These cupcakes should look familiar, they are the heading for this blog! I made these birthday cupcakes for my dear friend and baking buddy Irene. Irene and I spend a lot time looking at cooking blogs, talking about recipes, and emailing each other ideas. It's so nice to have a friend I see almost day to discuss the ins-and-outs of baking/cooking. We spend almost every lunch period discussing what turned out well, what didn't, and how to improve. Not everyone understands the frustrations, triumphs, costs, and time that goes into baking/cooking, but Irene does!
This recipe, like many so far, is from one of our favorite bloggers Annie, from Annie's Eats. Many mornings start with "Did you see what Annie posted?" Usually we can finish each other's sentence. When we saw this recipe I asked if she wanted me to make these for her birthday and she said said absolutely!
The chocolate cupcake is a little dry and crumbly but still has a great flavor. The ganache is delicious, but I bet it is hard to find a bad ganache! The toffee inside the cupcake and on the ganache is a delicious treat! I think toffee is an underutilized flavor, it's a nice change from mint, caramel, or peanut butter as an accompaniment to chocolate. The caramel Swiss meringue butter cream is sweet and delightful. If you have never made SWBC do it! It is worth the effort and the double boiler. Again my caramel was a little chunky in the SWBC, but there was strong caramel flavor throughout.
Heath Toffee Cupcakes - adapted from Annie’s Eats Yield - 16 cupcakes
Chocolate Cupcakes 1 cups all-purpose flours 1/4 + 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1/2 table. espresso powder - I used instant coffee 1/2 tea. baking soda 1/4 tea. salt 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 2 eggs 1 tea. vanilla 1/2 cup coffee 1/2 cup toffee bits - I used chopped up Heath bars (about 2 1/2)
Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, instant coffee, baking soda, and salt onto wax paper. I always sift onto wax paper because it makes it easy for me to get everything into the mixer and I don’t dirty a bowl. In the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment beat together the butter and sugar until pale yellow. This takes about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then beat in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients on the slowest speed in three batches with half the coffee in between. Beat to combine. I couldn’t find toffee bits, so I chopped up Heath bars into ¼” pieces and folded them into the batter. Using a standard ice cream scoop, place into the lined cupcake pans. Bake 18 minutes checking to make sure the batter is done with a toothpick. Some of the toffee bubbles up and looks real cool. Place immediately on a wire rack to cool. Ganache 4 oz bittersweet chocolate 1/2 cup heavy cream 1 1/2 table. unsalted butter 1 cup toffee bits - I used chopped up Heath bars (about 3 1/2)
In a small sauce pan heat the heavy cream until it begins to simmer. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate. Stir to combine and melt the chocolate. Add in the butter and again stir until everything is melted and deliciously creamy. Put aside to cool. Once cool, scoop the ganache into a piping bag with a round tip and pipe a ring around the the edge of each cupcake. Place the chopped Heath bars on a plate and hold the cupcake upside down to dip into the pieces of candy. Add extra candy by hand if you need to! Caramel Swiss Meringue Butter Cream 5 egg whites 1 1/2 cup sugar 4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature 1/2 tea. kosher salt 1 table. vanilla 1/3 cup melted caramel (I used the little squares and melted them in the microwave)
Place the egg whites and the sugar in a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water. Whisk the mixture frequently until you no longer feel any grittiness when you rub the mixture between your fingers. Transfer the mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer and beat at high speed with a whisk attachment until stiff peaks form and the bowl feel cools. I swear to you, sometimes this takes 3 minutes, other days it takes 10. Add in the butter 2 tablespoons at a time on a medium speed until all the butter is added. Don’t worry if it looks funky, just keep beating. Add in the salt, vanilla, and melted (and cooled) caramel into the mixer. Fill a pastry bag with a star tip and pipe in the hole of ganache. This frosting is delicious, the more the better!