Tiramisu Cupcakes for K.

tiramisu cupcakes

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These cupcakes have a special place in my recipe book for so many reasons.

My friend K and I met in our first year of university – LITTLE did we know what was in store for us! I dragged him to his first hip hop class, he turned to be an amazing dancer and we danced together for four years. We literally lived in the library for a week side by side in two booths when we didn’t know any better. We took a trip to Montreal that was filled with chocolate, tea-time, jive dancing, and drag queens. Working in the same student club, we went under trial by fire keeping things together. We’ve sang our hearts out to 90s music. Amongst all the shenanigans, we’ve kept each other sane during the crazy times.

tiramisu cupcakes

I make it a point to know my friends’ favourite desserts and tiramisu happens to be K’s. In second year I attempted my first tiramisu for his birthday…and it was a disaster. I scoffed at the instruction “after adding custard, wipe bowl very well before adding egg whites”. Wipe bowl between mixes? As if! You’re talking to a lazy student who revered the dishwasher above all other appliances.

That was when I learned that egg whites do not whip when contaminated with egg yolk. No matter how long you beat them.

I panicked. What was I going to do with these hopelessly liquid egg whites? There were FIVE eggs in that recipe! I improvised and added whipped cream, but I was extremely annoyed that my first tiramisu recipe hadn’t gone as planned. I vowed I would have my revenge next year.

tiramisu cupcakes

I hate repeating recipes unless they are exceptional, so when K’s birthday rolled around I wanted to do tiramisu with a twist. I had never made cupcakes before (!) and I was determined to make something amazing. There would be no substitutions this time. These cupcakes exceeded my expectations. The icing uses real mascarpone, making it a rich, tangy, creamy dream. The cupcake itself is light and fluffy; when you bite into it you get the pleasant surprise of the middle being soaked in espresso glaze.

Everyone swooned, my friends declared them the best cupcakes they had ever had, but most importantly K loved them. After all the crazy adventures and sleepless nights I’m not sure if I properly expressed how much I care about this guy, but tiramisu cupcakes are a pretty good place to start.

tiramisu cupcakes

Heavenly Tiramisu Cupcakes (adapted from Epicurious)

The next time I make this I would cut the amount of espresso glaze by half. I always end up with a full cup leftover and haven’t found a great way to re-purpose it. Perhaps glaze a coffee cake?

Makes 24 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients

2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/2 cups white sugar
8 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk

Icing
500 g mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbs pure vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean finely chopped in food processor)
pinch sea salt
2 cups confectioners sugar

Tiramisu Glaze (I usually half this amount)
1 cup espresso
1/4 cup chocolate syrup OR 1 tbs of cocoa (or more, to taste)
2 oz/60 mL Kahlua
1/3 cup sugar

Garnish : Cocoa Powder (optional: 24 chocolate covered espresso beans and/or chocolate shavings)

Preparation

Cake Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line  two 12 cup muffin pans with muffin paper.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pans.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 24 minutes, or until tops spring back. Let cool for thirty minutes. Then remove cupcakes from pan and let cool an additional 30 minutes.

5. While cupcakes are cooking, combine heavy cream, and mascarpone cheese in a large bowl and mix on low speed. Add vanilla and salt. Then slowly add confectioners sugar, allowing each sugar addition to throughly mix with the cheese mixture until all of the confectioner’s sugar is gone. Put icing into a piping bag.

Glaze:

1. Prepare the Glaze by melting the sugar into the hot espresso in a large mixing bowl with a whisk (by hand) Then add syrup, kahlua, and rum/brandy.

2. Take a straw or kabob stick and poke a small hole in the top of each cupcake. With a spoon, ladle some of the glaze into the hole. Then I like to dip the top of each cupcake into the glaze to ensure that it is evenly covered with the glaze. It shouldn’t be soggy – just covered enough that the cupcake looks light brown. Then pipe the icing onto each cupcake. Lightly dust cupcakes with cocoa powder and top with espresso beans/ chocolate shavings.

