Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tiramisu Cupcakes

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.
It was mandatory to make the marscapone, savoiardi (lady finger) biscuits, zabaglione, and pastry cream using their given recipes. I hate to tell you but I failed.

First of all this has been a busy month. My best friend (we have been friends since 3rd grade) had her first baby and I had to be there. Traveling was required which ment that I definitely did not have the 2-3 days required to complete this challenge. But time was not my only adversary. Secondly I did not have the funds available to even somewhat follow this recipe (or even the one i did make for that matter). 

I really look forward to our monthly challenges... as a full time mom it gives me something to do for me. And so I decided to make something inspired by this month's challenge. It doesn't count but it makes me happy.

Tiramisu Cupcakes

this makes 18 cupcakes

1 (18 1/4oz) package yellow cake mix (i know. i used a cake mix. hate me if you want.)
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
water or strong coffee

Make cupcakes according to directions except replace water with strong brewed coffee or espresso if you wish. Bake and cool. Prick cupcakes with a fork or toothpick. The more holes the more coffee they will soak up in the next step. But don't go too overboard.

1/3 cup strong coffee or espresso
1/4 cup sugar

Mix these until the sugar dissolves and let cool. Brush over cooled cupcakes a little at a time until the cakes soak up all of the liquid.

1 cup heavy cream (or 8 oz cool whip)
5 oz mascarpone (or substitute*)
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar (icing sugar)
3 tbs marsala wine or coffee liquor (optional)

Whip heavy cream. Combine mascarpone and sugar. Fold in to whipped cream. Add alcohol if desired... if you choose not to you may want to add some milk depending on the consistency of your filling / topping.

Now use your piping bag to fill the cupcakes. (Push tip of piping bag into center of cupcake. Squeeze icing into cupcake until the top of the cake cracks a bit or overflows with a bit of filling.)
Top cupcakes with left over filling. (If it's too thin you can add some cream cheese and icing sugar.)

This is the kind of cupcake that you will need to eat with a fork. You will also want to use a foil or silicone cupcake liner as a paper one will get soggy and fall apart.
This is my very talented and beautiful sister in law B helping develop this recipe and using her mad piping skills  to make these cupcakes look like hydrangea blooms.

Faux Mascarpone 
(for cheapskates and posers)

8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup whipping cream (i had to use half & half because it's all i had.)
2 1/2 tbs sour cream

combine all ingredients and mix well until smooth.

and then last but not least here is the beautiful little one. she really started walking all the time this month and is so busy. she wants to be outside 24/7. whew. it's been a busy month and i am exhausted. hope that all of you are doing well.

To check out some real daring bakers challenges just follow the link.


p.s. does anyone know if we are only allowed to miss 2 challenges a year or if it's 2 unexcused challenges?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chocolate Covered Strawberry (Cake Balls)

cake balls
Have you tried Bakerella's Cake Balls yet?
(they are pretty great although i think they could use a better name)
I did on accident.
I made a strawberry cake from scratch for my sister-in law's birthday and when it didn't rise like I wanted it to I just couldn't bear to throw it out. So i made cake balls. Pretty perfect for Valentine's Day if I do say so myself.

Follow the link above for the recipe.