beautiful spread being put together. I can't wait to get the professional shots back. I'll be sure to share!

And the 8" cake from round two





Vanilla Cranberry White Chocolate Cake

Yield: one 8-inch, 3-layer cake 

Ingredients:

For the Sparking Cranberries
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 cup water

For the Cranberry Compote
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch, sifted

For the Vanilla Bean Cake (recipe adapted from Life, Love and Sugar)
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, (split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out all the vanilla bean seeds)
1 cup plain greek yogurt (can substitute sour cream or creme fraiche)
1 cup whole milk

For the White Chocolate Frosting
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
4 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 oz white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Instructions:
For the Sparking Cranberries
1. Bring the 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to a simmer in a saucepan. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved.
2. Pour the simple syrup into a heatproof bowl and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
3. Add cranberries and stir to coat.
4. Refrigerate cranberries during the day or overnight, stirring occasionally to coat with syrup.
5. Remove cranberries from syrup and roll in remaining 1/2 cup sugar. You'll need to roll them a few times to get a couple of layers of sugar on them.
6. Set cranberries aside to dry for an hour or so.

For the Cranberry Compote
1. In a saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar and water over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and then cover to allow the cranberries to cook and soften.
2. When the cranberries have softened and begin to pop, slowly add the sifted corn starch and stir until it is incorporated. (If you don't sift the cornstarch, you'll likely get white clumps in the compote that are hard to dissolve.)
3. Allow the cranberries to simmer for another 5-10 minutes. The mixture will become thick and somewhat jelly-like. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and let cool to room temperature or store, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use.

For the Vanilla Bean Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans with spray, parchment paper and a flour dusting. Set aside.
2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
3. Cream the butter and the sugar on medium speed in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for one minute. 
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. Add the greek yogurt and mix until incorporated.
6. Alternately, add the flour mixture and the milk, starting and finishing with the flour. Combine until incorporated.
7. Stir in the vanilla extract and vanilla bean and mix for 30 seconds.
8. Evenly distribute the batter among the three cake pans and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pans 5-10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, you can cover with plastic wrap and store in your refrigerator overnight or freezer for longer.

For the White Chocolate Frosting
1. Pour the white chocolate pieces or chips into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 60 seconds. Stir and, if needed, microwave for another 30 seconds. Set aside and let cool. 
2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high speed for about two minutes.
3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the sifted powdered sugar until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to mix for another minute.
4. Slowly add the cooled white chocolate while mixing on medium speed. 
5. Add the heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time. Once the cream is incorporated, add the vanilla and increase the speed to medium-high and beat the frosting for five minutes. It should get lighter in texture and color.

Assembly:
1. Level cake layers if needed. Place the first cake layer, right-side up, on a cake board or plate. Using a pastry bag or a strong plastic zip-loc bag, pipe a barrier around the edge of the cake. This is done to ensure the cranberry compote won't ooze out the side of your cake as your stack.
2. Spread half of your cranberry compote around the open space.
3. Place second cake layer on top of the compote and create another frosting barrier around the edge, filling it with the remaining compote.
4. Place third cake layer, bottom-side up, on top and give the cake an even crumb coat. Chill it in the refrigerator or freezer for 15 minutes and then continue frosting. (While cake is chilling, I like to cover my frosting with plastic wrap so it doesn't have a chance to dry out).
5. Top with sugared cranberries.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Classic Yellow Cake

Is there anything more classic than a yellow cake with chocolate frosting? I continue to hear that it's a favorite for so many people, especially the box mix. And while I said goodbye to box mixes years ago, I'll admit, there's something pretty alluring about the flavor and texture of a yellow cake mix: rich butter and vanilla extracts in a moist and fluffy cake... you just can't go wrong (except for the fact that it's not homemade).

I've tried a couple yellow cake recipes in the past but was never impressed enough to save them or send myself on a mission to find the best yellow cake recipe - until now, that is. This new mission started  when I offered to make my friend, Brooke from FemaleFoodie.com, a cake for her review. I told her she could pick any cake she wanted, and without hesitation she said a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. 

