Sunday, June 12, 2016

Pineapple & Spice Cupcakes

I think sometimes that the health industry has gone too far.  Especially in the area of supplements/pills that you can take that have healthy benefits. I am not sure of whatever happened to actually eating something natural as opposed to taking a pill.

As I strolled through the "healthy supplement" aisle at the drug store, I saw cinnamon pills. Maybe I am wrong, but I do not think there are a lot of people that hate the taste of cinnamon. Think about it: cinnamon toast, cinnamon rolls. Yes, doesn't just the thought make you want to take a cinnamon pill instead? I think not. I also saw cardamom pills.

Today's recipe contains cardamom. It is one of the many wonderful spices brought to us by India that has lots of health benefits. I imagine right now in southern India, there is someone looking across their backyard which is filled with wild cardamom. Most of us are not so lucky and actually have to pay to have some of the same.

So, for these special cupcakes,we start with a base of cardamom cake. After that, I have added a pineapple curd filling. Then topped them off with a frosting that has a unique blend of goat cheese and butter nut flavoring. Since you are not here to taste these, I will give you the run down of what your taste buds are missing.... first you taste a lightly spiced cake. Then there is a pop of the tart flavor of pineapple. After that comes the frosting, which is tangy but is followed by a chaser of nutty flavor. If you are unfamiliar with butternut, I think it tastes about like Frangelico liqueur. The last part your taste buds experience is the crunchy walnuts on top. Enough said, so lets head to the kitchen!

Pineapple & Spice Cupcakes

Ingredients/ Pineapple Curd
adapted from Alaska From Scratch

1/3 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
pinch of salt
2 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs butter
1 cup of strained pineapple puree

Ingredients/Cardamom Cupcakes (makes about 20-22 cupcakes)
adapted from Chowhound

3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks butter
2 egg whites
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 cups sugar

Ingredients/Goat Cheese Frosting
from Flourtrader

6 oz goat cheese (room temp)
2 tbs milk
1 tsp butternut flavoring
2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter (room temp)
1/2 -3/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts

Start by making the pineapple curd. Whisk the egg yolks together in a medium size bowl. Then sift in the cornstarch and stir. Add the pineapple puree and the sugar. Mix together and empty into a mid-size saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly. As it heats up, it will thicken. Once your spoon leaves a streak in the bottom of the pan, it is done cooking. It will be as thick as custard. Remove from heat and add butter. Stir until the butter is melted into the mixture. Let cool to room temp, empty into bowl and cover. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the top edge of 12 muffin cavities of a muffin tin(s) and place paper liner in each cavity.

In a small bowl, sift together baking powder, flour, cardamom and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream together by beating for about 3 minutes, taking a moment or two to scrape down the sides. Mixture should be fluffy and pale.

Add one egg white and beat for 30 seconds. In separate intervals, repeat the process with the remaining egg whites and each egg. Once completed, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then beat again, this time on low. As you continue to beat, add the extract and then slowly stream in the milk. The end result will be a curdled-looking batter.

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, fold the sifted ingredients into the batter. Then fill the lined cavities with the batter, using an ice cream scoop or spoon. The cavities should be about 2/3 full. Place tins in oven and bake for 8 minutes, rotate and bake for an additional 8-12 minutes more, or when tester comes out clean.

After baking, place tins on rack for about 2 minutes to cool. Then take cupcakes out of tin and place on rack to completely cool.

As they cool, you will make the frosting. Place the goat cheese and the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth and creamy. Add the milk and butternut flavoring and beat again for 10 seconds. Stop and scrape down the sides, then repeat the process 2 more times. Lastly, you will add the powdered sugar in 1/2 cup intervals, beating to combine and scraping down the sides at each interval until all the powdered sugar is combined into the dairy frosting.

To assemble, use a pairing knife and core out a hole in the center of your cupcakes. Then fill a piping bag (coupled with a large tip) with the pineapple curd and fill each cupcake. Once all the cupcakes are filled, frost the cakes as desired and sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Now they are ready to serve.

Tips and Notes:

1. Regarding the pineapple puree, it took about 3/4 of a peeled, cored, chopped pineapple to make 1 cup. The pineapple was pureed in a blender and pressed through a sieve.

2. I had some left over after making the cakes. I consider the curd the best part of the cupcakes, so I easily found a use for the rest of it. You can also put a layer of curd on top of the cupcakes before frosting to use all of it up.

2. The recipe states that the batter makes 2 dozen. Mine, when filling the cavities as instructed came out to make 20.

3. These are not fancy, decorated cupcakes. However, if you desire something more like that, add more confectioners sugar to the frosting to get it thick enough to pipe onto the cupcakes. Of course you also will have to increase the recipe ingredients.

4. I used the Lorann brand of flavoring, which is much stronger than the regular flavoring so you will need to add more if using another brand.

5. Do not overbeat when adding the milk and extract, this will put more air into the batter and makes for a flatter cupcake.
                                      **LAST YEAR:Pecan Cream Cups**