February 23, 2009

Chocolate Espresso Pudding Cupcakes with Caramel Milk Foam

I'm down to the line with my Iron Cupcake entry this month. This month's ingredient is coffee. My idea was to make pudding cakes flavored with espresso that would be baked in espresso cups. I also wanted to play with a recent acquisition, Versawhip a soy protein powder that can whip liquids into foams. I bought the Versawhip after seeing the honey fluff made with it on Garrett's Table. I've made maple syrup fluff with it which was great on pancakes and sweet potatoes. Using it to foam soy milk is pushing the limits since there is fat in soy milk that lessens the foaming capabilities. However the consistency was what I was looking for, just like the foam of milk on a cappuccino without having to heat the milk.

The pudding cakes are really a treat and super easy to whip up. I will warn you that despite several adjustments to the recipe I couldn't keep them from bubbling over a little in the oven. You could solve that problem by baking them in one larger pan per the original recipe but then you lose the appeal of having your own little cupcake in an espresso cup. Who doesn't like to have their own little portion? These little cups are dark and chocolaty. The cake is fluffy on top and the pudding hidden underneath is thick and rich. The best part is that they don't have any undercooked egg danger and the recipe was easy to make vegan/dairy-free. I quite like the faux cappuccino look of the milk foam but I'd hate to discourage anyone from trying these because they don't want to go out and buy some crazy soy protein powder. Give them a try topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or some cashew cream.

Chocolate Espresso Pudding Cupcakes
My adaption of the recipe for Chocolate Pudding Cakes from Baking Bites. Please look to the original recipe for a larger version that is baked in an 8-inch square baking pan.
Makes 4 (3 ounce) espresso cup
*These are the espresso cups I used.

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons +1 teaspoon sugar
4 teaspoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons milk (Silk DHA Enhanced soy for us)
1 tablespoon neutral oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon brown sugar
4 teaspoons cocoa powder
4 teaspoons mini chocolate chips (Enjoy Life chips is my choice)
6 tablespoons boiling water + 3/4 teaspoon espresso powder or 6 tablespoons hot espresso

-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
-Stir together the dry ingredients for the batter (the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt). Add the milk, oil and vanilla and stir until a smooth batter forms. Spoon equal amounts into 4 oven safe espresso cups or use 4 other oven safe ramekins or mugs.
-In a small bowl mix together the dry ingredients for the topping (the brown sugar, cocoa, and chocolate chips). Spoon equal amounts of this mixture over the tops of the batter filled cups. Place the cups on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
-Pour over the boiling water mixed with espresso powder or hot espresso. I spooned a tablespoon over each and then repeated with the remaining hot liquid until all was distributed evenly.
-Carefully place the baking sheet with cups into the hot oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. The cakes are done when the tops are puffed and set but you should be able to tell that there is pudding settled on the bottom.
-Remove the cups from the oven and cool slightly.
-Serve warm topped with caramel milk foam, whipped cream, ice cream or eat as is. You could foam some milk using a milk frother like this one.

Caramel Milk Foam
Based on tips from Garrett of Garrett's Table. Thanks Garrett!
Makes a little over 1 cup of foam

2 grams Versawhip 600K (soy protein powder purchased from Willpowder)
40 grams of soy milk
50 grams caramel syrup (I used syrup from this recipe)

-Whisk together the Versawhip and soy milk together until soft peaks form.
-Drizzle in the caramel syrup and continue whisking until all the syrup is incorporated and the foam is light and frothy.
-Spoon over the cupcakes and serve immediately.

This month's voting will begin Sunday, March 1 at 8 p.m. at No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner and will be open through Friday, March 6 at 12 noon.
The February Prize Pack includes prizes from:
Diana Evans, Lots of Sprinkles and Cakespy.
Prizes also come from these corporate providers:
Head Chefs by Fiesta Products, Hello Cupcake by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, Jessie Steele Aprons, The Cupcake Courier, and Taste of Home Books
Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers and Upwithcupcakes.com
As an added bonus for February, Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Bakery and Cupcakery Supply will be tossing in a variety of cupcaking supplies.

Abbie rates this recipe sniff worthy. Did you notice my son Alex's fingers in the spoon shot? He thought it was hilarious to try and steal the cup while I was taking the picture.