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Cannoli Cupcakes

First let me start off by saying these cupcakes are not for a beginner. They are time consuming and more suited for an intermediate baker. I had a good time with these. I love, love, love filled cupcakes. It adds another dimension to everyday cupcakes. This particular cupcake is a moist, fluffy orange zest cupcake filled with cool cannoli cream and topped with soft bittersweet ganache and smooth almond cream. They are so incredibly delicious! If any of you try this recipe I promise you will not regret it. You may not even want to share.

Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients
Cupcakes:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange oil
1 cup milk

Cannoli Filling:
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons finely diced candied orange peel
Bittersweet Ganache:
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 ounces heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar

Almond Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup almond paste
Toasted almonds, for garnish

For the cupcakes: Preheat a convection oven to 325 degrees F. Line 24 regular-size cupcake pans with liners.

Combine the flour, orange zest, baking powder and salt in a bowl. This is only the second time I have zested this much citrus. I kept sending it flying into my eyes. I recommend eye pro when zesting citrus fruit otherwise you may end up with orange scented eyeballs. I also only used about 1 tablespoon of the zest because I didn’t want an overpowering flavor of orange in the cupcake.

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Orange Zest

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flour, orange zest, baking powder, salt

In a stand mixer, cream the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 8 minutes.

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light and fluffy butter and sugar

Slowly add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and orange oil to the mixer. On low speed, gradually alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mix until smooth. Okay, I was unable to find orange oil so I just used orange extract and the cupcakes still came out beautifully and with great flavor.

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When the mixture is smooth, divide the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake liners. Bake until lightly browned and fully cooked through, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.

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For the filling: With a large wooden or metal spoon, mix the ricotta, confectioners’ sugar, chocolate and orange peel in a medium bowl until combined. Make sure to very, very finely chop the candied orange peel. Otherwise you’ll end up with bog chewy pieces in the middle of the cupcake and it won’t be enjoyable.

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Very finely chop the chocolate. You don’t want a bunch of big chunks in the center of your cupcakes

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Cannoli Cream

For the ganache: Place the chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl.

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Coarse chopped chocolate for the ganache is okay because you are going to melt it anyway.

In small saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream and sugar to a boil ensuring the sugar is completely dissolved. Make sure you stir it. Don’t let it burn to the bottom of the pot.

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Pour the cream and sugar mixture over the chocolate and let sit 5 minutes. Gradually whisk until smooth. Once it cools its going to be soft and creamy. If its still liquid you need to let it cool longer. You can’t put it on the cupcake until its thick enough to spread like peanut butter, otherwise it will just run off the cupcake and you’ll have an ugly, sloppy mess.

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Cooling Ganache

For the almond cream: In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the cream, sugar and almond paste until the cream is firm enough to pipe on the cupcakes but not too stiff and buttery. Here is the only place I ran into problems. I had never worked with almond paste before. To avoid the issues I had, break the almond paste into small pieces, and beat it with the sugar first. Then slowly add the cream otherwise you’ll end up with a curdled looking almond cream and you won’t be able to pipe it

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Almond Cream

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To assemble: Cut a small hole the size of an apple core in each cupcake and fill with the cannoli cream. I couldn’t seem to find my apple corer at first and tried an orange juicer which also did the job. I eventually found my apple corer buried in the back of the drawer

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Using the orange juicer to cut holes in the center

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Cannoli cream filled cupcakes

Spread a small amount of ganache on the entire surface of the cupcake and either pipe or use an off set spatula to add the alond cream to the top. Garnish with toasted almonds.

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Completely assembled cupcake

Happy Baking!

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Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. Regardless of family history, many humans use this holiday as a reason to go out and consume Irish Whiskey and corned beef and cabbage in excess. Last year we chose to celebrate with our own feast at home that included Irish Soda Bread, Shepard’s Pie, and Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes. Today, I’m going to share the recipe for the Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes.

Unfortunately, I do not have an every step of the way photo journey for you, though, I am sure I will be making these again very soon. When I do, I promise I will add photos to this post.

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These cupcakes are flavor rich and moist, not to mention aesthetically pleasing. The cupcake itself is made with Guinness, the alcohol content is cooked out leaving a delicious enhancer for the chocolate. The center of each cupcake is removed and the space is filled with an Irish Whiskey spiked chocolate ganache. Its all topped of with a smooth buttercream frosting mixed with a few generous shots of Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Recipe

For the Cupcakes:
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2-3 teaspoons Irish whiskey

For the Baileys Frosting:
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
4-5 cups powdered sugar
6-7 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream

Special tools: This cupcake has the center removed. I use an apple corer. It works great and its the perfect size.

Here’s a tip for baking: You really want all your ingredients to be room temperature because they will mix so much better. Sometimes I think my butter isn’t soft enough and throw it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up a bit more.

Making the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 24 tins with your chosen papers. Bring one cup of stout and one cup of butter to simmer in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is completely smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Completely cool the cupcakes on a rack.

Making the ganache:

Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.

Filling the cupcakes:

Cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Most people fill using a piping bag. I think its a big fat waste of time if you cut the centers out. Just grab a teaspoon and carefully fill the centers of each cupcake

Making the Baileys Frosting:

Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.

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I used the Wilton 1M star tip to frost these,  dusted them with green and gold sugar crystals and added a single sugar pearl in the center.
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No, you can not get drunk off of these cupcakes. Don’t try. Happy baking!