Thursday, February 3, 2011

Brandy Alexander Cupcakes

Another dessert for our Mad Men party! Yes, I know cupcakes weren't big in the '60's...but Brandy Alexander drinks were! (Also, I just bought this cute cupcake holder, so I wanted to use it at the party.) Brandy, cream and creme de cacao garnished with nutmeg....yum. I couldn't actually find a recipe for Brandy Alexandre cupcakes, so I altered Martha Stewart's brandy cupcakes which I found on The Cupcake Diary's website. The cupcake itself was wonderful. This must have been from the sweet milk/brandy mixture that the cupcakes soaked in for about one day wrapped in the fridge. I wanted to add creme de cacao in the whipped cream topping but couldn't find a miniature bottle that I could add a tablespoon or two to the mixture. Instead, I had some leftover Kahlua from a previous recipe and added some cocoa powder. I added each of these to taste, so I approximated the measurements in the recipe below. Then I topped off the cupcakes with a dusting of nutmeg.

Adapted from: (Originally Martha Stewart's Cupcakes)

6 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Brandy
Nutmeg for dusting

1. Preheat over to 325* F. Line regular sized cupcake tins with paper-lined foil liners, you can buy these at most grocery stores. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together egg whites, baking soda and salt until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low. Add yolks and sugar, whisk until completely combined. Fold in melted butter with a flexible spatula. Add flour in four batches, folding until just combined after each.
2. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each half-way. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until light golden brown, the original recipe says about 25 minutes. I checked on the cupcakes at 20 minutes and they looked done so I remove from oven at that point. Immediately poke holes in tops of cupcakes with a wooden skewer or toothpick.
3. Whisk together evaporated milk, condensed milk, heavy cream and Brandy. With cupcakes still in tins, brush milk mixture over cupcakes, repeating until all liquid has been used, this might take several minutes. Allow cupcakes to absorb mixture, at least 30 minutes (or up to 1 day in the refrigerator, wrapped tightly in plastic once completely cool; bring to room temperature before serving).
To finish, dollop or pipe on whipped cream generously onto cupcakes and dust with nutmeg. (The original recipe calls for cinnamon.) Serve immediately.

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
Cocoa powder - about 2 Tbsp
Kahlua - about 1 1/2 Tbsp

Whisk heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar, and whisk until combined. To create the "Brandy Alexander", I added some cocoa powder and Kahlua since I didn't have any Creme de Cacao. It gave the frosting a nice hint of chocolate. If not using immediately, whipped cream can be refrigerated, covered tightly, up to 3 hours in an airtight container.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chocolate Bundt Cake with White Chocolate Glaze

This was my first time making a bundt cake because I never had a bundt pan before! I recently bought a bundt pan because my husband and I threw a Mad Men party. Having an early 1960's themed party, I wanted some authentic food to be served! The bundt cake became popular during this time. I found a recipe for a fantastic chocolate cake at, though omitted the frozen raspberries. I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa (as always) and this cake was phenomenal! It was so rich and dense. Since I didn't have the fruit to offset this, I prepared a very simple white chocolate glaze. TIP: Spray the bundt pan REALLY well with Pam in order to have a mess-free bundt cake. I've heard how it can get stuck to the inside of the pan and look very messy but as you can see, mine looked amazing! :)

Cake adapted from:
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
2 tsp instant coffee/espresso powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup hot water
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (I omitted)
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan. (Spray with a lot of Pam, I actually thought it was too much. And I didn't flour it.) In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, coffee powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and sugars. Whisk in butter, vegetable oil and vanilla. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, followed by the hot water. Mix only until no streaks of flour remain. Pour about half of the batter into the prepared pan. If using raspberries, add them in and then topped with the remaining batter. Run a knife through the batter gently to even out the distribution of the berries. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cake rest in the pan for about 10 minutes, then gently loosen the cake and turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Serves 12.

White Chocolate Glaze adapted from:\
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon milk
Combine white chocolate chips and milk in small microwavable bowl. Microwave on MEDIUM (50%) 50 seconds; stir. Microwave on MEDIUM at additional 30-second intervals until chips are completely melted; stir well after each 30-second interval. Pour warm glaze over cooled cake. Let stand about 30 minutes. Garnish as desired; serve.