Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream and Candied Kumquats

The kumquats my sister bought the other day were a little too bitter to eat on their own, so she asked me if I could do something with them. I decided to candy them to bring out their natural sweetness and use them as decoration on cupcakes.

Chocolate Cupcakes
from Epicurious
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 whole large egg
1 large egg yolk

In a small bowl whisk together the cocoa powder and the water until the cocoa powder is dissolved and let the mixture cool to room temperature. In a bowl whisk together the flour, the baking soda, and a pinch of salt. In another bowl with an electric mixer cream together the butter and the sugar and beat in the whole egg and the egg yolk, beating until the mixture is combined well. Beat in the cocoa mixture alternately with the flour mixture, beating well after each addition, divide the batter among 12 paper-lined 1/2-cup muffin tins, and bake the cupcakes, in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Turn the cupcakes out onto a rack and let them cool completely.

Candied Kumquats

1 pint kumquats
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Bring the water and sugar to a boil and allow to reduce for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the kumquats into slices about 1/4" thick. Add the kumquats to the boiling syrup and allow to boil for about 15-20 minutes until the syrup thickens and the fruit darkens in color.

At this point, drain the kumquats and set aside. Return the drained liquid to the pot and continue to boil for another 5 minutes to further reduce the syrup. Add this back to the candied fruit to preserve it. They will keep for several weeks if covered and under refrigeration.

Orange Buttercream

4oz egg whites
9oz sugar
9oz butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp orange extract

Place the whites and sugar in bowl of mixer set over a pot of boiling water. Whisk this mixture for a few minutes until the sugar is well dissolved and the mixture begins to foam (165 degrees). Remove bowl from pot and place back on standing mixer with the whisk attachment. Whisk for about 5 minutes until a stiff meringue forms. At this point, add the butter in pieces and allow to fully incorporate. This process will take a few minutes so be patient. The consistency of the buttercream will change completely after a few minutes and you will notice a difference. At this point add the orange extract and use to decorate your cupcakes.
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