I was googleing this morning for a brown sugar pound cake. I was coming up empty handed as most the recipes had an ingredient I dont have on hand right now. Then, I came across this post by the fab Lis of La Mia Cucina. I decided to take the recipe and adapt it for cupcakes. I omitted the fruit, as shamefully I only have dried cherries, cranberries and figs in the house right now. For nuts, I had quite a few walnuts on hand. I went for the nutty version by grinding up 3/4 cup of walnuts. I included the almond extract as well.
The batter tasted fantastic. I was hopeful this would work out. You never know when taking one kind of cake recipe and cooking it in a different pan/shape/size. When they came out of the oven, some had sunken tops. Some looked like normal flat top cupcakes. No rhyme or reason to why some sunk and some didnt. It didnt matter, I was planning on frosting them with something anyway. After tasting them, I didnt know what to frost them with. I decided on a chocolate ganache. After reading a bunch of recipes. Most of them on Cupcake Bakeshop. I decided to go it on my own. I only had half and half in the fridge, an odd amount of different kinds of chocolate and only half a package of powdered sugar. This was my very first ganache and it came out pretty good. It could have used a little more sugar I think. But I used all I had.I was pleased with the end result. Once it was cool, I frosted the cakes and topped with the extra ground walnuts.
Result: The cake is sooooo good. I love it. It has a caramelly flavor with a nutty undertone. I wish I had baked them in the cupcake tin without the liners. I think the sides would have become crusty sugary goodness. Bygones. Okay, the tops were not pretty enough just to powder sugar. So I knew I HAD to frost. The ganache came out darn good for my first crack at it. It needed a tad more sugar, but again, bygones. I loved the bite it had from the bittersweet chocolate. However, this was not the proper frosting for this cake. It was too overpowering. I held back on the frosting knowing it was strong. The cake and the frosting both are hits, just not paired together. With all that said, Im having no problem eating them as is. And Im pretty sure when Jaos comes home, he will have problems eating them either. Is there such a thing as a BAD cupcake? I think not.
Brown Sugar Cupcakes
Snagged from Lis at La Mia Cucina
Adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan
2 cups a.p. flour
3/4 cup ground walnuts
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350. If using cupcake liners, put them into the cupcake tin. If not, butter and flour your tin.
Whisk together the flour, nuts, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
Add butter and sugar to the bowl of your mixer. Beat on medium until light and fluffy. This may take a few minutes. Scrape down sides and add eggs one at a time. Scrape down sides between additions. Add vanilla and almond extracts. Alternately add buttermilk and flour mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Fill cups 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a wooden tester comes out clean.
Adapted from ganache recipes at Cupcake Bakeshop
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
11 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups powdered sugar. (I would have used 4 if I had it)
Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. Whisk powdered sugar together with half and half and extracts. When chocolate has cooled slightly, whisk chocolate with sugar/milk mixture. Whisk until smooth. Put in the fridge to cool for 10 minutes or so.
When chocolate has reached piping or spreading consistency, frost the cakes. I garnished with left over ground walnuts.
* This recipe made a TON, I had more than enough to frost 24 cupcakes and enough to refrigerate for another treat later this week.