A quick peek at my decision-making process…
Having decided I wanted to make a less dense cake than my usual, I spent some time looking into sponge cake recipes. But sponge cake/angel food cake has always been a little too light for my liking. So I decided to try out a Victoria Sponge cake instead, because at least it has butter in’t. And also because it’s the simplest formula imaginable: equal ratios (by weight) of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs.
Then, having decided I wanted to try out an Aztec/Mayan/Spicy chocolate cake, I decided to make a spicy chocolate Victoria Sponge.
And then, since I wanted to be able to sample this concoction before foisting it off on anyone else, I decided to make cupcakes rather than cake-cakes.
And Then, since I still had egg yolks left-over from the last baking project, I decided on a white chocolate “french buttercream”* (sprinkled with cinnamon) to go on top.
I used two tsps of cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of cayenne. The cayenne definitely creates a tickle in the back of the throat. I wasn’t sure how that would go over, but I took the cupcakes into work and even the fellow who doesn’t like icing ate his all up.
Measure out wet ingredients:
– 220 grams of butter
– 220 grams of sugar
Cream these together. Then add:
– 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition
– 2 tsp of vanilla.
Measure out dry ingredients:
– 55 grams of cocoa powder
– 2 tsp ground cinnamon (fresh ground is probably best, but only if your spice grinder’s better than mine and doesn’t leave large-ish chunks in)
– 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (was going to use chili powder but changed my mind)
– 165 grams of flour
– 2 tsp baking powder
– 1/4 tsp salt
Whisk these together, then sift. Fold dry ingredients into wet.
Drop them into baking cups (about 15 of them, in my case) and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.
French Buttercream recipe
Dione Lucas’s Chocolate Buttercream (from Chocolate Cake by Michele Urvater):
– Beat 4 large egg yolks until light. (I used 5 medium.)
– Heat 3/4 cup corn syrup to a simmer, stirring constantly, then let it boil unstirred until it reaches soft ball stage (around 236 degrees, according to the recipe).
– Once the syrup’s temperature reaches about 230 degrees, start beating the egg yolks again.
– Once the syrup reaches 236 degrees, pour the syrup into the egg yolks in a constant stream, beating until the mixture is “light, fluffy, lemon-colored, tepid.” (This is where an extra pair of hands comes in handy if you’re using a hand mixer.)
– Mix in 2-1/2 sticks (10 oz) of softened butter, in portions.
– Mix in 6 oz of cooled melted chocolate (white, milk, or semisweet)
* I put this in quotes because the recipe seems to be a modification of a french buttercream, rather than a pure version. Rather than creating a simple syrup and boiling it to soft ball stage, it calls for corn syrup boiled to soft ball stage. (The author of the book guessed this might have been the frosting creator’s way of Americanizing a recipe that calls for glucose syrup, which is/was commonly used in French pastry kitchens but not so easily found in American supermarkets.)