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.
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.
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.
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
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
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)
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.
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.