Monday, June 2, 2008

The Death of the Birthday Cupcakes

... or, why this blog will never be cupcake - or photo - central.

I hate it when good recipes happen to bad chefs. Especially when the bad chef in question is, well, me. Let me explain. I had good intentions with this cake recipe I had invented, planning to bake it into cupcakes this past weekend. It was all a test - would it work as a recipe in general, would the flavours be there, would the texture be what I was after, and most importantly, would Andrew like it? This was, after all, the recipe I intended to use for his birthday cake in July. It was a brilliant idea - take all the things in the Lindor Stracciatella chocolate truffle (which so happens to be his favourite chocolate) and mould it into a moist, fluffy cake with a rich frosting.

What happened, as far as the recipe was concerned that is, was a complete success. I didn't scorch the chocolate, cut myself or bash my fingers when breaking up the cookies, nor did I forget to grease the tins, nor did I burn the cupcakes in the oven. Where I failed, miserably, was when I got to the part of baking that involved unmoulding the miniature puffs of sweet heaven (as I named them when they began to aromatize my kitchen, and therefore, house). I failed to note that cakes, even miniature cakes, should cool partially in their tins before being turned out. As you can see, disaster struck, and resulted in some mangled, but still tasty from what I'm told, goodies.

I saved most of them, let them cool completely, and packged them up so I could frost them the next morning. No problem there! The next day, I proceeded to exemplify exactly WHY I don't decorate cakes (or any other matter) for a living. Apparently, even with my biggest pastry tube (an Ateco #6 star), small crumbs of cookie do not like squashing through there! I resorted to a spoon - and - smoosh method of icing the remaining cakes, then topped them with the last bits of whole Teddy Graham cookies that I had left over for what I hope looks like a decent presentation.

Sad the photography may be, but as far as taste was concerned, it got thumbs up from my mom: "rich but not heavy... moist not wet... loved the bits of cookie too... the icing was good... My favourite part is the bear, he's cute!" (Thanks Mom!). Andrew gets his portion of cakies tomorrow (I was, and still am as of now, too sick to drive today so couldn't deliver the goods), so I'm eagerly awaiting the verdict from him!

This is a labour intensive recipe, and will probably stick you in the gym for a few hours burning it off, but it is worth every bead of sweat and extra calorie when you pull it off. The buttermilk cuts the cloying sweetness of the white chocolate and sugar just right, and there weren't even any eggs to crack! The purists out there can use butter, I just chose shortening because I wanted the white colour to stay in the cake as much as possible.

Torta Stracciatella Alla Andrew
Serves 12
8 oz high-quality white chocolate (I used Lindt), chopped
3 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons clear vanilla
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup buttermilk
¾ cup broken (not crushed) chocolate cookie wafers (like Mr. Christies)
½ cup shortening
4 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar, divided
3 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ cup crushed chocolate cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
  2. Melt the white chocolate, being careful not to scorch it. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Separately, cream the shortening and white sugar.
  5. Beat in the melted white chocolate, the applesauce and the vanilla.
  6. Mix the cream and buttermilk together.
  7. In three additions, with electric beaters, alternately beat the flour mixture and the milk mixture into the creamed mixture.
  8. Beat until smooth.
  9. Fold in cookie chunks by hand.
  10. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes, or until tests done. Allow to cool thoroughly in tins before turning out.
  12. Beat shortening in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy.
  13. Gradually beat in 3 cups sugar until well blended and smooth.
  14. Beat in cream, then slowly add remaining sugar until blended.
  15. Beat in cookie crumbs.
  16. Invert one cake layer on serving platter. Top with a layer of the frosting, then place the second cake layer (right side up) on top.
  17. Use remaining frosting for top and sides of the cake.
  18. For best results, refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 696.4
Total Fat: 29.7 g
Cholesterol: 31.9 mg
Sodium: 85.7 mg
Total Carbs: 103.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g
Protein: 5.7 g

Happy Early 21st Birthday, Honey!


  1. These look great. I personally appreciate the tip about letting them cool partially in the pans...

  2. I like the bear too:). As for the cooling in the pan, I learned that lesson the hard way too!

  3. The bear is so cute...these cupcakes look very nice and yummy.

  4. Now that's LOVE. Andrew gets a cupcake invented for him:D

  5. I love the little teddy graham on top.


Thanks for the feedback!