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Tres Leches Coconut Cake + MHAC


MHAC

Hello hello, I’m sheepishly returning to the blogging world after a few weeks months of travelling mixed with a bit of school and future life crisis. I’m finishing the last month of my undergraduate degree and the mixture of feelings I have at this point is explosive. I’m so ready for finals to be over, I’m so dreading saying goodbye to friends, I’m excited for a new chapter in my life, I’m terrified that I’ll never be able to recreate what I have here. It took me four years to get this point – the point where I’m confident enough to strike up conversations with strangers, throw dinner parties, travel by myself, and maybe most importantly, realize that I can make a difference.

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One of the committees I worked with this year is the Mental Health Awareness Committee. I went into it excited for a new year, new projects, but what I didn’t realize was that I would be part of a family of some of the most passionate and dedicated individuals I’ve met. I’ve been inspired countless times by the hard work each person put into our initiatives and I really think we did our part to bring mental health issues to the forefront on campus.I had the amazing opportunity to start my own project called Queen’s U Secrets – this was an idea that used to keep me up late at night. It would always start with “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” and then the wheels would start spinning and an hour later I would wonder why I had so much energy even though it was 3am. And most importantly, after this happened a few times, I stopped asking “What if” and started thinking “How”. It was like someone had turned a switch that I never knew was there and I slowly realized that I could stop being a bystander. It was incredibly liberating to say “Why not?”. One year later, something that used to exist in the sketches beside my notes or in the blurry minutes before I fell asleep is now something I can share with hundreds of other people.

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This cake that I made for the MHAC year end social. I have always wanted to make a tres leches cake (in Spanish it translates to “three milks”), which is traditionally a sponge cake soaked in evaporated milk, condensed milk, and whole milk. It is kind of ridiculous. I just happened to have a few cans of coconut milk leftover from making curry and I knew I wasn’t the only MHAC member who likes LOVES coconut. Before, I thought “No, this is way too decadent, two cans of condensed milk and coconut milk?”

To that I say, “Why not?”

Tres Leches de Coco (Coconut Tres Leches Cake) adapted from Serious Eats

You shouldn’t be surprised that this cake is very sweet. The cake itself is like a super-saturated sponge cake with a mellow coconut flavour. The original recipe has a toasted meringue topping but I felt that a simple whipped cream offset the sweetness of the cake nicely.

Ingredients

For the Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
4 teaspoons baking powder
6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

For the Coconut Milk Bath:
2 (13.5-ounce) cans coconut milk
2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream

For the Topping
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup toasted sweetened coconut flakes

Procedures

For the Cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.
1. Whisk flour and baking powder together in small bowl; set aside.
2. In large bowl, beat egg whites and salt with whisk attachment on medium-low speed until whites begin to loosen and froth, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and beat whites until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar and continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Add egg yolks and beat just until combined. Decrease speed to low and add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with milk. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula as necessary. Add vanilla and beat just until combined. Fold in coconut with rubber spatula.
4. Scrape batter into ungreased 13- by 9-inch baking dish and smooth out top. Bake until cake tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes, rotating cake halfway through baking. Transfer cake to cooling rack and cool in pan completely, 1 to 2 hours. Once cooled, poke cake all over with fork or skewer and run a paring knife along the edges just to separate the cake from the sides of the baking dish.

For the Coconut Milk Bath: Whisk coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, and cream together in large bowl. Pour mixture evenly all over cake. It will look like too much liquid but the cake is meant to act like a sponge – if there is too much liquid, try lifting the cake from the pan and letting the liquid soak from underneath (my cake was actually floating in the milk bath – make sure it soaks evenly along the entire bottom of the cake). Transfer to refrigerator and chill at least 2 hours.

For the Topping:

To toast the coconut for the topping, arrange it in a single layer in a large baking sheet. Bake 5 to 10 minutes on the center rack of a preheated 350°F oven, stirring the coconut halfway through baking, until crisp and golden. Transfer baking sheet to cooling rack and cool coconut completely, about 15 minutes.

Whip heavy cream on high speed until stiff peaks form. Spread evenly over cake and sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes.