Whenever I think of cupcakes, two things come to mind: Hostess Cupcakes from my childhood and Magnolia Bakery in New York City. Opposite ends of the spectrum, huh? I wish I had a dollar for every Hostess Cupcake I ate as a child. Thinking about those chocolate treats with the signature white swirl across the top takes me back to my childhood, sitting in front of the TV watching Gilligan’s Island reruns and stuffing my face with a two pack.
Magnolia Bakery in the West Village, on the other hand, makes “real” cupcakes and if you’ve never been there, by all means, check them out if you’re in the City and treat yourself to some amazing cupcakes. Magnolia has been featured in The Devil Wears Prada and an episode of Sex and the City. The only problem with a visit to Magnolia is making a decision on which cupcake to buy.
According to Wikipedia, the first mention of cupcakes was in 1796 when a recipe notation of “a cake to be baked in small cups” was written in American Cookery by Amelia Simmons. The earliest use of the word “cupcake” didn’t come along until the early 1800s. Cupcakes evolved in the United States during the 19th century and have become a staple in the American diet.
I fully understand why cupcakes are such a popular confection. There’s just something about having a beautiful, self-contained, cake that all yours!
I’ve adapted this recipe from Cuisine at Home magazine. These individual Boston Cream Cakes combine yellow and chocolate cake with vanilla pastry cream and chocolate ganache.
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cocoa powder
- Shaved dark and white chocolate, for garnish
- 3 cups whole milk
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/8 cup corn starch
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place 18 cupcake papers in the cups of two muffin pans.
- 2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- 3. Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about three to four minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- 4. Add one half of flour mixture and continue mixing. Add buttermilk and mix until incorporated. Add remainder of flour and vanilla extract and mix well.
- 5. Measure two cups of batter and transfer to a small bowl. Add cocoa powder and mix well.
- 6. Place a heaping tablespoon of chocolate batter into each cupcake paper. Level with the back of a spoon. Fill each cup with remaining batter. Tap muffin pans on counter top to level batter.
- 7. Place muffin pans in oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove pans from oven and cool for 20 minutes.
- Whisk milk, eggs, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat. Continue whisking until pudding has thickened. Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter. Whisk until well combined and butter has melted. Place pan in a large bowl of ice to cool.
- 1. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a tempered glass bowl over a medium pan of simmering water. When chocolate is melted, add heavy cream and whisk until combined.
- 2. Alternatively, heat heavy cream in a sauce pan until simmering. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Whisk until chocolate is melted and combined with cream.
- 1. Remove papers from cupcakes. Slice tops off of cupcakes with a serrated knife.
- 2. Spoon a layer of cream on bottom half of each cupcake. Replace tops of cupcakes and spoon ganache on each cupcake top. Garnish with shaved white and dark chocolate.