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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tiramisu Cupcakes

Three of my favorite Italian desserts are Italian cookies (from Arthur Avenue), cannoli's (dipped in chocolate of course), and Tiramisu.  After a delicious dinner of homemade spaghetti and meatballs, Italian bread and salad there's nothing I'd rather have than a slice of Tiramisu. Remember, as filling as spaghetti is, I always save room for dessert!!  But what if you're having several people over for dinner?  Most Tiramisu recipes are made in loaf pans and only serve 5-6 people, depending on how big you slice the cake - and I slice them big! So making Tiramisu cupcakes are the perfect solution to feeding your many guests after dinner.  Even if you do only have 2 people over, this recipe is a must and the espresso makes the cupcakes so moist, you can definitely freeze the rest for later. The secret in this recipe is the extra egg yokes used to keep the cupcake sturdy to hold the espresso syrup. Note of caution - don't use a vanilla cake box mix. I don't like them and think they're flavorless but the cake will fall apart once you brush on the espresso syrup. Also, I didn't use alcohol in the recipe but I'll add it as optional. Makes about 14-18 cupcakes if you use an ice cream scoop.

1 1/4 cups cake flour sifted (you can substitute with All-Purpose flour but minus 2 Tbsps, don't use self-rising flour. It has salt and leavening.)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 cup milk
1 vanilla bean halved with seeds (you can substitute with 3 tsps vanilla extract)
1/2 stick unsalted butter
3 eggs plus 3 egg yolks (room temperature)
1 cup sugar

Espresso Syrup:
1/2 cup fresh brewed espresso or strong coffee
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsps Marsala or Rum (optional)

Mascarpone Frosting:
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz tub of mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar sifted

Preheat the oven to 325. Line muffin tins. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Heat milk and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once you see bubbles appear around the edge, take it off the heat and whisk in the butter. Drain with a sieve and leave to the side to cool.

Whisk together the eggs and sugar until blended. Put mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer, whisk the mix on high until it's a fluffy, pale yellow. Fold flour mixture and milk mixture into the egg mixture in 3 batches until combined. Use an ice cream scoop to divide batter evenly or use a pyrex measuring cup and fill 3/4 way. Bake for 20-25 minutes and let the cupcakes cool before you brush with the coffee syrup. Brush the coffee syrup on the cooled cupcakes and let set for 30 minutes before you frost them. Be sure to use all of the coffee syrup. Pipe a dollop of frosting on the cupcakes and serve with shaved chocolate or dust with cocoa powder before serving.

Coffee Syrup:
Stir together everything until it's dissolved. Let the coffee cool before you brush onto the cupcakes.  Using marsala or rum is optional.

Whisk heavy cream with a mixer until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mascarpone and sugar until smooth. Gently fold in the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. Don't mix or stir this because it'll take the air out of the cream and deflate. Place in a large zip lock, cut a 1/2 inch hole and pipe.

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