Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes of Creamcheeesyness! A.K.A. Alex Cupcakes!

You may have noticed that I've named these cupcakes after a person called Alex.

This is because Alex is an amazing person who did something amazing for me - so amazing that there was absolutely no way I could thank her enough short of making her cupcakes and then naming them after her.  Which I like to think is somewhat of a high honor? 
(Although really, I'd do it for anyone if they asked me to... or even if they just mentioned that they enjoy cupcakes... yeah, I'm really just a compulsive cupcake giver.  There are worse things in this world to be.)

I know you're wondering now what exactly it was that Alex did to merit this delicious gift, but it is something SO incredibly sweet that honestly I can't describe it on this blog because, well, there are enough sweet things on here as it is.  But I will say that because of her, I was able to attend one of the best concerts of my entire life, and there I got to meet (and hug!) Jimmy Gnecco, of whom I have spoken before.  

It rocked.  And so does Alex.  And so do these cupcakes that bear her name.  

These are chocolate cupcakes with orange zest added to the batter, which brings a surprisingly powerful and fragrant orange flavor to them... after tasting these, I think I will be using orange zest much, much more often in my baking!  They are filled with a honey cream cheese mixture, and topped with a whipped chocolate orange ganache.  Soooooo goood!

Oh, and Alex loved them.  She said that they were gone after a day and even accused me of flavor altering wizardry, which I took as a compliment.  =)
So if you have someone you need to thank exuberantly, these cupcakes certainly do the trick!

For the cupcakes:
(adapted from this recipe)

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of half an orange

1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line cupcake tins.
2. Cream the butter with the sugar and orange zest and beat until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla, beating after each addition.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.  Add 1/3 of this mixture to the batter, and mix to combine.  Then add half of the milk, followed by another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by the last of the milk and then finishing with the last of the flour mixture.
5. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full with batter, and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.  

For the filling:

4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp heavy cream

1. Beat together all 3 ingredients until smooth and well combined.

For the topping:

3/4 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp grand marnier

1. Place the chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl.
2. Heat the cream until it begins to boil, then immediately remove from heat and pour over the chopped chocolate.
3. Let sit for a couple minutes, then whisk until smooth and mix in the grand marnier.
4. Cover and chill.
5. When the ganache is set, whip it with an electric mixer until it is a stiff, spreadable consistency.  

To assemble:
1. Once the cupcakes are cool, cut out a small bit from the center of each one.
2. Spoon the cream cheese mixture into the newly hollowed cupcake centers.
3. Pipe or spoon the ganache onto the cooled, filled cupcakes, and then they are finished and delicious!

1 comment:

Ingrid said...

MMMM, that filling looks divine. What a lovely surprise!