Thursday, 6 December 2007

Rose cupcakes with white chocolate frosting

I am beaming with pride as I write this post because I am quite pleased with my efforts today. Although I didn't get around to my list of things to do before Christmas arrives, I manufactured what I consider perfect little cupcakes.

The inspiration for my almond-rose cupcakes with white chocolate frosting came a couple of weeks ago when I sampled a very good rose syrup by Mymouné which unlike most commercially available has a natural flavour and light cloudy pink hue. Although I love the heady perfume of roses and find the idea of using it in cooking very romantic, I have often considered it a very difficult flavouring to incorporate in recipes because it isn't a very versatile or culture-neutral ingredient. Also determining the right amount to use can be rather tricky.

For my cupcakes I used dried rosebuds which are not unlike those you find in little pouches of potpourri for your drawer but these are organic and not treated with nasty chemicals (I purchased mine from Simon Johnson in Subiaco) and may too be used in a tisane, spice blend (such as ras-el-hanout) or a syrup infusion if you so choose. I find dried rosebuds and petals are a better alternative to rose syrup because you get the essence of the flowers without the added sweetness so you can simply add them finely crumbled or ground to your favourite cake recipe without having to adjust the quantity of sugar accordingly.

The essence of rose, sweet and floral like vanilla, has an affinity for ingredients with a high percentage of fat like cream, butter, milk and nuts like almonds and pistachios so it is not uncommon to find it combined with one or more such ingredients in desserts. Here, I have paired it with ground almonds in a cake with a toothsome and moist crumb. The recipe is as follows.

Rose cupcakes
250g soft unsalted butter
185g ground almonds
300g sugar
4 eggs, separated
80g flour
20g dried rose buds
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
(makes 16 cupcakes)
preheat oven to 180C and line a cupcake tin with paper liners
pulse rose buds and ground almond in a food processor until a fine.
whip egg whites and gradually add 50g sugar until a shiny and stiff meringue is achieved. Set aside
beat butter, sugar and vanilla paste until pale and creamy
add an egg yolk at a time, beating well between yolks (about 20 seconds between each)
mix in almond and rose powder (mixture will be very stiff at this point but don't worry!)
fold a third of the meringue through the mixture above to "loosen" it a tad then continue to fold in the rest of the meringue.
scoop into paper liner 2/3 full (Note: I used an spring release ice-cream scoop to make the job of portion control easier)
bake for 25 minutes or until no crumbs are attached to a toothpick when inserted into the middle of a cupcake.
cool completely before frosting

White chocolate frosting
200g white chocolate (I used Callebaut drops)
100ml whipping cream
250g Philly cheese
heat cream in a small pan (do not boil!)
beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy
add hot cream to white chocolate and allow to sit for a couple of minutes before stirring to achieve a smooth and homogenous consistency
mix chocolate and cream cheese and continue to beat. If mixture is too soft at this stage, refrigerate for an hour and beat to achieve a fluffy consistency.
top completely each cooled cupcake with an elegant swirl of white chocolate frosting and a little rosebud (sprinkle with roughly chopped toasted pistachios if you so desire).

1 comment:

Joy Argow said...

Looks awesome.. I'm gonna give the frosting a shot...