Friday, May 30, 2008

Cupcake Hero - cocoa OR Ugliest Cupcake Ever!

This was a challenge. I prefer to bake with chocolate, not cocoa powder. I am comfortable it - the way it melts, combines, and tastes. My past attempts to use cocoa powder have been disappointing. Admittedly, I have only used Hershey's in past, and I have not used recommended recipes, but recipes found on boxes and cans, etc., but I really have been disappointed with past results. So... I try again!

I started by investing in some good cocoa. I didn't go with the recommended Askinosie Cocoa Powder. I have no good excuse other than fear of their shipping charges. Instead, I bought a kilo (which, may have been a little overboard) of Valrhona cocoa powder. I fell in love as soon as I took it out of the box. There is actually something erotic about the feel of a bag of good cocoa on your hand. I feels so fine, even through the bag. Seriously. This is almost the same high that I get from wandering aisles of books (in a library or a bookstore). Yeah, it's that good.

As some of you may have noticed, I'm on a banana kick. I love them. I love them more when they are combined with chocolate. So I opted for a banana chocolate cupcake for this challenge. I used 2 recipes from one of my so-far-unused cookbooks, Cupcakes!

I used the chocolate portion of the Neapolitan cupcake recipe to make the chocolate batter, and the banana cupcake recipe for the banana portion. I halved the banana recipe and did some impressive math (at least for me) and halved the whole recipe for the Neapolitan cupcakes but tripled, then halved the cocoa/milk addition to the recipe to make it all chocolate.

I was surprised at just how liquid the banana batter was and how un-liquid the chocolate was. I had to revise my original plan of piping them into the tin to get the same effect as a soft-serve swirl cone. Instead, I just dumped in the banana and then piped in a chocolate center. Right? Right!

Baked at 350 for about 15-20 minutes.

I had visions of filling this with whipped ganache from the Junior's cookbook, then topping it with normal ganache and a candied banana slice. What a disaster.

The cupcake center (the chocolate part) was way to dense to even poke through, much less fill. So, no filling.
I went ahead with the ganache topping. That was fine.
Then I thought to pipe the whipped ganache on top to make it prettier. It probably would have been glorious, if I'd waited until everything had cooled. Oops. Instead, it started out beautiful but has since turned into a gooey, drippy mess.
Oh yeah! The bananas! Basically, they were way to gooey and buttery to be considered a topping. Why did I go ahead and sit them on top? Because I make bad decisions.

So tonight (after a night out with the girls, and before embarking on a 5.5 hour early morning drive), I plan to try to cover it all up with some banana buttercream. It'll hide all the messiness, right?

Update later, hopefully with something presentable.


Kristen said...

That is one big bag of cocoa!t

CupCakeGirl said...

I love banana cupcakes, too. I just bought the "Cupcakes" book, too. It has some nice recipes in it. I have tried one or two. Check out my banana cupcakes frosted with peanut butter/chocolate icing. Bet you;ll like it!!! Happy bloggings.

Mara said...

awww so sad they didn't work out for you...i love cocoa powder, i use scharffen berger, and ghiradelli and hersheys depending on my mood. it's a fabulous stiffener for frosting too!!

i bet they taste good!!!

Elizabeth said...

K: Yeah! I've decided that one giant bag deserves 2 more. I just bought 25lb bags of flour and sugar!

CCG: yumm! I'm glad you had more success!

M: Tanks for the tip! i am determined to make it work eventually!