I don’t have many cravings while pregnant; certainly nothing unusual like pickles with peanut butter. But, come to think of it, I have been eating a serious excess of egg sandwiches and Boston Creme donuts. In fact, I can’t seem to walk past the donut rack at my grocery store, without throwing one of those chocolate-glazed, custard-filled treats into my cart. They’re irresistible to me. I suppose my cravings could be weirder, right??
Earlier this week, I made Quadruple Berry Muffins to satisfy my ever-growing pregnant belly. These cupcakes, on the other hand, are going straight to my thighs! But that’s not enough to stop me from over-indulging in their sweet, creamy, chocolatey goodness. In fact, I’ll almost certainly eat way too many of these cupcakes and then blush with shame as I sheepishly step onto the scale during my next prenatal visit. It’s worth it though. I have no regrets.
As a lifelong, diehard chocoholic, I very rarely make vanilla cake. As such, I do not have a favorite, tried and true vanilla cake recipe to turn to. So, in need of a basic, homemade vanilla cake recipe, I turned to Martha Stewart, a reliable source for baking tips and recipes. I was looking for something simple with uncomplicated vanilla flavor, and Martha’s recipe fit the bill.
But…to be completely honest, I am not in love. This will not be my go-to recipe for vanilla cake. And the next time I make these Boston Creme Cupcakes, I will almost certainly adjust the vanilla cupcake portion of the recipe. The flavor is delicious, but the cakes are somewhat dense; not the light, spongey cake I was hoping for. I suspect that the solution may be as simple as separating the eggs in the recipe, whipping the egg whites until firm, then folding the whipped egg whites into the batter at the very end. The proof will need to wait until my next vanilla cake baking endeavor. In the mean time, the vanilla cupcake recipe which follows (or your own personal favorite vanilla cake recipe) will do the trick!
Boston Creme Cupcakes
For the Vanilla Cupcakes (From Martha Stewart’s Vanilla Cupcakes)
- 3 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups milk
For the Vanilla Pastry Creme
- 2 cups milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 egg yolks
- 4 Tablespoons cornstarch
- Pinch of Salt
For the Chocolate Ganache
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Sprinkles and/or marashino cherries, for garnish
For the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cupcake tins with liners. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Beat in the vanilla. Gradually stir in the flour mixture and milk, alternating about a third at a time, until well blended. Fill each cupcake liner with about 1/4 cup of the batter. Bake for about 25 minutes. Cool completely.
For the Pastry Cream: Bring the milk, vanilla, and about half of the sugar to a simmer over medium heat, whisking frequently so that the sugar dissolves. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining sugar. Whisk in the cornstarch, one tablespoon at a time until well blended. Stir in the salt. Gradually whisk about 1 cup of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, starting with a slow drizzle. (Gradually incorporating the hot milk into egg yolks tempers the eggs, allowing them to slowly rise in temperature without scrambling.) Gradually whisk the egg mixture into the remaining hot milk in the pot. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, whisking constantly for about 3-4 minutes, until thickened and smooth. Transfer the hot mixture to a bowl and press plastic wrap directly against the cream (to prevent a skin from forming). Cool completely in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before using.
For the Ganache: Heat the cream, just to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Stir until smooth.
To Assemble the Cupcakes: Use a butter knife to dig a narrow trench into the center of the cupcakes, almost to the bottom of each cake. Transfer the pastry cream to a pastry bag and fill each trench with cream. Dip the tops of the cupcakes into the warm ganache. Garnish with sprinkles and/or a cherry. Refrigerate to set the ganache and keep the pastry cream fresh.
Makes 24 Cupcakes