Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Royalty Reserve Cakes

Back in the 10th century, royalty did rule.  During this time there were certain delicacies that royalty indulged in that the commoner did not.  Some of the food was rare and expensive and some the opposite.  One of the foods that was cheap and plentiful was pistachios.  However, it was Queen Sheba that determined that these nuts were not to be eaten by the commoners.  Royalty would only be allowed to enjoy pistachios.   A few other lines of royalty also had a high regard for this nut as well. Nebuchadenezzar, King of Babylon, grew pistachio trees.  Akbar the Great (a Mogul Emperor) fed his chickens these nuts 6 weeks prior to having them prepared for a king's feast as a way to enhance their flavor.

Anyhow, I am glad that we all are allowed to partake in eating pistachios!  This particular cupcake is made up of two batters.  The main batter is a cake flavored with pistachios and pistachio oil.  The secondary batter is one I wanted to exude a lot of vanilla flavor, so it has melted vanilla ice cream in it.  The frosting is done with a dual frosting bag.  Each frosting has its own separate flavor much like the cupcake.

Since the main batter is made with oil instead of butter, it really is moist and light.  The other batter, even though made with butter, did go well with the texture of the pistachio cake.  You get a nutty flavor with a touch of vanilla.  The pistachio oil as well as the melted ice cream I think were key in getting these to have the balance of flavor I was looking for.

Before we go on, I have some thanks to give out for the Versatile Blogger Awards:

Nydia at Mividaenundulce
This blogger just reached her year anniversary and did a recap of some of her tasty creations.  Her blog is mostly baked goods with some savory items with the main focus being Peruvian cuisine. A few of my picks were low fat low calorie chocolate ice cream and Mulberry pie.

Maria at Flavors of Mumbai
Maria has been blogging since Oct 2010 and has really introduced me to a whole new world of baked goods.  While she does make savory foods as well, my sweet tooth is drawn to her cakes and ice cream.  Another interesting thing is that she has several recipes out there that are eggless.  I was hard pressed to only pick 2 of her recipes out but the raspberry cake and her Kiwi ice cream are just a few winners.

Thanks again for the awards!  Take some time today to venture into some delicious Peruvian and Indian cuisines by stopping by these two wonderful blogs.

Now for the recipe.  It makes about 1 1/2 dz cupcakes.

Royalty Reserve Cakes
by flourtrader

Ingredients/ Pistachio cake batter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted pistachios
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp pistachio oil extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

Ingredients/Vanilla Cake batter
2/3 cup plus 4 tsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
5 tbs plus 1 tsp butter (room temp)
1/3 plus 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp ground vanilla beans
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup melted vanilla ice cream

For the pistachio cake batter, take 1/4 cup of the sugar and pistachios and blend in a food processor until nuts are fine. Beat together 3/4 cup of sugar, egg, egg yolk and nut mixture for two minutes. It should become thicker and lighter in color.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Then on low speed, blend in the oil and pistachio extract.   Lastly, fold in the sour cream until evenly blended.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and baking powder.  Set this aside also.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease the top edges of muffin pans and line with cupcake papers.

To make the vanilla cake batter, cream together butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Then beat in the egg.  In another bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.  Fold in 1/3 of the sifted ingredients to the batter.  Then stir in the melted ice cream.  Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, blending batter.  Mix in the milk until all is absorbed into batter.  Then fold in the last of the flour mixture.

Go back to your sifted ingredients for the pistachio cakes and fold into the wet pistachio batter until no dry streaks remain.

Using an ice cream scoop or big spoon, fill each cupcake cavity 2/3 full of pistachio batter.  Then, using a melon baller or a tablespoon, place a scoop of the vanilla batter on top.  Continue until all batter is in cavities.

Place pans in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until tester comes out clean.  Mine took about 18 minutes.  Remove pans from oven and let rest for 2 minutes.  Then transfer cupcakes to a rack to finish cooling.  Frost when completely cooled.

Creamy Frosting
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

1 cup of shortening
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla
1 lb powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
3-4 tbs milk

At medium speed beat together shortening and vanilla extract for about 30 seconds.  If using a stand mixer let run at low speed and slowly add powdered sugar.  For a handheld mixer, blend in 1/4 cup at a time.  Once all is blended, beat in 2 tbs of milk.  Then beat in the rest of the powdered sugar and add milk until you have reached the desired consistency.  This yields about 3 cups of frosting.

My frosting process for this particular cupcake:
I made the above and then took out half of the frosting and placed it in a separate bowl.  Then I added 1/4 tsp of pistachio oil to the mixer bowl and beat for about 30 seconds. Continuing to beat on low, I added leaf green food coloring little by little until I reached my desired color.
Then I used a dual piping bag with a and filled each half with the different icings.  I then piped the frosting on with a #7 Wilton tip.

Extra Tips:
-only make what you can bake at one time.  The batters instructions here is made here to insure that they do not sit very long prior to baking.  Batter is to be used immediately once dry ingredients are mixed in.
-The dual icing bags came without instructions, so  I still am not sure of the precise instructions for using these to date. I did not find the process easy.
-you will have some vanilla batter left over, so you can make about 1 or two vanilla cupcakes.
                           **LAST YEAR: Lemon Blueberry Loaf**