Of course, I immediately threw out every yellow cake recipe I had, knowing they weren't nearly good enough, and started my research from scratch. I scoured Pinterest, cookbooks and my go-to cake blogs, selected a handful of recipes and started comparing ingredients. I wanted something that screamed flavorful and moist, so when I saw Grandbaby Cakes recipe with a full cup of sour cream, seven whole eggs and butter extract, I knew I had to give it a try. (Taste of the South Magazine also loved this cake.)

The first yellow cake attempt, using a recipe from Grandbaby Cakes


I had high hopes that it would meet my expectations for flavor and texture, but I have to admit, I was slightly let down. It's a good cake but it was a little too dense for my taste and didn't resemble any of the flavor from a box mix that I was looking for. 

I was about to try a completely new recipe, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this recipe could be a keeper... with a few tweaks. Since I was going from a slightly artificial flavor, I decided to substitute clear vanilla extract from the pure vanilla extract. I also liked Sweetapolita's idea of using egg yolks in addition to the whole eggs, so instead of seven whole eggs, I used five whole eggs and two yolks the second time around, hoping to get a slightly more yellow color and richer flavor. (The color didn't change but I was happy with the flavor.) The other change I made was adding more baking powder to get the cakes to raise a little more and feel a bit more fluffy.



After making my revisions, I gave the first slice to my toughest critic. I literally sat next to him as he ate, staring at his face for a glimpse of his first, initial, most honest reaction. Luckily, it was a good one. (Phew!)

Second yellow cake attempt, with my revisions


As for the frosting, I first tried the recipe Grandbaby Cakes provided with her yellow cake, but I found it hard to spread and didn't love the dense texture, so I've included my favorite chocolate frosting recipe below.

The real test will be tomorrow night (11/17) when Brooke and I get together for a live Periscope broadcast about this cake, some tips and tricks, and her taste test. Brooke will also be showing us how to make one of my favorite desserts: peanut butter ice cream. I'm so excited! I hope you'll join us. Check my Instagram for reminders about when we'll broadcast. 

Hope you enjoy this cake! Let me know what you think!


Classic Yellow Cake and Chocolate Frosting

Yield: 8" inch, 3 layer cake

Ingredients

For the Cake (adapted from Grandbaby Cakes)
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 whole eggs, room temperature
2 eggs yolks, room temperature
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon butter extract

For the Chocolate Frosting (adapted from Sweetapolita)
2 cups unsalted butter
4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
10 oz. good quality milk chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions

For the Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 8" round cake pans with butter or non-stick spray, parchment and flour dusting. Set aside.
2. In a medium size bowl, sift the cake flour and baking powder. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, canola oil, salt and sugar on high until fluffy and smooth, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time to the bowl and beat on medium until well incorporated.
5. Turn the mixer on low and add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture until fully incorporated. Then add half of the sour cream and blend well, and lastly, add the remaining flour mixture and mix until incorporated.
6. Add the clear vanilla extract and butter extract and beat on low until incorporated. SCrape down the sides of the bowl and mix on low for another 30 seconds.
7. Evenly distribute the cake batter among the three pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean or with just a few crumbs. Make sure not to overbake.
8. Remove cakes from the oven and let cool in pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto cooling racks.
9. Once completely cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the freezer or refrigerator to chill before frosting.

For the Frosting
1. In a bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the confectioners' sugar and butter. Beat on low speed for one minute.
2. Add vanilla and salt and beat until combined.
3. Add the melted, cooled chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth, about two minutes.
4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the whipping cream. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for another 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Friday, November 6, 2015

David Rocco's Apple Yogurt Cake

David Rocco: a master chef in the kitchen and man who has a life I wouldn't mind living on occasion. I mean, he lives in Italy part-time (yes, please!), has his own cooking show, several cookbooks and visits fun places where he cooks and eats with friends. I wouldn't hesitate to sign up for that!

He's got so many great recipes to choose from. This particular cake recipe comes from his book, "Made in Italy." It's the perfect dish for a weekend brunch. It's also very easy and quick to put together. Prep only takes about 20 minutes and then it bakes for about an hour. That's it! 


As for the flavor and texture of the cake, it's perfection. The cake is moist on the inside, and flakey and sugary on the outside with a bit of tartness from the yogurt and lemon zest. I liked to serve it for brunch, but if you'd rather serve it for dessert, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream.


Look at how the cake crackles on the top. Isn't it gorgeous?!

