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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Green Tea Cupcakes with Toasted Sesame Buttercream

All photographs by TK Photography!  Aren't they beautiful??

Green Tea Cupcakes
  • Cake Flour: 1 3/4 C 
    • Spoon it into the cup and level off
  • Baking Powder: 1 3/4 t
  • Sugar, Granulated: 1 1/2 C 
  • Water: 1/3 C
  • Butter, Unsalted: 4 T 
    • Room Temperature 
    • Cut into 1 T pieces
  • Vanilla Extract: 2 t
  • Salt: 1/2 t
  • Canola Oil: 1/3 C
  • Egg, Yolks: 2
  • Egg, Whole: 2
  • Heavy Cream: 1/2 C 
  • Matcha Powder: 2 T
  • Water: 1/2 C
  • Tools: Stand Mixer, Small Sauce Pan, Medium Bowl, Whisk, Sifter, another medium bowl, cupcake pan, preheated oven to 350
Sift your flour and baking powder together into your mixing bowl and then mix together with a paddle attachment on medium low until combined, about 30 seconds.  Sift it back into a medium bowl.  Set aside.

In a small sauce pan, combine 1/2 C water and Match powder and cook on medium heat until reduced down to a paste.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat 1/3 C water to a simmer.  Combine it with the sugar in your now empty mixing bowl on medium-low speed for around 15 seconds.  Add your butter and mix until completely incorporated. Add your Vanilla
and your green tea paste and mix until combined.  Add the canola oil, and mix on medium until completely combined.

Remove your mixing bowl from your mixing stand.  Sift 1/3 of your flour mixture into your mixing bowl. Using a spatula, fold the flour until all it is just combined.  Repeat until all of the flour is incorporated.  Fold each egg yolk in, one at a time, followed by your two whole eggs.

In a medium bowl, whisk your heavy cream until it is just forming soft peaks.  I recommend doing this by hand.  It's a good arm work out, and it's really just too small of an amount to warrant mixing it in your bowl.  If you want to speed up the process, put your whisk and bowl into the freezer for 10-15 minutes before hand.

Fold 1/4 of your heavy cream into your batter, gently.  Fold in the remaining heavy cream.

Portion out your batter into each of your cupcake liners until each cup is about 2/3 full.  Bake in your preheated oven for approximately 7-8 minutes, then rotate the pan, and bake for another 7-8 minutes.  I can't emphasize enough how individual each oven is.  To test if your cupcakes are done, first, they will not look wet on top.  Shiny, yes.  Wet, no.  Press lightly on top of the cupcake.  If it springs back, it is done. If you want to be extra sure, use the ol' toothpick trick.  If it comes out clean, you're done.  Immediately remove your cupcakes from the pan and put on a cooling rack.  This recipe should make about 18 cupcakes, depending on the size of your liners/pan.

TK Photography

Toasted Sesame Buttercream
  • Butter, unsalted: 24 oz room temperature
  • Egg, Whites: 8 
    • Save your egg yolks in an air tight bag or container in your fridge for up to three days)
  • Cream of Tartar: Pinch 
    • Optional, but helpful
  • Sugar, Granulated: 2 C
  • Salt: 1/4 t
  • Vanilla Extract: 1 T
  • Sesame Oil: 1/8 t
  • Sesame Brittle (See Below)
  • Tools: Stand Mixer, Medium Sauce Pan, Candy Thermometer
Place your eggs and cream of tartar in a very clean mixing bowl with a whisk attachment.

Put 1/2 C of water, sugar and salt into a medium sauce pan.  Make sure all of your sugar is saturated with water (use our fingers or gently stir if it's just not happening on its own). Cook your sugar on medium heat.  When it starts to boil rapidly, place your candy thermometer in our sugar mixture and just watch it go up.  When your sugar hits 225, turn your mixer on medium-high and whip until it is anywhere between cappuccino foam and soft peaks (I've done both, and they both have worked equally well for me).  By this point, your sugar will have reached 240.  At 240, immediately remove your sugar from the heat and walk carefully to your mixer.  Turn your mixer to its highest speed and then VERY CAREFULLY, pour your sugar slowly and steadily (don't rest it on the side of the bowl), down the very edge of the bowl. Avoid hitting the whisk or your sugar will start roping around the side of your bowl.  There is a sweet spot that is the point in the bowl where you can pour your sugar away from the edge of the bowl without hitting the whisk.  Try and hit that point.

Whip your eggs/sugar (it's an Italian Meringue now) on high until the bowl is just warm to the touch.  Keeping the mixer on high, add your butter 4 oz, or half a stick, at a time, until completely incorporated.  At this point, you can stop the mixer to scrape down the sides to get rid of any extra butter or unincorporated meringue that's hanging out.  Turn your mixer back on high and mix until it is soft and fluffy like Cool Whip.  The rule of the thumb I always go by is that when I think it's done, I whip it another ten minutes.  This buttercream should be very light, so whip it like it's paying you.  At the end of this process, at your vanilla and your sesame oil and whip until completely incorporated.

Take your mixing bowl off of your mixer and gently fold in your pulverized Sesame Brittle until consistent throughout.
TK Photography

Sesame Brittle
  • Sugar,Granulated: 3/4 C
  • Sesame Seeds, White: 1/2 C 
    • Toasted 
      • Put them on a parchment lined baking sheet at 325 until golden brown
  • Sea Salt: 1/4 t
  • Tools: Small Sauce Pan, Baking Sheet lined with parchment or silicon sheet.
Add 1/3 C of water and sugar to a small sauce pan.  Make sure all of your sugar is saturated with water (use our fingers or gently stir if it's just not happening on its own).  Cook your sugar on medium heat until it starts turning amber around the edges. Swirl GENTLY! (good God, I cannot emphasize gently enough) to get a consistent caramel color.  If you're using your candy thermometers, it will register around 320.

Remove your pan from the heat and quickly stir in your toasted sesame seeds and your salt.  Immediately pour your mixture onto your baking sheet and let it sit until it is completely cool.

Break your brittle up into several smaller pieces and place into your food processor.  Turn that baby on and let it run until your sesame is a grainy powder, more coarse than a rough corn meal.  You can store this for quite a while (about a week), but only if you keep it in a very dry, air tight container in a cool area.  If you don't have a food processor, or you're just wound a little tight, double bag your brittle in two seal-able large sandwich bags and beat it's will to be whole out of it with a rolling pin.  It'll work on a couple of levels, I assure you.

TK Photography

Now Try This!
Save some of your sesame brittle to use as a garnish, or use more toasted sesame seeds.

Recipes adapted from recipes from Bakewise by Shirley O. Corriher and Les Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home by Go (Google Affiliate Ad)\

All photographs by TK Photography.

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