How about a cupcake baking class? I had not but saw that Sur La Table (one of my favorite kitchen shops) was offering a class and had to go.
First step, find a friend who enjoyed cupcakes and learning as much as I do. Check-- I had my friend Shanda (of Pixel Soup Creative) at the mention of "cupcake".
So we signed up and went to the class (cost $69) in Kirkland on May 30th. The instructors name was Ed Kernan (on Twitter @sltcooks).
The description of the class was:
"From a casual meal to an elegant dinner, they're the perfect petite, sweet dessert. In this class our chef will share some special cupcake recipes designed to celebrate spring and show you how easy it is to craft these creative little crowd-pleasers."MENU:
- Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes
- Banana Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream
- One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Glaze
- Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream
Our ganache turned out amazing as well as the Vanilla Cream. Unfortunately a couple teams frosting didn't work out so we had a few cupcakes shy of the frosting. However, I always say "the frosting shouldn't have all the limelight".
The best part of the whole day of course was the sampling of all our hard work. My favorite was the Boston Cream Pie (no, not just cause we worked on them). See recipe below. It was a delicious day with some very fun people. Thanks Shanda for being my partner in (vanilla) cream.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for tins
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
3 ounces unsalted butter, at 65-68F, plus more for tins
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Vanilla Cream (recipe follows)
Chocolate-Ganache Glaze (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour standard muffin tins. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Warm milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat.
Beat eggs and sugar with a mixer on high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in dry ingredients.
Bring milk and butter to a boil. With mixer on low speed, add milk mixture to batter, and beat until smooth Add vanilla. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each halfway. Bake cupcakes until light gold, about 15 minutes. Let cool in tins for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks. Let cool.
Using a serrated knife, cut each in half horizontally. Spread 1 tablespoon vanilla cream on each cupcake bottom. Sandwich with top. Spoon glaze over each and serve immediately. (Note in the class we decided to inject the vanilla cream and roll the top of cupcake in the ganache. Either works well).
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whisk yolks until smooth. Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add milk in a slow, steady stream. Cook, stiffing until mixture begins to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes.
Pour 1/3 of milk mixture into yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thick 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
Pass vanilla cream through a fine sieve into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
Makes 1 1/2 cups.
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, and add chocolate and corn syrup. Let stand 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and let cool, stirring often. Use immediately.
Makes about 1 1/4 cups.