My favorite part of this cake was picking fresh apples with my littles. We all loved it, and now that we live in an area close to apple orchards, we'll definitely be making this a tradition each fall.





OK, back to the cake... a few more pictures so you can see the inside.




I hope you get a chance to make this over the weekend. And as always, let me know what you think!

Enjoy!



David Rocco's Apple Yogurt Cake

Yield: one, 8-inch round cake

Ingredients
1 1/3 cup (150 g) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (115 g) granulated sugar
7/8 cup (200 g) unsalted butter, melted, plus a little extra for buttering the pan
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (125 ml) yogurt (I use plain greek or 2.5% fat yogurt)
2 medium sized apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup (75 g) granulated sugar (for topping)

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray an 8-inch round cake pan.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon and salt.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the 1/2 cup of sugar and melted butter until it has lightened.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.
5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the yogurt, beginning and ending with the flour. 
6. Stir in the sliced apples and the lemon zest, and pour the batter in the prepared pan.
7. Sprinkle the 1/3 cup sugar evenly over the top of the cake.
8. The original recipe suggests a baking time of 40 minutes, but mine takes an hour (until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
9. Let cool completely before serving.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Chocolate Strawberry Nutella Cake

By now you know my crazy love for peanut butter. It's always been my go-to spread, dip, add-on, add-in... you get the point. For decades now, nothing has been able to compete with peanut butter in my mind. It wasn't until I lived in Switzerland a few years ago, where my beloved Skippy peanut butter was nowhere to be found at the Coop or Migros markets, that I expanded my horizons and grew to love another nut spread ... Nutella. 

Of course, I knew about Nutella and had tasted it prior to our time abroad, but I never really appreciated it like I do now. (I know what you're thinking, 'How is that possible? It's nuts and chocolate in one creamy spread!'. I must have been so blinded by love of peanut butter that I never opened up my heart to anything else that could potentially replace it.) The good news is that I now fully know the goodness of Nutella. In fact, one of my favorite indulgences is fresh baked white bread with a huge slab of Nutella on it. To me, that's comfort food at its best!


Having already done a peanut butter cake a while back, it was clearly time for a Nutella cake. For this one, I used Sweetapolita's dark chocolate cake (because why stray from perfection), and added a layer of pure Nutella, Nutella frosting, and strawberries.


I think next time, I'll add even more strawberries. With all the richness of chocolate and Nutella, you can't go wrong with a few more strawberries. Also, this Chef'n Strawberry Slicer is awesome for quick and pretty strawberry slices. A friend got this for me a few years ago from Orson Gygi in Salt Lake City. I use it ALL the time. You can also find it here from William Sonoma and here from Amazon. For $15, it's a great time saving investment.



With this cake, I also decided to play around with some new frosting tools and techniques. I need a little more practice, but it was fun to do something a little different.









Enjoy!

Chocolate Strawberry Nutella Cake

Yield: 3 layer, 6-inch cake

For the Chocolate Cake (recipe source: Sweetapolita.com)
1 1/2 cups (180 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups (275 g) sugar
1/2 cup (60 g) dark cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons (6 g) baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons (6 g) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
1/2 cup (140 ml) buttermilk
1/2 cup (140 ml) espresso or hot brewed coffee (or water)
1/4 cup (75 ml) vegetable oil
2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract

For the Nutella Frosting
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup Nutella
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon hazelnut extract
1/4 cup full fat sour cream

Additional Ingredients
Nutella
Strawberries, sliced

Instructions

For the Chocolate Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 6-inch round cake pans with butter or spray, parchment paper and flour or cocoa powder. Tap out excess.
2. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients.
3. In a separate bowl, add all remaining wet ingredients and mix briefly. Add wet ingredients to bowl with dry ingredients and mix with the paddle attachment on medium speed for two minutes.
4. Divide batter among cake pans, using a scale to weigh each pan for even layers. Batter will be liquidy.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes out with a few crumbs.
6. Cool on wire racks for 15-20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until cooled completely.

For the Nutella Frosting
1. Combine the butter and Nutella and beat on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the sifted confectioners' sugar, a little at a time until incorporated. Beat for another 2-3 minutes.
3. Add remaining ingredients and beat for another two minutes, until light and fluffy. Best used right away. 

