Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Snowy Mocha: Espresso Cupcakes with White Chocolate Whipped Cream

Since I tend to share my baking with large groups, I've come across a lot of people who have really violent biases against certain foods. If I present them with a tasty morsel that just happens to have a flavour that they dislike, they automatically turn their nose up at it. Oh, they say, your cupcake has cinnamon/maple/coffee in it? No thanks. Come on, people. It's a cupcake, for gods sake. Didn't you mom ever teach you to at least try it before you completely scratch the idea? Some people just get downright crazy when they come across something they don't like. I've heard stories of people picking onions out of burgers because they don't like the texture of said onions. Yes. You heard me. They pulled apart their burger to tweeze out tiny little pieces of onion. This boggles my mind. Eat the goddamn onion.

Everyone has something they don't particularly like to eat, but that doesn't give you licence to hold a grudge your entire life. How many of us snubbed green vegetables when we were kids, only to demolish broccoli by the bushel later on in life? Hell, after years of snubbing sushi, I've recently begun to find myself drawn towards it. I believe that, for every ingredient you don't like, there's a recipe out there that will make you turn your head and try it again. This brings us to our newest cupcake creation:

snowymocha (13)

I've not been a fan of white chocolate - I know few people who enjoy it. Why eat the white stuff when there's perfectly good dark chocolate hanging around? When Jamieanne of The Sweetest Kitchen posted this month's Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge, I cringed a little. White Chocolate? Who in their right mind picks white chocolate as a main ingredient?  Even my local taste testers piped up with a bit of displeasure. Luckily, Jamieanne gave all the bakers a little hint that really perked up my ears: Use white chocolate that is at least 30% cocoa butter. Hold on a sec. White chocolate has cocoa in it? And there's different types? Does this mean not all taste like waxy cardboard?

I dove into the world of white chocolate via the internet and picked out some specimens at our local grocer. When I had my first bite, I was astounded. This didn't taste like wax at all! It was creamy! It was sweet! You could taste cocoa butter. I finally saw the light. I had been faith healed by 30% white chocolate.

Something so light and delicate have to be balanced carefully with other flavours. Knowing that coffee tends to plays nice with chocolate, I baked up a moist espresso cake that was bold and slightly bitter. The white chocolate, too delicate for a overly-sweet confectioner sugar-based frosting, was incorporated into some heavy cream, whipped, and then piped on top of the cupcakes. The result was good. Really good. So good that we even made minis to share with the world.

snowymocha (11)

When Mr.C brought these bad boys into his office, a few people snubbed them. White chocolate? They said, Espresso? I don't like that. The nerve of some people, eh? After being coersed by Mr.C, they popped the little mini in their mouth and consigned to defeat. Yes, these cupcakes were good. Oh so good. Even if they did have white chocolate in them. 

Hopefully, these bad boys are good enough to take us far in this month's Mystery Box Challenge. There's some pretty good swag that comes out of it:

So then, even if you've turned your nose up at white chocolate before, take a gander at the recipe below. It might just make you think twice at snubbing an ingredient again.

snowymocha (12)

The Snowy Mocha
Espresso Cupcakes with White Chocolate Whipped Cream

Makes about 15 cupcakes

3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground espresso beans
1/4 tsp salt
6 large egg whites, cold
2 Tbsp espresso, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

1) Preheat oven to 325. In a large bowl combine the flour, ground espresso beans, salt, and half the sugar. Whisk until fully combined. Set aside.

2) In a bowl with an electric mixer, combine the egg whites, espresso, lemon juice, cream of tartar, and both extracts. With your mixer on high, beat until your egg mixture is foamy (about 2 or 3 minutes). Slow add the other half of the sugar until your mixture is creamy white and fluffy, but not stiff.

3) Slowly fold the wet ingredients into the dry with a spatula or spoon until fully integrated. Fill your cupcake liners and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until your cake tester comes out clean. Cool cupcakes before frosting.

White Chocolate Whipped Cream
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 oz white chocolate (at least 30% cocoa butter)

1) Place very finely chopped piece of white chocolate in a wide, heat proof bowl. In a double boiler, heat up 1/4 cup of the heavy cream stirring often until very hot. Slowly pour the cream over the white chocolate, using a whisk until smooth. Place in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally, until cool.

2) After the white chocolate has cooled, pour the remainder of your heavy cream in a cooled metal bowl (you should also cool your beaters). Beat with a mixer until your beaters start leaving  marks in the cream. All at once, add the white chocolate mixture and beat on high until it stands in peaks - but do not over mix. Chill, then pipe on cooled cupcakes. Top with espresso powder or a chocolate covered espresso bean if desired.

snowymocha (6)

i've seen the light. and it tastes like white chocolate.

Do these cupcakes look like they should win a big ol' prize? Cast your vote in the Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge starting August 20th. And remember to vote for the Vegan RasMataz in this month's Cupcake Hero!


Daydreamer Desserts said...

YUM, no need to wait for winter! These look and sound fantastic, great pics by the way. :)

Lauren said...

um, I'm no fan of white chocolate either but you've got me drooling over here! sheesh! this combo looks so amazing and luscious. You are driving me crazy with these recipes! I used to be not too much of a cupcake fan (gasp!) but lately I can't stop thinking about them. Great job, great photos!

Monet said...

I am actually quite the fan of white chocolate, so I know I would devour these. I do think it is silly when people have such strong distaste for certain ingredients (I have my preferences but there are very few things that I will absolutely refuse!)

Rick said...

Seriously, this looks so good. The whipped cream looks like a dream.

Jamieanne said...

I loved reading your entry post, it was great! I'm glad I could help point you in the direction of REAL white chocolate. And I LOVE cupcakes with coffee in them, and I think yours look absolutely stunning. Great job, and good luck in the competition! :)

elise said...

Reading your post I was reminiscing about that cupcake, and then I realized I still have one in my fridge!
Oh dessert is going to be wonderful!

Claudia said...

Just think what the naysayers are missing. Looks divine and those photos beg to be eaten.

Just Food Snobs said...

White chocolate how can you go wrong, your cupcakes look creamy and dreamy, thanks for sharing!

Ryan said...

These look amazing. I'm not a big fan of coffee but these cupcakes have a great visual appeal, I'd eat one.

Ange said...

OMG! I love expresso and I need one of these now.

Debbie said...

I totally know what you mean about people snubbing certain flavors! I used to be a picky eater but I always vowed to try everything once and have definitely opened my mind to new flavors. I like the "snowy" look of the cupcake, very cute!

Anonymous said...

WOW! How much fun are these?!!?

Lina Thomlinson said...

Yeah, I'm with you on not getting people's refusal to eat certain flavors or ingredients. At least *try* it! Especially if it's in a dessert because how wrong can you really go with a sugary treat? Yours look fantastic. I'd considered doing a coffee/white chocolate combo too so I love how yours turned out. I'll save the recipe for a day when I can share my cupcakes with someone other than my husband, who doesn't like coffee-flavored things. That's bad in this case but good when it comes to hoarding my Breyer's coffee ice cream for myself.

Tam said...

Great site - glad I found it. I hear you with regard to eaters who won't 'try'. I guilted hubby into trying one of my London Fog cupcakes even though he doesn't like earl grey tea. Surprise, surprise...he liked it! Ate two. Now I have to make your Tiger Tiger cupcakes to bring him over to the liquorice side! I didn't grow up in Hamilton but 'Tiger Tail' ice cream was a big part of every summer growing up on Lake Simcoe.

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