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Farewell Asia Cupcakes

A few weeks back I found a recipe that included an interesting combination of ingredients to say the least: chocolate and wasabi, and since I am departing from a four and a half year stay in Asia, I figured now is a perfect time to give this recipe a whirl as it combines flavors that allow me to reminisce of my stay here. Being that I am a pretty daring eater and will try just about anything at least once, I became very intrigued. The best part was that the combination of ingredients took place in the form of a cupcake. These might actually be my last batch of cupcakes for quite some time, so I took an extra long time to make them. I had a feeling these cupcakes were going to turn out really good or really bad.

I started off by following the recipe exactly as posted since I am still learning the science involved in creating a fantastic cupcake. When I got to the adding wasabi part, I added the one tablespoon like mentioned and tasted nothing. I added one more and still no hint of wasabi. I mean if I was going to experiment with these flavors I wanted it to be known. So I continued to add tablespoon by tablespoon until I looked into my packet of wasabi powder and realized that there was only a little left so I just dumped it all in. Since I made it into a paste first, as a means to kick up the heat, before adding it to the batter, it became a little difficult to mix it all into the batter evenly. So basically all I am saying is watch out when you bite into one of these babies because you might get a mini wasabi ball!

Usually I can’t wait for the smell of a batch of cupcakes to fill up my house, but there is something about the smell of cooking wasabi that is not very desirable. But it could just be that I had my fair share of wasabi as I tasted for heat while preparing the batter… who knows. While they were cooling I prepared the ginger butter cream icing which turned out to be amazing! I couldn’t wait any longer and had to break into one. As they cooled I noticed that all of the cupcakes sunk in the middle and appeared as if someone had put their fist in the center of them. I have never had that happen following any of the recipes from love and olive oil, but I am going to give the credit to the excessive amount of wasabi and the slight level of intoxication that existed while making these. I had plans to bring these to work to share but I am not sure if I can due to their utterly unappetizing appearance. As far as the taste, the first bite was delicious but as I continued to try more of the cupcake the amount of wasabi became a little too much. I agreed to stay away until the morning and try again before sharing with others. When I tried them again in the morning I was pleasantly surprised, I think all of the flavors had time to cool properly and blend together as they tasted delicious with only a trace hint of wasabi. But I do know that somewhere in the middle of my cake, (as I ran out of cupcake liners midway so I put the rest in an 8x8 pan) someone will get a nice little surprise of fire. Happy eating!

Black Pearl Cupcakes
Recipe from:
Makes 12 cupcakes.

1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1-2 tablespoons wasabi powder (to taste)

For Frosting:
1/2 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons soy creamer or heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground ginger, or to taste
Black sesame seeds, for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

2. Whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract until incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, and wasabi. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in coconut milk mixture. Stir until just smooth (do not overmix). Take a quick taste of the batter, and add more wasabi if you feel it is needed.

3. Pour into liners, filling each with 3 tablespoons of batter (cups should be no more than 2/3 full). Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

4. For frosting, cream butter until smooth and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup powdered sugar and beat until combined. Mix in vanilla, ginger, and cream. Continue adding sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition (depending on the temperature of your butter, you may need more or less sugar/cream to achieve the proper consistency). Continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and enjoy!

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