Assembly
1. Using chilled cakes, level each cake layer.
2. Place the first cake layer on a cake plate or stand, right side up. Spread three tablespoons of Nutella across the top of the cake. Then pipe about 1/2-3/4 cup of the Nutella frosting on top of the Nutella. Place strawberry slices on top of the frosting and push down slightly so the strawberries are secure.
3. Repeat step #2 for another layer.
4. Place final cake layer on top of the second layer of strawberries, bottom side up.
5. Frost the cake with a crumb coating and let chill for 15 minutes.
6. Continue to decorate with remaining frosting. If the remaining frosting is a little stiff at this point, add another tablespoon of sour cream or heavy cream and beat again for two minutes.





Monday, November 2, 2015

Campfire Delight Cupcakes

Hope everyone had a fun Halloween! We filled our weekend with a couple Halloween parties, basketball games, corn mazes, trick-or-treating and candy eating. It was a blast but needless to say, we were all wiped out by Sunday and ended up spending most of the day in our pajamas and going to bed extra early (including mom!).

My special ops ninja and pink princess ready to go on Halloween night
For one of the Halloween events we attended, I made Sweetapolita's Campfire Delight Cupcakes for a cupcake walk. These cupcakes are adapted from Rosie's Campfire Delight Cake that is simply one of my favorites. It's also the cake I talked about in my How to Avoid a Cake Fail post. (It's so good, I even brought the failed cake, in trifle form, to my own birthday party because there was NO WAY I was going to waste something so delicious.)


This decadent cupcake uses my favorite chocolate cake recipe, and is filled with a toasted marshmallow filling and topped with a malted chocolate frosting. The toasted marshmallow filling alone is reason enough to make this cupcake. I could eat it by the spoonful... and usually do!




I also love making this cake in cupcake form because it's much less likely to fall apart on me since the filling isn't trying to hold up six layers. A quick squirt of filling from the pastry bag and that's it. Totally fool-proof.




Enjoy!

Campfire Delight Cupcakes (Recipe source: Sweetapolita.com)

Yield: 12 standard cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:
3/4 + 2 tablespoons (110 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 g) white sugar
1/3 cup (60 g) dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon (6 g) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (3 g) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (2 g) salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 cup (120 ml) brewed coffee or espresso, hot (can just use water)
1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
1 egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 ml) pure vanilla extract

For the Toasted Marshmallow Filling
8 large white marshmallows
1/2 cup (63 g) icing sugar (confectioners' or powdered), sifted
1/2 cup (113 g / 1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/2 jar (107 g) marshmallow cream/fluff

For the Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting:
1 cup (227 g/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups (250 g) icing sugar, sifted
1/3 cup (38 g) Ovaltine Classic (brown in color)
1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
4 oz (125 g) quality Belgian chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled
1/4 cup (60 ml) whipping cream

Instructions

For the Cupcakes
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine buttermilk coffee (or water), oil, egg, and vanilla.
4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Divide batter among liners (about 2/3 full or just less). Batter will be thin and cupcakes will rise.
5. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick or skewer comes out with a few crumbs. Try not to overbake. Carefully remove cupcakes from the pan immediately and place them on a wire rack until completely cool.

For the Toasted Marshmallow Filling
1. 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. (Keep an eye on them - they burn quickly).
2. In an electric mixer fitted with the 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.
3. Add marshmallow cream and toasted marshmallows, and mix on lowest setting for about 1 minute.

For the Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting
1. In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the icing sugar and butter and beat on low speed for about 1 minute.
2. Add malt powder, vanilla and salt, and beat on low until well combined. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
3. Add whipping cream and beat on med-high speed for another minute.
4. Best used right away.

Assembly
1. Once the cupcakes are cool, cut a cone shape hole from the top center of the cupcake downward, using a sharp knife or a small spoon.
2. Using a small spoon or piping bag, fill the cupcake hole with the Toasted Marshmallow Filling until it's level with the top of the cupcake.
3. Fill a large pastry bag (18") with a decorative tip of your choice about 2/3 full and swirl the Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting in a circular motion, beginning on the outside rim of the cupcake and moving inward. Gently release pressure when you reach the top of your swirl.