Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Hostess With The Mostest

Oh boy, busy busy month February is. I think every weekend this month, I've been busy with something. Today is the first day I've had some down time in awhile so I'm trying to use this as an opportunity to get some much needed work done, including this blog.

I do have some news, but I can't decide if it's good or bad yet. I recently met with an admissions adviser at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in San Francisco about possibly enrolling in their merchandise marketing program. I know, crazy, huh? And for those who have known me for at least the past few years, I'm just as shocked as you are. The adviser was very helpful and very well informed, but with all the information to digest, I left the building semi-nauseated by it all. Long story short, I think the program sounds excellent and the support and networking the school offers to their students is very desirable but I'll have to think about each pro and con thoroughly. And on top of all of that, if I want to pay the current tuition before the increase, I have to be accepted into the school by May 1st. No pressure, right?

Anyway... can you guess where I got the inspiration for these cupcakes? This might sound cheesy (but admittedly, probably not more than the title for this post), but I got the idea for these after I opened up my pantry and saw a box of the familiar chocolate cupcakes with the white squiggle on top and the overly sweet cream centers. And, fun fact: the "cream" used to fill the cupcakes is actually made with Crisco, not real cream. Yum. My version of the famous sweet treat is filled with vanilla mousse and raspberry preserves. A pretty tasty combination when combined with the rich chocolate cake and chocolate ganache on top, if I do say so myself. 

The Ingredients (makes about 2 dozen):
For the cupcakes:
-recipe can be found here
For the filling:
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-2/3 cup sugar
-2 egg whites
-1 cup heavy cream
- raspberry preserves
For the frosting:
-3 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
-1 cup heavy cream
-1 1/2 tbsp corn starch

The Directions:
1. Start with the filling first. Whip the heavy cream, vanilla and half of the sugar until soft peaks form. Set aside.
2. Beat the egg whites until foamy. Then add the rest of the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
3. Carefully fold the egg mixture into the whipped cream until combined. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours to allow the mousse to firm up (I made this the night before making the cupcakes).
4. Bake the cupcakes as directed.
5. Once the cupcakes are cool, core out the middle, being careful to keep the cores intact as you will need them to close up the hole later. Set aside.
6. Put a layer of raspberry preserves into each cupcake and follow with a spoonful of vanilla mousse. Replace the tops of the cupcakes to prepare for the ganache frosting.
7. Dissolve the corn starch into the heavy cream first to avoid clumping. Then, in a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and heavy cream together and stir until smooth.
8. Apply a layer of the ganache on top of each cupcake and allow to cool completely before serving or decorating.
9. Consume and enjoy!

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