Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Week 10: Grown Up Creamsicles; Grand Marnier Vanilla Cream Cupcakes with Grand Marnier Buttercream Frosting
Hi friends! I have some shocking news to share with you. News to which I have to say somewhere in the back of my brain I am sure this knowledge was kept but I was somewhat oblivious. Not naïve, just simply oblivious because I cannot imagine it. Here goes... not everyone likes chocolate.
Can you just imagine?!
Well it is true! While I was trying to come up with a recipe for this week, one of the ladies I work with said to me [and I quote] "I like the different cupcakes you make, but I really don't like chocolate!" My response... "Huh!? Who doesn't like chocolate? I mean is that really possible?" She laughed, but I remained steadfast in my quest to come up with a really delicious "non-chocolate" cupcake for this week to knock her socks off!
I decided to put on my thinking cap and try to come up with something unique this week, something tasty which did not include chocolate! My citrus kick continues and I was suddenly craving a Creamsicle. But alas, how do I turn them into a cupcake? It was easier than I thought! The response to this cupcake was AMAZING! Not only were the cupcakes moist and very tasty, but the orange zest and Grand Marnier bumped up the depth of the orange flavor. The vanilla pudding center was a delightful surprise and the kick of Grand Marnier in the Buttercream frosting is truly a burst of unexpected flavor mixed in with all the yumminess [a technical term] of this absolutely perfect recipe for buttercream frosting.
I got my base recipe from My Sweet & Saucy who has a fabulous website. Since I found this recipe I have been using it quite a bit and found several variations. I have not been disappointed by it. Overall, I was very pleased by this grown up version of a Creamsicle. I would love to hear how you like it!
Grand Marnier Vanilla Cupcake Batter
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange zest
1/2 cup Grand Marnier Liqueur
1. Heat oven to 350°F degrees. Line baking pan with liners and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Fold in the orange zest and Grand Marnier gently after all the ingredients are mixed together. Careful not to overmix!
6. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended, then carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full.
7. Bake for 18 - 24 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
8. VERY IMPORTANT to cool the cupcakes completely before piping in vanilla pudding centers and icing.
2 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1. Put 2 cups of half-and-half or milk, sugar and salt in a small or medium saucepot over medium-low heat. If using a vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and scrape seeds into milk or half-and-half using small sharp knife, then add pod. Cook just until mixture begins to steam.
2. Combine cornstarch and remaining milk or half-and-half in a bowl and blend; there should be no lumps. Fish pod from pot and discard. Add cornstarch mixture; cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture starts to thicken and barely reaches a boil, about 5 minutes. Immediately reduce heat to very low and stir for 5 minutes or so until thick. Stir in butter and vanilla extract, if using.
3. Pour mixture into a 1-quart dish. Put plastic wrap directly on the pudding. Refrigerate until chilled. Whisk to remove lumps if needed before piping into completely cooled cupcakes.
Grand Marnier Buttercream Frosting
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. whole milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp Grand Marnier
1. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and salt for about 30 seconds.
2. Add half of the powdered sugar and the milk to the butter and beat again until combined. Scrape down the bowl.
3. Add the remainder of the powdered sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice. Beat until combined. Scrape down the bowl again.
4. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes or until the frosting is fluffy. Add the Grand Marnier.
5. Continue beating on high speed for 3 minutes. Add Wilton gel "Peach" in small amount to achieve desired pastel color.
6. It is preferable to use the frosting on the same day you make it, but it can keep in the refrigerator for 3 days if tightly wrapped. Make sure and stir the buttercream well before using to get the air bubbles out of the frosting and then pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes.