Today I ring in the big 3-1. No longer am I merely 30, but I am in my 30’s. So weird, especially since I still don’t really feel too much like a grown up ;-) And as I like to do every year, I baked something new and different to celebrate with. It sort of reminds me of being a kid when you’d bring treats to school to share with the class on your birthday (did anyone else do this?). This is me bringing treats in for the class and sharing with all of you :) Since today I am en route to a Florida vacation with my Chief Culinary Consultant (woo!), I baked up my birthday treat earlier this week. Almost without fail, I always make some sort of cheesecake for my birthday (the Oreo Cheesecake and Peanut Butter-Fudge Cheesecake being my favorites), but this year I decided to try something different, and wow! So glad I did!
Next to cheesecake, tiramisu is one of my all-time favorite desserts. When I was younger, if I wasn’t going to the Olive Garden for the Andes mints, I was going for the tiramisu. I first made a homemade tiramisu a few years ago, and I was totally hooked. I don’t make it very often (it’s such a decadent/special occasion type of dessert), but when I saw these cupcakes I thought they were the perfect way to get the tiramisu flavor I love without making an entire pan. Plus, everyone loves cupcakes nowadays, right?? And now I am on an official boozy cupcake kick!
These cupcakes are absolutely, insanely delicious and really taste just like tiramisu! I was wondering how much the authentic flavor would come through, but it totally does. The vanilla bean cakes are brushed over and over, and over, with an espresso and marsala wine mixture so that it soaks through the cupcake. Then they’re topped with a mascarpone cheese frosting and dusted with cocoa powder. Happy birthday to me, for sure!
For the Cupcakes:
- 1¼ cups (156.25 g) cake flour, not self-rising, sifted
- ¾ teaspoon (0.75 teaspoon) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) coarse salt
- ¼ cup (61 ml) milk
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 3 whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
For the Coffee-Marsala Syrup:
- ⅓ cup (79 ml) plus 1 tablespoon freshly brewed very strong coffee, or espresso
- 1 ounce (28.35 ml) marsala wine
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
For the Mascarpone Frosting:
- 1 cup (238 ml) heavy cream
- 8 ounces (226.8 g) mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup (60 g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
- 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Heat milk and vanilla-bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter until melted, and let stand 15 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, and discard vanilla-bean pod.
- 2. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar. Set mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when whisk is lifted.
- 3. Gently but thoroughly fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches; stir ½ cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.
- 4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until centers are completely set and edges are light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.
- 5. Make the syrup: Stir together coffee, marsala, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.
- 6. Brush tops of cupcakes evenly with coffee-marsala syrup; repeat until all syrup has been used. Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid 30 minutes.
- 7. Make frosting: With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy). In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Use immediately.
- 8. To finish, Dollop frosting onto cupcakes; refrigerate up to overnight in airtight containers. Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving.