I love cupcakes. I love ice cream. So when I read about the 2011 Ice Cream Cupcake Contest sponsored by the Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious, I was enthralled.
When I first read about it on the Cupcake Project blog, mango sorbet immediately popped into my head. But what to go with it? I kicked around the idea of sort of a mango tres leches cupcake with a spicy ancho chile kick to it (I may still make these - they sound so good to me), but I’ve really been fascinated with Indian cooking lately, so I decided to let those flavors be my inspiration. Thinking about coconut rice pudding, masala chai tea and mango lassies conjured up A Taste of India Cupcakes with Mango Sorbet.
The second go at the cupcakes yielded more of the flavor I was looking for, but they were dry, dry, dry. Not even brushing them with a chai tea simple syrup could resurrect them. For quality control purposes, they went to the trash. I was beginning to feel defeat creeping in. The second round of buttercream kept that at bay though.
While lying in bed wide awake at some unholy hour, the idea popped into my head to use some melted mango sorbet in my buttercream. I wondered about the effect of replacing the milk in the recipe with the sorbet since there is no dairy in the sorbet. I compromised and added a couple of tablespoons of milk to the melted sorbet. Eureka!
But the contest deadline was looming and my cupcakes were still not to my satisfaction. Time for round three. I went back to the first recipe but reduced the amount of coconut. Then, instead of using a combination ground spices, I used a bag of Celestial Seasoning’s India Spice Chai. It worked.
|Sunny-side up cupcake?|
Coconut Chai Cupcakes
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsweetened, finely shredded, dried coconut
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 bag chai tea (I used Celestial Seasoning’s India Spice Chai)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup Greek-style yogurt
1/4 cup milk
Mango sorbet for assembly (I like Häagen Dazs)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake tins with paper or foil liners.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and dried coconut together in a large bowl. Set aside.
Combine one tablespoon of the sugar and the contents of the tea bag in a clean coffee/spice grinder and process until nearly powdered. Add to the remaining sugar.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about five minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the paddle and the bowl. Reduce the speed to medium and slowly drizzle in the beaten egg, no more than a tablespoon at a time, incorporating thoroughly after each addition. Stop and scrape the paddle and bowl about halfway through, and again after all of the egg is incorporated.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add one third of the flour mixture. Mix briefly, then add the yogurt. Add another third of the flour followed by the milk, then the remaining flour. Mix only until combined.
Use an ice cream scoop to portion into prepared pan(s). Bake 18 – 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Immediately remove the cupcakes from the pan to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely before icing with mango-saffron buttercream and topping with mango sorbet.
Makes approximately 18 cupcakes.
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
pinch of saffron (I used exactly 10 threads)
1/8 tsp turmeric
6 Tbs melted mango sorbet (melt, then measure)
2 Tbs milk
1 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbs heavy whipping cream, cold
1-1/4 cups unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
Combine one tablespoon of sugar, the saffron and the turmeric in a small bowl and grind with the back of a spoon (a mortar and pestle works much better if you have one) until the saffron is crushed.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar mixture with the remaining sugar, the melted mango sorbet and the milk. Heat on medium-low until the sugar is completely dissolved. Gradually sift in the flour while whisking and whisk vigorously until completely incorporated.
Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium-high speed until the bowl is cool to the touch. This may take up to 10 minutes, depending on the ambient temperature.
Makes approximately one quart.
Place the buttercream in a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. I like Wilton’s 1M cupcake icing tip, but Ateco 824 also works well. Pipe a border around the edge of the cupcake (plain or fancy - it's just to keep the ice cream contained), leaving space in the center for a small scoop of mango sorbet. Add the sorbet just before serving. You can also try piping some softened sorbet in the center, but that didn’t really work out so well for me.