I shake my fists at the snow outside my window. It is the second week of April now and parts of Toronto is still covered with snow, aka my backyard. Well, it's a bit warmer today, but even a few days ago we had 5-10 cm of snow in some areas of the GTA. 5-10 cm of snow!! Is that ridiculousness or what? Canada is of course known for its snowy nature, but this is just plain embarrassing. The weather has been so wonky lately it's hard to keep track: warm one day then snow the other. Lots and lots of people are getting sick because of the strange weather, so my fellow Torontonians, please take care and dress warm!! :D
Okay so that's my grumpy introduction to my Malt Ball cupcakes. Malt balls. Did that just catch your attention or what? I'm surprised at how many people are excited about malt balls, because I for one am tremendously excited about them. I think my favorite candy/chocolate from a variety store would be Maltesers (or Whoppers, for Americans). They've got such a uniquely delightful texture and flavor, none like any other chocolate on the stand. So when I realized that I should make a cupcake with Maltesers, I gave myself a huge pat on the back. Of course, it's been done before and I found several recipes online, but I was really excited about the chocolatey malty cupcake I would be creating.
I decided to use the recipe from the Food and Wine website where they got the recipe from a bakery in Brooklyn called Baked. I've seen their cookbook (very well designed) and also on DesignSponge. Their baked goodies look so terrific and they've gotten great reviews too. Their malt ball cake is quite famous too so I thought it was a very safe bet to try out their recipe.
I also researched a lot about the Malted Milk Powder. There seems to be this huge discussion online about the RIGHT malted milk powder. People are pretty passionate about this! There are different brands available in Toronto (T&T the chinese supermarket has lots) so I was confused as to which one I should get. I think I read somewhere that this recipe said I should use Ovaltine, so I did. But I found that whether because the Ovaltine Brand sucked or there wasn't enough malted milk powder in the recipe, there was noo hint of Malty taste in the cupcakes. I want malty! I want malty!
This is the deal. I think I must've done something terribly wrong, because these cupcakes SUCKED. The cake was not at all like how everyone described it. It's supposed to be soft and fluffy and falling off the liner, but mine? It was rubbery, soggy and tough. I had to throw half of them away because even if I kept it a lot longer in the oven, the batter was not cooking and it was doughy inside. It was so under baked that I was so worried about feeding them to my friends. Yuck!!! And again, where's the malted milk powder taste? Hmm? Where did it go so wrong? Luckily the second half was a bit better and I was able to still get them to a birthday celebration.
Oh, but have we talked about the frosting? The frosting is, pause, EXCELLENT. It's smooth and shiny and chocolately and not-too-sweet. Folks are always complaining on the sweetness of a cupcake (which, I know, sucks but, is part of the cupcake experience, no?) It was my first time trying a ganache base frosting, and it was very very very great. I've found a perfect recipe for chocolate non-buttercream frosting so I am very very happy. I would just eat all the frosting off the failed cupcakes, but that's not good for my body fat percentage. Haha.
So. Bah! at failed cupcakes, and Humbug! at wasted food... but Yay! for a great ganache frosting and Woohoo! at cupcakes anyway. I hope someone tries it and lets me know how it turns out for them. But I'm not giving up on Malteser Cupcakes, don't you worry. I will get it right, if it's the last thing I do!!! (Oh the drama queen side of mine...)
Malt Ball Cupcakes
about 3 dozen
2 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup malted-milk powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I omitted this from the advice of other bakers)
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups ice water
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
FROSTING AND GARNISH
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
10 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch chunks, softened
Malted milk balls, for garnish
1. MAKE THE CAKE: Preheat the oven to 325°. Line cupcake pans. In a large bowl, whisk the flours with the malt powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with the shortening until creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches at low speed, alternating with the ice water, occasionally scraping down the side of the bowl.
3. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter. Scoop the batter into pans 2/3 full, and bake the cakes for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (I couldn't get the bake time right, though. Even when I inserted a cake tester, it came out clean and the tops were golden, yet it was soggy and doughy in the center).
4. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE FROSTING: Place the chocolate in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil, then remove from heat. Add the corn syrup; immediately pour the mixture over the chocolate. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes, until the chocolate has melted, then whisk until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
5. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk. Gradually beat in the butter at medium speed, a few chunks at a time, and beat until thoroughly incorporated between additions. The frosting should be smooth and silky. Refrigerate the frosting just until it is thick enough to hold its shape, 10 to 15 minutes.
6. For a softer and lighter frosting, I whipped the cold frosting once more with the paddle attachment before putting it into a frosting bag.