Chocolate Cupcakes With Chocolate-Mascarpone Frosting
Category: Desserts & Sweets | Blog URL: http://stuff2eat.blogspot.com/2010/02/valentines-day.html
This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.
Photo: Lori Jablons
There are two holidays I never go out for dinner: New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. New Year’s Eve is just too crazy and Valentine’s Day is always a disappointment. I’d much rather stay home and cook than try to force a romantic meal at a restaurant that’s overwhelmed by people with unrealistic expectations. Besides, this way I can wear a T-shirt and yoga pants and don’t have to worry about mascara or getting my hair close to my head.
On Valentine’s Day 1989, before I became jaded, Dan and I set out for a romantic dinner. Of course, we didn’t have reservations anywhere, but Dan was keen on the adventure of finding a restaurant that would seat us before midnight. We were living downtown, a block east of the World Trade Center, and since the only place close by was a deli that closed at 6 p.m., we walked up to Little Italy. Like most New York girls, I love to walk. Walking in heels and short skirt in freezing temperatures didn’t faze me―until we had made it down the entire east side of Mulberry Street hearing the same refrain: “Sorry. No reservations, no food.”
I had lost feeling in my thighs, and I had begun to hallucinate. I became Bitchenstein, neck bolts and all.
Dan finally got the ear of a sympathetic maître d’, and we were admitted into his establishment. It was the only time in my life I’ve ever begun a meal with a cup of coffee. We had a rushed dinner of lobster bisque, fettuccine with something and flourless chocolate cake (those who had the foresight to make reservations would need our table shortly), and by the time Dan paid the bill, the feeling in my thighs had returned. As soon as we hit Canal Street, without a word Dan stepped from the curb and hailed a cab. This is why we are still married 21 years later.
I am not averse to reminding Dan of this adventure when I am hungry and Dan wants to wander in search of a meal. The words Little Italy Valentine’s Day reel him in from his peripatetic culinary inclinations and a restaurant is quickly decided upon. Dan is a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate-Mascarpone Frosting
Makes 12 cupcakes
Mascarpone is creamy rather than tangy, like cream cheese, and I much prefer it to the latter. If you think these cupcakes need a bit more Valentine’s Day excitement, you can top them with chopped roasted hazelnuts, chocolate chips or toasted coconut. If you live on the East Coast, you can walk around outside for a few hours before you eat these. I think you’ll appreciate them even more once you start to thaw out.
Canola oil spray (if you’re not using baking cups)
1 cup blanched almond flour
⅔ cup GF Classical Blend flour, or your favorite gluten-free flour, sifted
⅓ cup coconut flour
1 scant cup sugar
½ cup good unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs, room temperature
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
½ cup light coconut milk
⅓ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup mascarpone, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons light coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking pan with muffin cups or spray with canola oil.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, xanthan gum and sea salt. In another large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, almond and coconut milks, canola oil and vanilla and almond extracts. Stir dry ingredients into wet until well combined.
3. Spoon batter into muffin cups to ¾ full and bake 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to rack to cool completely, about an hour.
4. For the frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and mascarpone. Add salt and ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, and then add a tablespoon of light coconut milk. Add the chocolate and beat until combined. Add remaining ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, followed by second tablespoon of coconut milk, beating well to incorporate. Taste and make sure frosting is sweet enough. If you need more confectioners’ sugar, feel free to add it. You’ll also need to add a bit more coconut milk. Add vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
5. Frost the cupcakes only after they have cooled completely. If you want to add toppings, now’s the time. Serve and refrigerate the leftovers for up to 3 days. And, don’t forget to tell your significant other how much you love him/her.