Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cupcakes Fit for a Queen

I made these cupcakes late last week. I have had a lot of free time in the past week, mostly because I was told that I do not need to come to work at all last week; the restaurant was way too quiet, and being a part-timer who's paid an hourly wage, I was always the first to feel the punch.

But I wasn't unhappy. It sort of gave me a mini break and gave me time to bake and develop this blog. And, let's just face it, I'm getting bored there anyway. The kind of things they make me do there aren't getting me anywhere. But enough whining.

I was at the newly opened QV branch of San Churro Chocolateria some time ago, with J. He wanted to get a coffee, and decided on a long black with a dash of condensed milk. I, on the other hand, was feeling full and even resisted the enticing cabinet of desserts and chocolates available. I was more intrigued at the way they made the shop's famous Spanish churros. Cutting to the point, I was looking around at their merchandise when I found a free recipe card for their Queen of Spain Cake.

What intrigued me about this recipe is its method of execution. I have, since I started avidly baking about a year ago, encountered many chocolate cakes. However, I have yet to find one made by this method.

Upon making the mixture, I was worried with how thick and dense the chocolate mixture is. Moreover, I could see sugar granules still present in the mixture even after a good 15 minutes of mixing. Afraid that I'll burn the chocolate if the mixture gets too hot, i decided to leave it as it is. It was a really thick mixture, even after the addition of egg yolks. I was beginning to doubt the recipe.

I paced back and forth between my living room and the kitchen as I waited for them to bake. A good 30 minutes later, they came out of the oven. I was a little reassured when I saw them; they looked good enough in terms shape and colour. But what about their texture and taste? I could not wait any longer. I plunged my spoon into one. Seconds later, I was gasping with delight. The cupcake was moist, rich and intensely chocolate-y. I was happy. I had to wait 'til it cools down before trying it with the frosting, but in my opinion, this cake is way better fresh and warm.

San Churro's Queen of Spain Cupcakes
serves 10

250g dark chocolate (preferable 60%)
150g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh coffee
1 Tablespoon brandy
125g almond meal, or hazelnut meal
5 eggs, separated

Combine, chocolate, sugar, butter, brandy and coffee in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in almond meal. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, until combined. Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites until firm peaks form. Fold the egg whites gradually into the chocolate mixture. Do not over-mix. Pipe mixture into cupcake tins, each at about 3/4 full. Bake at 160C for 30 min, or until cake is firm to the touch but still a little soft in the centre.

Rich chocolate frosting

200 g dark chocolate (preferably 60%)
60g unsalted butter

Combine chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir occasionally until smooth. Cool for 15-20 min until thickened, then spread or pipe on the top of the cake. If using a star nozzle, let mixture cool a little longer, about 30 min. This extra cooling time will give the ganache enough body to hold the ridges on the star nozzle. However do not let it get cold, as it will be impossible to pipe.


Aran said...

wow... gorgeous cupcakes! and san churro queen of spain? never heard of that! beautiful.

Tartelette said...

Oohh if I show these to the husband he is going to ask over and over again...!

Christy said...

Aran & Tartelette: Thank you!So happy that you 2 left a comment!

ice tea: sugar high said...

oh. how I adore san churros! your cupcakes are gorgeous! Love the chocolate roses.