Well, yesterday was the last MTR birthday, as well as closing day for one of the craziest years ever. It is hard to believe that a year ago I was just moving in and meeting all of these people that are now basically my entire life. It is also crazy to believe that over the next 2 weeks a whole new group of us will show up to do it all again. Definitely a bittersweet time… but now the real challenge… getting through Union University’s graduation ceremony! Anyway, possibly more about all of the closing activities/last week of school shenanigans later. This post is about cupcakes.
So, the last birthday was for one of my best friends here, and someone who has consistently made treats fore every birthday… things had to be done right. I found these cupcakes back in January or February and saved them just for her (She is a lover of Starbucks!).
They kind of turned into a 2 1/2 day process with all of the things we had going on this week, but I would say the caramel sauce, swiss meringue butter cream, and caramel-coffee mousse all turned out fantastic… as per usual, I was a little disappointed with the dense/dryness of the cupcakes, all the ingredients melded together well though.
Cupcake Ingredients (This recipe makes about 2 dozen cupcakes)
3/4 cup whole or low-fat milk
1/4 cup sour cream
2 packages of Starbucks Via Instant Coffee (I used NesCafe)
1 tbsp vanilla
3 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
3/4 cup butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cup white sugar
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
Heat the mix in the microwave until warm. Then, mix one package of the instant coffee in with the milk.
Meanwhile, mix together the cake flour, baking powder, soda, salt, other packet of coffee and cocoa.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment until creamed. It should be slightly fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Add 2/3 of the flour mixture and the sour cream. Add the remaining flour mixture and milk. Beat until smooth.
Scrape all the batter out into a separate bowl and wash the mixer bowl thoroughly.
Switch to the whisk attachment and beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. They will hold a stiff peak but they will still slip around a little in the bowl.
Fold the egg whites into the cake batter gently, folding the batter around until well combined.
Fill cupcake liners with batter and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
After cupcakes have cooled, core out the center of each one. After making the mixtures below, drizzle some of the caramel sauce into each cupcake. After that, pour in some of the coffee mousse, then top with more caramel sauce. Lastly, pipe the swiss meringue buttercream onto the top of each cupcake. Drizzle with more caramel before serving.
Caramel Sauce Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
2 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cut butter into evenly sized cubes and melt over low heat in large 3-4 quart saucepan.
Once butter is fully melted, add brown sugar, being careful to avoid the sides of the pan. If any stray sugar crystals fall onto side of pan, carefully brush off with a wet pastry brush.
Once butter and sugar are fully combined, add corn syrup and condensed milk. Clip on candy thermometer to side of pan.
Cook mixture on low heat (still continually stirring) for about a minute or two. Increase heat to medium and continue to cook/ stir until mixture reaches 225 degrees. Once the mixture is removed from heat, stir in vanilla extract.
Coffee Mousse Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
2 1/2 tbsp water
1 package of Starbucks Via Caramel flavored coffee (I used Maxwell House Caramel latte mix)
2 1/2 cups whipped cream
Whisk sugar, yolks, water and coffee in large metal bowl. Bring a pot of water to a simmer on the stove. Place the bowl with the mixture on top of it. Whisk for about 8 minutes. Remove bowl from over water.
Using electric mixer, beat egg mixture until cool and thick, about 5 minutes.
Beat cream in another large bowl until stiff peaks form.
Fold cream mixture into egg mixture.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Ingredients
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg whites
3 sticks unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Heat sugar, egg whites, and salt in a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pan of simmering water, whisking until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. (I didn’t have one of these so I just stirred until the mixture lost its grainy texture and was hot to the touch.)
Return bowl to mixer, and whisk, gradually increasing speed from low to medium-high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Switch to a paddle attachment and beat until air bubbles are gone, 2 to 3 minutes more.