Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate mascarpone filling and zinfandel buttercream

  • For the swiss meringue buttercream
  • 550g caster sugar
  • 310g pasteurized egg whites
  • 550g unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 2 1/2 cm cubes
  • 15ml vanilla essence
  • For the chocolate mascarpone swiss meringue buttercream
  • 60g dark chocolate discs, melted and cooled
  • 90g mascarpone cheese, room temperature, softened with the back of a spoon
  • For the zinfandel swiss meringue buttercream
  • 45ml zinfandel wine
  • For the chocolate cupcakes
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 250ml buttermilk
  • 250ml rapeseed oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla essence
  • 175ml warm water
  • 2 tsp. instant coffee
  • 315g unbleached flour or 280g plain flour
  • 65g cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 27 strawberry halves, for garnish
  • Melted chocolate, for garnish
  • For the chocolate icing
  • 175g dark chocolate discs
  • 125ml double cream
  • 220g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 45g cocoa powder
  • 750-1000g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla essence
For the swiss meringue buttercream:

1) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, thoroughly whisk together the sugar and egg whites. Set the bowl over a pan of boiling water. Whisking constantly, heat to 62 to 65 degrees C. Return the mixing bowl to the stand and whisk until stiff and the bottom of the bowl comes to room temperature, about 8 minutes.

2) Change to the paddle attachment and turn the mixer to low speed. Add the butter, a few cubes at a time, until incorporated. Mix at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix until combined. Divide the total yield in 1/2. You will only need 1/2 for both the chocolate and zinfandel buttercreams. Set aside 1/2 for other use.

For the chocolate mascarpone buttercream:

1) Fold the melted and cooled chocolate and the mascarpone cheese into 1/2 of the swiss meringue buttercream.

For the Zinfandel buttercream:

1) Blend the Zinfandel wine into remaining 1/2 of swiss meringue buttercream. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large straight pastry tip.

For the cupcakes:

1) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/Gas mark 3. Line standard cupcake tins with 27 cupcake liners.

2) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, buttermilk, and oil. Mix well. Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing on low speed until completely mixed together. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt into a separate bowl and whisk together. In a liquid measuring cup, mix the water with the instant coffee, dissolving the coffee powder completely. Add 1/2 the dry ingredients to the buttermilk mixture just until incorporated. Mix in the water and coffee mixture. Add the rest of the dry ingredients, mixing until combined, and then beat for 2 minutes.

3) Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake until golden brown, 17 to 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely.

For the chocolate icing:

1) Heat the cream until hot but do not boil. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until completely melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.

2) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and salt until smooth. Add 1/2 the icing sugar, mixing until smooth. Add the chocolate and the remaining icing sugar and mix until creamy. Adjust to desired spreading consistency with additional cream or icing sugar, if needed. Place in a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.

To assemble:

1) Remove a piece from the center of each cupcake and fill the cupcake with about 1 tbsp. chocolate mascarpone swiss buttercream. Pipe a generous amount of chocolate icing onto the top of the cupcake. Pipe a dollop of zinfandel swiss meringue buttercream on top of the chocolate icing. Top with half a strawberry and drizzle with melted chocolate.

This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

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