Friday, October 3, 2008

Not Just an Antelope

A few years ago I was introduced to Amarula, a South African fruit-cream drink. I’m not a big drinker, but this stuff I liked. At the same time I was introduced to a shot called a Springbok (A Springbok is also a type of African Antelope), which is a combination of Amarula and Crème de Menthe. It was dangerously good. I used that shot as an inspiration for this cupcake, which has an Amarula cake base, and a mint whipped cream frosting. I made these cupcakes miniature because that struck me as being more like a shot.

My original plan for these cupcakes was to frost them with a white chocolate / crème de menthe mousse. I tried two different methods for making this, and both of them curdled promptly. Something about combining the crème de menthe and the whipped cream did not go well. I eventually just settled on the whipped cream. If anyone knows what happened to my mousse, I would be happy to learn.

I based the cake on the Yellow Butter Cake recipe from CakeLove by Warren Brown. That of course meant that it was back to scales for measuring out my ingredients. I also cut the recipe in the book in half, which I have done here as well.

People really liked these cupcakes. The Amarula flavor was a lot stronger in the batter than it was in the final cupcakes, but it still added a nice subtlety to the final product.

Amarula Mini-Cupcakes

Makes ~44

3 ½ oz. AP flour (1/2 cups + 2 T)
1 oz. Potato Starch
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup + 1 T Amarula
1 T Vanilla Extract
3 oz. (6 T) unsalted butter, softened 7
oz. Superfine Sugar (3/4 cups + 1 Tbs)
2 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, potato starch, baking powder and salt, and set aside. In a small bowl or cup whisk together the Amarula and vanilla and set aside.

2. Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. Cream together at low speed for 5 minutes, scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by ½ of the Amarula, continue alternating between the two until both are fully added, ending with the flour. Do NOT wait until each addition is completely mixed to add the next amount. Once everything is added beat on medium speed for 1 minute to combine. At this point, if you let the batter sit, it may look like it’s separating, just fold it with a spatula if/when this happens

4. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely

Mint Whipped Cream

2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
½ tsp peppermint extract
Green food coloring

1. In a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the whipped cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar, peppermint extract, and green food coloring, and beat until stiff peaks form.

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