Saturday, March 8, 2008

mallow madness

this month the gang-of-three chose marshmallow as the theme for cupcake hero (hereafter known as CCH). from what i can gather marshmallow is very much associated with easter in the states. there also appear to be something called peeps. they look very..errrrr... wholesome.

when i was growing up, my mum's best friend's daughter was lactose intolerant, so she got marshmallow at easter. i remember one easter camping trip at loxton where she got a enormous marshmallow rabbit.

but really i don't think marshmallow is as popular in australia. i've certainly never even thought about making it before! so when marshmallow was announced i had a lot of trouble trying to come up with an idea. as you'll see below i had more than one shot at making the marshmallow, with varying degrees of success. my original idea was to do basically what i've done, but then make mini marshmallow balls to go on top and glue them together with dulce de leche. however i didn't cook the milk for long enough and it didn't thicken properly, and then my first batch of marshmallow didn't set properly and i threw my hands in the air.

these are actually better than i thought they would be. the gooiness of the marshmallow in the centre is a nice counter to these cakes which are quite rich. the cake recipe came from my own cupcake hero JC, who assures me that anyone who uses only cocoa in their cake batter, without actual chocolate, has no idea what they're talking about. JC is haigh's best customer and when she talks chocolate i listen, so i can but assume this advice is sound.

anyway, here is my entry, along with quite a few photos. i'm trying to get better at the picture taking, which i'm not that great at right now, compounded by the fact i have the darkest kitchen this side of hades. but i'm learning a few tricks.

i got the marshmallow recipe from the fantastic clotilde at chocolate and zucchini. clotilde posts in both french and english, because she is european and generally smarter than us anglophones. i try to read her posts in french as much as i can. i made the marshmallow (guimauve) according to her recipe last weekend and had a play around with it. the rose water once is very very nice, and i will be using it for something, somewhere, but it didn't have the right flavour for these cakes. the chocolate one was very nice too, but didn't quite set properly. maybe i used too much water. it'd be interesting to try this in vanilla cakes (maybe next weekend). today, this is how i did

guimauve a la clotilde
14g sheet gelatin
40g glucose or corn syrup
230g caster sugar
3 egg whites.

mix the syrup and sugar with about 90ml of water and put on the heat. once just boiled, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes. while the sugars are cooking soak the gelatin in cold water. after the 8 minutes, remove the gelatin from the water, squeeze the suckers as dry as you can and stir into the hot sugar mix.

while all of this is cooling a little, whisk the egg whites to form soft peaks.

make sure that the sugar syrup has cooled a little, and slowly pour into the eggs in a constant stream, whilst whisking, and continue until the mix has cooled to about room temperature. i must admit i've never been very good at this kind of thing. i'm just not coordinated enough to pour and whisk at the same time, i just do as well as i can and hope for the best.

it looks very glossy and smooth at the end, but if you stick your finger in it to taste, which i would neeeeeever do, it's got the fluffy consistency of marshmallow.
i just left this in the bowl to cool. it started to set remarkably quickly (i have the air conditioning on high at the moment). so about 30 minutes after i started on the cakes.

chocolate cupcakes
100g dark chocolate
100ml milk
30g cocoa powder
100g butter at room temp
115g caster sugar
2 eggs
150g self raising flour

over a double boiler, heat the dark chocolate (i got some extra scrummy belgian chocolate from goodies and grains), cocoa powder and milk, not letting the top pan touch the water - i just use a pyrex jug over a saucepan. sir occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted.

now, this is a very important bit. without this the whole cake mixture will be a failure: do not eat the melted chocolate straight out of the jug. it is for the cake, not you! let it cool a little while you get on with the rest.

in a large mixing bowl cream the butter and the sugar. in a pique of disorganisation i failed to take the butter out of the fridge. luckily the extreme heat we've been experiencing recently made it soften easily when left on the outdoor table for 15 minutes. then add the eggs one at a time, combine each one as you go. add the chocolate mix and combine well before folding in the flour in two batches, using a metal spoon.

spoon the mix into a 12 hole cake tin lined with large papers. cook at 180 degrees for 15-20 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean. cool the cakes in the tray.

once they've cooled a little, cut a hole in the top of each cake, scoop out some of the cake and spoon in some of the marhsmallow mix. if you make the cake and the marshmallow all in one go, the marshmallow should be just the right consistency to spoon in. piping it would probably give a better result, but if you're like me you're too lazy to clean the bag twice in one day!
200g icing sugar
100g cream cheese

no rocket science here folks, simply mix the sugar and the fat. i added a splash of vanilla essence to help it along.

needless to say there is a huge amount of sugar here, so one cake at a time is plenty. i unfortunately put the wrong nozzle in my piping bag and didn't realise until i'd filled it, so the icing looks a bit patchy.

overall i will forgive you ladies if i don't get the tshirt this month. but one day it will be mine, all mine (insert evil laugh here)


slush said...

WOW! Its so awesome you made your own marshmallows. That is something I am YET to do. The cupcakes look wicked good. Thanks so much!

Kitty said...

thanks L, i'm glad i impress!! i'm a real food nazi, and try very hard not to eat anything artificial. bad for me, constantly. artificial no. so store bought marshmallows are kinda out for me. too many E-numbers.

CB said...

Marshmallow-tastic! You are on the ball this month. I haven't really thought about what I am gonna make yet! haha. Great job!

Kitty said...

thanks for the kind words clara. i'm not so organised. i did have an idea for a fierce cupcake entry, but just didn't get around to it. next time.

i take it your boy won?

CB said...

No worries. I know a week isn't long enough but definitely next time! Yup! My fierce boy won! Was there any doubt? LOL.

Tempered Woman said...

These look great! I like the frosting as is decorated- unique and cute. And the fact that you took on making marshmallow from scratch is big points in my book~
You've got a smart friend cause I agree with her 100% ;-) Real rich chocolate cake needs cocoa and good tempered chocolate. Not that I'm biased or anything...

Kitty said...

well, obviously i was thinking our one of our fine, upstanding judges when i tempered the chocolate! i shall pass on your approval to the friend in questions. tee hee.

Tammy said...

Your cupcakes look gorgeous! I love the pink icing