I’m so lucky to work alongside such talented chefs and assistants at The Chopping Block. They give me inspiration, motivate me and teach me new things (culinary and otherwise). We are truly a team and all work together to ensure we’re providing our students with the very best experience and recipes.
When it comes to new baking and pastry classes, the recipes very often need to be tested to ensure the quality and yields all align. The Chopping Block's chef and pastry chef, Erin Patsiopoulos, is the mastermind behind all of our intensive baking and pastry classes for good reason. With a Baking and Pastry degree, a Master of Science in Chemistry, and years of experience as an executive pastry chef, it’s no wonder why she creates the curriculum and recipes for classes such as Artisanal Breads Boot Camp, Cupcake Boot Camp and Pie and Tart Boot Camp, just to name a few.
Our curriculum team works many months in advance so when we’re transitioning into a new season, our menus and recipes are ready for their debut. So, in the height of summer, Erin was hard at work creating and testing several recipes at home, and on one particular day she made (with the help of her son) cupcakes for our new ever-so-popular Cupcake Boot Camp course. Because each batch yields a dozen, Erin had way too many cupcakes at home so she generously packed them up and brought them to TCB for us to try. Thank you, Erin!
I will never forget my first bite of her Tiramisu Cupcake. It was as light and fluffy as a cloud, and even though there were many elements to the cupcake (the cake, a coffee simple syrup for soaking, a filling and a frosting), I was able to taste each and every flavor. I knew immediately that I needed more, and I set out to make a batch so I could stuff my face with cupcakes in the privacy of my own home.
Like I mention before, there are several elements to this one cupcake but they all work together in harmony to produce a magical experience, so don’t skip any of the steps. When you’re ready for a baking and pastry adventure, you must make these delightful treats.
Here are the four steps to making these cupcakes:
- The first step is to prepare and bake the cakes. The recipe follows a standard cake method technique. What does this mean, you ask? It’s when the butter and sugar are creamed together until light and fluffy, and then the wet and dry ingredients are added alternately in 5 additions.
- The second step is to prepare the espresso syrup, because all good tiramisu has to have coffee! The coffee syrup is very similar to making a simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar brought to a boil and then cooled), but with the addition of instant espresso.
- The third step is to prepare the mascarpone-marsala filling. This is just one of many reasons why these cupcakes are so heavenly. When you take a bite and your teeth sink into the fluffy and light filling, it transports you to another place. The filling is comprised of beating together mascarpone (a fresh Italian cheese), cream cheese, sugar and sweet (not dry) marsala. Heavy cream is then added and whipped until thick. Keep in the fridge until ready to assemble. You can even make the filling a day ahead of time.
- The last step is to prepare the vanilla buttercream. This is the nostalgic buttercream we all grew up with, it’s a combination of butter and powdered sugar in its simplest form. In our recipe, we add vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract can also be used), a touch of salt because every sweet needs a salt, and a splash of heavy cream to get the perfect texture.
Now it’s time for the assembly, which was my favorite part of the process. To see the cupcakes finally come together and take shape was joyous because it meant they were almost ready to enjoy.
- The first step is to create a cavity in the cooled cupcake for the espresso syrup and filling. In order to do this, I used a paring knife to cut holes in the middle of each cupcake, but a small spoon will also do the trick.
- The next step is to soak the inside of the cupcakes with the espresso syrup. I used a small spoon to pour in roughly 1 teaspoon, but you can alternatively pour the syrup into a measuring cup and distribute with the pouring spout. FYI, my syrup got a bit too bubbly because I left it on the stove for too long, but it had absolutely no negative effect on the end result.
- Now it’s time to fill the cupcakes! The easiest way to get the filling inside is by using a piping bag. You can either purchase a roll of plastic, disposable piping bags or cut the end off a Ziploc bag. Transfer the filling to the bag and pipe until the cupcakes are full.
- The very last step is to frost the cupcakes. I used a piping bag but you can use a butter knife to spread the buttercream onto the cupcakes for an organic look.
- Dust the tops with cocoa powder, and you can finally sink your teeth into these epic treats!
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Yield: 12 cupcakes
Active time: 25 minutes
Start to finish: 45 minutes
For the cupcakes:
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (5 oz) whole milk, room temperature
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large egg whites, room temperature
For the espresso syrup:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso
1/4 cup cocoa powder for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350° and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
- In a small bowl, combine the milk, grapeseed oil and extracts and set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, measure together the flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, measure together the butter and sugar and cream until very light and fluffy using an electric mixer, about 5 minutes.
- Add the egg whites, one at a time, to the butter mixture while mixing on low speed and let fully combine after each addition before adding the next.
- Add in 1/3 of your dry ingredients to the egg-butter mixture and mix on low until just combined. Then add in 1/2 of your liquids, then dry, then liquids and the rest of your dry. Mix until just combined.
- Using a 2-ounce portion scoop, divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center to the cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Allow to cool.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, combine the granulated sugar, water and instant espresso in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves. Cool to room temperature.
- Using a small scoop, remove the center of the cupcakes, then use a pastry brush to soak the cavity with the cooled espresso syrup. Fill each cupcake with the Mascarpone Filling (recipe follows).
- Pipe or spread Vanilla Buttercream (recipe follows) over the top of each cupcake and lightly sift cocoa powder over the top to garnish.
Yield: 3 cups
Active time: 10 minutes
Start to finish: 10 minutes
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons marsala wine
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) heavy cream
- Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese on low speed until very smooth; scrape the bowl frequently to make sure that there are no lumps. Add the sugar and continue mixing on low to combine. Add the marsala and continue to beat slowly until just combined.
- Add the heavy cream and beat on medium-high speed until very thick. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Vanilla Bean Buttercream
Yield: 3 cups
Active time: 10 minutes
Start to finish: 10 minutes
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Pinch fine sea salt
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the 2 cups of the powdered sugar gradually, 1 cup at time. Add the vanilla bean paste and salt and beat to combine.
- Use the heavy cream to adjust the frosting to the desired consistency. Beat on high speed until very light and fluffy. Cover and store at room temperature until ready to use.
Did I mention that this is just one of four cupcakes you’ll be making in Cupcake Boot Camp? Here’s the complete menu (I won’t tell anyone if you start drooling):
- Caramel Apple Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream and Salty Caramel Drizzle
- Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ganache Filling and Peanut Butter Buttercream
- Tiramisu Cupcakes with Mascarpone Filling and Vanilla Buttercream
- Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting and Toasted Marshmallows
Thanks to Erin and her savvy baking and pastry expertise, I have learned so many new and delicious recipes that my friends and family have enjoyed. Don’t miss your opportunity to join us for our new Cupcake Boot Camp course on Saturday, October 29th at 10am. Sign up here!