Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tiramisu Cupcakes

I'm not a big coffee fan, in fact, I'm not a fan at all. I don't drink it. Ever. If I feel the need for a warm beverage in the morning I go with tea, or hot cocoa. But usually tea because it has less calories. The ladies understand. In my younger days I never wanted to try tiramisu because of my dislike for coffee and anything that tasted like it. As I grew older (and perhaps a little wiser) I decided to give it a go. I mean, it is dessert, and I LOVE dessert. I think the first time I ever tried tiramisu was at Olive Garden and it was almost as delicious as their endless salad and breadsticks... almost.

Needless to say, a younger me wouldn't have been as excited to make tiramisu cupcakes as the current older, wiser version. However, had I read the recipe beforehand my excitement level probably would have decreased. I hadn't anticipated this recipe being so much work. It wasn't that it was hard, there were just a lot of steps, that involved a lot of dishes, that I would have to later wash. And, to be honest, it was hot, I was tired and not in the mood for something too complicated that I could potentially ruin if I wasn't focused. I mustered up all my strength and energy and got to work.

The most time and energy-consuming process was whisking the egg and egg yolks to be fluffy and a little stiff. I knew this was important to not mess up because the cake was supposed to be a sponge cake, light and airy. I whisked the eggs until I thought they were about the right consistency and folded in the rest of the ingredients. The batter was pretty stiff/thick, but fluid enough to pour into the muffin tins (it was also tasty). I filled the tins a little fuller than necessary, not on purpose, but because I couldn't contain the batter flow and some of them turned out a little bigger than I wanted. However, they didn't puff up too much. They turned out to be a pretty flat cupcake.

While the cupcakes cooled I worked on the coffee-marsala syrup. Despite my dislike of coffee I do own a coffee maker and there is a canister of Folgers in the fridge. You never know when company might want coffee. Truthfully, my parents bought the coffee maker as a housewarming gift for themselves, so that when they come to visit they can have coffee in the morning. Aren't they sweet? I digress. The syrup was very easy. I was only concerned that the Marsala cooking wine I bought at the store wouldn't be sweet enough. I did a little research about what kind to buy, and everything I read said to be wary of Marsala cooking wine sold in grocery stores as it tends to not be the best quality. But, I didn't want to spend a fortune on a good wine when I only needed an ounce of it for the recipe. In fact, I still have a giant bottle left which means I will probably be making Chicken Marsala in the not too distant future.

After the syrup had cooled I brushed it on the cupcakes repeatedly until I was out of syrup. I'm not sure how many coats each cupcakes got, in hindsight I probably should have kept count. I'm thinking it was at least 5, but not as many as 10. Once the cupcakes were syruped (that's a very technical term) they had to absorb the syrup for 30 minutes before they could be frosted with the mascarpone frosting.

First of all, it took me forever to find mascarpone cheese in the grocery store. I was starting to get concerned that it wasn't going to be in my local store and I'd have to go on a mission to find it. Of course, it was in the last place I looked. But, conveniently for me it was in a lovely 8-ounce container, which was just the amount I needed. Winning! While the heavy cream was becoming whipped cream I mixed the mascarpone cheese and confectioner's sugar. As previously mentioned here, it has been extremely hot lately. For that reason it took the heavy cream a little longer than I expected for it to become whipped cream. Once it became whipped cream it didn't hold up very well when folded into the mascarpone cheese mixture that was room temperature. I thought I was going to get a nice smooth, whipped frosting, but I didn't. It wasn't actually lumpy in texture, it just looked that way. The whipped cream started to melt back into it's original heavy-cream consistency. I tried putting it in the fridge and freezer in the hopes that it would solidify and not be so watery. No luck. So before it completely melted I globbed it onto the cupcakes and quickly popped them into the fridge so they wouldn't become a soggy mess. It worked, the cupcakes held themselves together. Granted they aren't the most beautiful things I've ever made, but they sure do taste good. It's what's on the inside that counts anyway... right?