Blog-checking lines: For the July Daring Baker’s Challenge, Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to bake a cake. But not just any cake; she asked us to add in a special surprise for our eyes as well as our taste buds!
Surprise Inside Cupcake:
I’ve made surprise-inside cakes a couple of times now, one a pound cake with a heart inside and one a puzzle cake.
For this month’s challenge, I initially thought that I would be a little more health-conscious and make a whole wheat banana bread with a chocolate star in the middle. I’m sorry to say that the banana made the chocolate star cake so soft that the weight of the plain banana bread crushed it and I ended up with a chocolate blob in the middle of my bread. This was an unhappy surprise in the middle for me! My husband happily disposed of the evidence and I moved on to try something easier, a surprise inside cupcake. Most surprise inside cupcakes have hearts inside, but then you have to know which direction to bite into it in order to see the surprise. I decided to keep it simple and instead put a sprinkle cupcake inside of a chocolate cupcake. This came out looking much better than the banana bread, but I wasn’t really happy with the texture of the cake recipes I chose. So, I will be sharing the technique for a surprise inside cupcake, but not the recipes that I used.
To make this surprise inside cupcake, first make a single-layer recipe of yellow cake with sprinkles in it and bake that in mini muffin tins. Once those have baked and cooled, make a chocolate batter. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of batter in the bottom of the cupcake papers. Place a mini cupcake on top of that. Drop a scant tablespoon of batter on top of the mini cupcake and encourage it to ooze down over the mini cupcake. It’s important not to put too much batter in the cupcake or it will create a flat top that spreads over the cupcake tin. Trust me. My mini cupcakes were quite domed, so I didn’t need much batter at all to fill the cakes. Bake the cupcakes for about 5-10 minutes less than usual until the edges seem set. Cool, frost and decorate as you please!
The contrast of the sprinkle batter and the chocolate batter was really good. They did surprise/confuse people (I sent them to my husband’s work). At first, some people thought that there was batter in the middle that I hadn’t stirred enough! Anyway, this was fun to do and I would do it again, but with different recipes.
This month’s We Should Cocoa Challenge is being hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary and the theme is chocolate ice cream and toppings. The We Should Cocoa Challenge, managed by Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog, is a great excuse to make a chocolate treat and to use our creativity. The idea is to make something with chocolate each month. We can use any sort of chocolate or cocoa substance and use any ingredient that we like, but we must include the special ingredient or theme selected by the host.
For my entry, I decided to create a mint cookie frozen yogurt similar to one that showed up as a special monthly flavor at my local yogurt shop in May. The unusual thing about that frozen yogurt was that the base itself was flavored like cookies. To accomplish this, I blended whole milk with 1/2 a package of mint fudge cookies and let the cookies infuse the milk with the cookie flavor. I then turned this flavored milk into a pudding (which was a fabulous dessert all by itself), mixed it with Greek Yogurt and processed it in my ice cream machine. I crushed the remainder of the cookies and mixed those into the frozen yogurt. I was really happy with the flavor and texture of the frozen yogurt. While I like tang in my yogurt when I’m eating it with fruit in the morning, I don’t care for that tang in homemade frozen yogurt as much. Adding the custard to the yogurt really tamed the tang and helped create a more ice-cream like product. The mint cookie flavor really came through too, yum!
Mint Cookie flavored frozen yogurt mixed with crumbled mint cookies
2 cups (16oz/453.5g) whole milk
1 package (10 oz/283.5g) mint fudge cookies, divided (I used Keebler Grasshopper Fudge Cookies)
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
¾ cup (5.25oz/149g) sugar, divided
pinch of salt
2 Cups (16oz/453.5g) full fat Greek Yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
In a blender, blend the milk and ½ a package of mint cookies until smooth. Let this mixture sit at room temperature for at least an hour to infuse the milk with the cookie flavor.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together ¼ cup of the sugar, a pinch of salt, the vanilla and the Greek yogurt. Cover and chill.
Pour the milk through a sieve to strain out any large cookie chunks. Whisk ¼ cup of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth. Combine this slurry with the remainder of the milk and ½ cup of the sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring continuously, until the milk begins to boil and thickens into a pudding consistency. Remove the pan from the heat and pour into a cool bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the warm pudding so that it doesn't form a skin while cooling.
When the pudding has cooled to room temperature, fold it gently into the yogurt mixture and then chill it thoroughly.
Chop the remaining cookies and place them in the refrigerator or freezer to chill.
Process the yogurt mixture in an ice cream maker per the manufacturer's instructions. Mine took about 20 minutes to freeze. Fold in the cookie chunks and move it to a chilled container in the freezer to set up for an additional 4 hours before serving.