Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cupcake Hero: Honey

I've always thought that if I one day get the chance to choose the theme ingredient for a cupcake competition I'd pick honey. This month I Dream In Buttercream beat me to the punch by selecting honey as the ingredient for October's Cupcake Hero competition. I was so excited when I saw that because I already have a top-notch honey cupcake ready to enter!

This has turned out to be a good thing because in addition to Cupcake Hero I'm working on cupcakes for The Sweetest Kitchen's Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge, suitable cupcakes for my mom's book club meeting, and am tentatively considering entering a pumpkin- and Halloween-themed local cupcake competition at the end of the month. While I'd ordinarily call myself a slacker for recycling a cupcake creation and entering it in a second contest, I know I have never come up with a tastier cupcake than the Nutella peanut baklava cupcakes I entered in a local Iron Cupcake challenge earlier this year. I put my heart and soul into those cupcakes, subjected my co-workers/taste testers to numerous test batches, and invented and perfected my very own whipped honey buttercream recipe that is melt-in-your-mouth good. I even slaved away the day before making little marzipan bees with almond sliver wings to spruce them up. Which is probably why I was so disappointed when I only got second place. :(

I'm happy to present (again) my Nutella Peanut Baklava Cupcakes with Whipped Honey Buttercream. Yes, there are a lot of steps but the end result is so very worth it. If I was able to make five batches of these in less than four weeks I'm sure you can find the time to do it at least once.

The cupcakes begin with a crispy phyllo dough base layered with melted honey and butter with a dusting of Nutella to give it a little bee-like stripe. I discarded the traditional baklava filling of pistachios for a peanut and almond combination, something I think will appeal to a wider audience and works really well with the honey. Inside each cupcake I nestled a dollop of chopped nuts mixed with ooey, gooey honey. On top I piped some heavenly whipped honey buttercream from my own recipe in the shape of a little beehive and adorned each with a marzipan bee. Obviously the bees are totally optional although I have to say the almond flavor of the garnish does at least tie in with the nut filling.

If nothing else you should give the honey buttercream recipe a try. I think it would pair well with a variety of cake flavors or use it to spruce up some plain old vanilla cake.

Nutella Peanut Baklava Cupcakes With Whipped Honey Buttercream
Printable version here

For the Base:
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
1 Tablespoon Honey
6 teaspoons Nutella
1 package Phyllo Dough, Thawed (You Will Use 5 Sheets)

For the Honey Nut Mixture:
⅔ cups Chopped Salted Peanuts
⅓ cups Chopped Almonds (Blanched or Without Skins)
¼ teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
3 Tablespoons Honey (Heaping Tablespoons)

For the Cake:
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1-⅔ cup All-purpose Flour
1-¼ teaspoon Baking Powder
¼ teaspoons Ground Nutmeg
½ teaspoons Salt
6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
⅔ cups Milk, At Room Temperature
1-½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 whole Large Eggs
Additional Honey For Filling Cupcakes

For the Honey Buttercream:
½ cups Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
4 Tablespoons Honey
2-3 cups Powdered Sugar
1 Tablespoon Heavy Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with 16 liners.

For crispy phyllo dough base:
In a small bowl, combine butter and honey. Microwave 30 seconds and stir. Continue to heat in the microwave in 10-second increments until butter is completely melted. Stir well to combine. In another small bowl, microwave Nutella for 35 seconds until it’s warm and spreadable.

Carefully unroll thawed phyllo dough onto a dry, smooth surface. Place one sheet of dough on a cutting board or baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, evenly coat dough with the honey butter mixture and cover with a second layer of phyllo dough. Again brush evenly with the honey mixture. Add a third sheet of phyllo dough and dab/spread Nutella as evenly as possible, trying to cover all areas. Repeat with a fourth sheet of phyllo dough and Nutella. Cover with a fifth sheet of phyllo dough. Using a sharp knife, cut phyllo dough into 2.25-inch squares. Discard any remnants. Place one square in the bottom of each liner and bake for 4 minutes until edges become crisp. Remove from oven and set aside.

For honey nut mixture:
Combine peanuts, almonds, and cinnamon and mix well. Add tablespoons of honey and stir to completely coat the nut mixture. Set aside.

For cake:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Add the butter and beat with an electric mixer at low speed, until the mixture looks sandy.

Combine the milk and vanilla and add, all at once. Mix at low speed for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds. Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl.

With the mixer running at low speed, add 1 egg. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds. Add the second egg, again beating for 30 seconds.

Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and beat briefly, just until smooth.

Add a small scoop of batter (about 1 ½ Tablespoons) to each cupcake liner. Top each with a heaping teaspoon of the honey nut mixture. Then add a final scoop of batter to fill liners ¾ full.

Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating once halfway through. Cupcakes are done when they’ve domed, are a light golden brown around the edges, and spring back when pressed gently on top. Let cool in pan approximately five minutes and transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Using the cone method for filling cupcakes, cut a small cone out of the top of each cupcake (stop cutting when you hit the nut mixture inside) and set aside. Squeeze/spoon a dollop of honey into each well, filling it to the top. Let the cupcakes sit approximately five minutes so the honey can seep into the cake. Replace each cake cone.

For whipped honey buttercream:
In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together butter and honey for 2 minutes.

Add 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Begin with mixer on low speed until sugar is incorporated, then increase speed to medium and beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.

Add another cup of powdered sugar, again mixing on low speed to incorporate.

Add heavy cream at low speed. Increase speed to medium and mix about 2 minutes until frosting is smooth.

You may need to add additional powdered sugar as needed for desired consistency.

PhotobucketMake it Yours @ My Backyard Eden


C&C Cakery said...

Oh my gosh - that sure is one amazing cupcake. There's a lot going on in there - but you honestly had me at the word "Baklava". The crunch of the phyllo dough would leave everyone with a bit of a surprise, I bet! Good luck in Cupcake Hero! I'm sure you'll do well!

Sugary Flower said...

These sound really yummy - good luck!

Amnah said...

Oh my goodness, I NEED to try this out!

Bake Up, Little Suzy said...

Wow -- these look fantastic. I wish I could say I had the patience to try it. :D

~Bake Up, Little Suzy @ Galley Kitchen

Jacqueline said...

Hopping over from Cupcake Tuesday - who could have possibly beat you out on this fantastic recipe! The judges must have been bribed - just kidding! The ingredients have me salivating. I can't wait to try the frosting. That little bee wins my heart too, he is soooo cute.

Creative Cupcake Recipes said...

This recipes looks amazinging delicious.

Ashlee Marie said...

ADORABLE! I made a beehive cake and used bee's just like this one! These sound amazing! I can't wait to try this honey buttercream. Thanks for linking up to Topsy Turvy Tuesday's!

Bella @ Bella before and after said...

Hey girl, I loved these when I saw them the first time. How can you go wrong with the ingredients you choose. Hello!!! THANK YOU so much for linking up at **Amaze me AUgust**, just wanted to let you know I couldn't help FEATURING you today, these little guys look to darn good. Thanks again, Bella :)