Friday, March 4, 2011

No Drama. Just Desserts.

Uni has started and it is getting harder and harder to find time between doing my extra readings and making my lunches to do any blogging. I will persist, however, because I really want to show off what we've been doing this past week!

Boston Cream Cupcake. Goes very well with milk
It's probably not surprising that one of my favourite shows involve cooking and recipes -especially those in a competition setting such as Top Chef America and Master Chef New Zealand. While waiting for the latest season of Master Chef NZ to come to air, I have turned to the dark side namely, Top Chef: Just Desserts. It's like Top Chef. But just desserts. I suppose that's pretty self explanatory..

..It's more like watching a group of girls fighting over a piece of man meat than an actual cooking competition, to be honest. There is more bickering than there is actual dessert making and it seems someone has an emotional breakdown every week. Even the men act like teenage girls. It's quite tiring to watch but I do love watching the fancy desserts they come up with in the end (I must get my hands on some of those glitter sprinkles Zac uses on the show -so very diva!).

Anyway, I digress. 

Ingredients: Buttermilk, flour, salt, eggs, vanilla pudding, baking powder, baking soda, butter, chocolate chips, vanilla essence
After each episode I get a real hankering to make some dessert of my own -not a super-over-the-top one, just different, cute and yummy. Boston Cream Cupcakes have been on my list for some time now, but I could never find the time amidst work and attending 21sts. I was pretty excited when Jason finished summer work and we finally had a few days to ourselves to do nothing but make.. cupcakes!

Step 2: Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
The scariest part of this recipe is the buttermilk. As a kid, I imagined buttermilk being creamy, buttery and sweet beyond compare -basically the king of milk and every kid's dream. Imagine my surprise when I opened up the package and this curdled mess poured out. My first act was to curse the supermarket for selling expired products and my second was to actually look for the expiry date. Satisfied that the supermarket hadn't duped me, I closed my eyes and hoped that buttermilk was supposed to be curdle-y.

Step 3: Add eggs, one at a time, until well blended.
Step 5: What your mixture should look like once everything is blended.

Another challenge I faced was trying to stop Jason from eating all the batter. I'm sure many of you who do any form of baking will have experienced this problem before (although I hope it wasn't Jason that was in your kitchen..).

Solution? Let them lick the beaters. Just make sure they're not still connected to the beaters or you might have a few issues regarding domestic violence..

After making these cupcakes, I have to say that I never want to use normal milk in a cupcake recipe ever again. Not only does it have less calories than milk and cream, but something about them makes my cupcakes rise better and more fluffy! A quick Google tells me that st is also high in potassium, vitamin B12, calcium, and riboflavin as well as a good source of phosphorus. What's not to love about buttermilk? Go out and buy some now! Stock up and have a baking party!

Filling the cupcake liners. What he really wants to do is to lick the beaters in the background..
You want the tops to be a bit higher than your average cupcake so you can cut them off for the filling
 I'm quite glad that New Zealand's Hottest Home Baker is back on air with their second season now. The contestants just seem much calmer and less like they want to gouge each others' eyes out (they don't seem like that at all actually..). I feel like I can relate -although there is no way I could ever deal with the time pressures they put up with! I would probably cry. It took us a whole afternoon to make these darlings -although we did play a lot of video games in between..

Step 10: Place chocolate, sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Try not to eat the chocolate beforehand.
Step 12: Stir in butter until it melts and the mixture is smooth. Hint: it's not smooth in the picture..
Cutting off the tops. Remember: you want the tops a little higher so there's actually something for you to cut!
Step 15: Spread cut surface with about 1 Tbs filling.
As soon as you have finished assembling your cupcakes quickly, and I mean quickly, find a place to store them where no one else will think to look. Like a squirrel does with his acorns or dogs with their bones. I'm thinking under your bed, in your glove box or even shell out an old book. This is IMPORTANT. If you don't, your family and friends will eat them all and you will be left with nothing but a hollow memory of that one time you made them.

Or else Lotti will find them and hide them in the garden. We don't want that!

Boston Cream Cupcakes (makes 18)

Milk is just a serving suggestion

Cupcake Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt
175g unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

Filling Ingredients:

1 package cook & serve vanilla pudding (I just used Pams) 
milk to make the pudding (see packet)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze Ingredients:

1 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup each sugar 
1/3 cup water
3 Tbs unsalted butter, softened

1. In a bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until blended.
2. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. 
3. Add eggs, one at a time, until well blended.
4. Beat in vanilla extract. 
5. With mixer on low speed, alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, until just blended. 
6. Line your muffin cups and spoon about 1/4 cup of batter into each.
7. Bake at 180C for 18 to 20 minutes until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Set on wire rack to cool.

8. In a bowl, prepare pudding as per package instructions.
9. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.

10. Place chocolate, sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat.
11. Cook, stirring, until melted and smooth and then remove from heat.
12. Stir in butter until it melts and the mixture is smooth.
13. Let it cool. You may want to put it in a cool water bath to speed up the process.

14. Slice off top of cupcakes to come to top of paper liners.
15. Spread cut surface with about 1 Tbs filling.
16. Top with cupcake top and cover them with about 1 Tbs of chocolate glaze.

17. Quickly hide them from your family so you can have more than just one!

All recipes are on Petitchef


  1. Did you know... You can make a cheap buttermilk substitute by combining one part non-fat natural yoghurt and one part milk, or one tablespoon of vinegar in one cup of milk (leave for about 10 minutes to curdle)? I don't know if it has the same nutritional value as real buttermilk, but it does the same thing in baking. The main thing about buttermilk is the curdy-sourness - this is good for digestion, and apparently helps your baking to be light and fluffy!

  2. I wish we had that show on free to air-or hang on maybe I don't because I think I'd be totally entranced! Oh and adding to Kate's comment above, I usually sour milk using a squeeze of lemon juice :)

  3. Thanks so much for stopping by! I love these cupcakes, too--never thought of this, and it's a great idea.

  4. Buttermilk makes everything better. It makes cakes so moist. And it's great for soaking fried chicken in, too, before you batter and fry the pieces. ;)

  5. Let them lick the beaters is a step that works very well for me too :)

    Lovely post...
    The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts - Nachiketa
    Catch me on facebook @ Crazy Over Desserts