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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Recipe: Fourth of July Blueberry Poundcake Cupcakes



Fourth of July Blueberry Poundcake Cupcakes

with Grilled Corn on the Cob Filling and Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Baked 07.04.14


Fourth of July Blueberry Poundcake Cupcakes with Grilled Corn Cream Filling and Strawberry Buttercream

Profile: 

Grilled Corn on the Cob / Strawberry / Blueberry
 

Requested by

Fourth of July Special

Description

It's all about the flavors of Summer with these cupcakes, densely rich poundcake loaded with fresh blueberry puree.

It wouldn't be outside of the breadbox without a little flair, so look for a surprise filling of roasted corn on the cob sweet cream - a liquid center based on a French meringue buttercream.

And continuing the buttercream theme is a strawberry Italian meringue frosting. Cut the sugar and replace it with a fresh strawberry puree, and the result is a lightly sweet but intensely flavorful frosting to top off the creation!

Check out the reveal post for more on the Fourth of July Blueberry Poundcake Cupcakes!



- The Components & Recipes -



Recipes:
  • Strawberry Syrup - 5 hours total - 4 hours to macerate berries plus 1 hour active prep
  • Blueberry Syrup - 5 hours total - 4 hours to macerate berries plus 1 hour active prep
  • Sweet Grilled Corn on the Cob Cream - 1 hour
  • French Meringue Grilled Corn Cream - 45 minutes
  • Strawberry Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting  - 45 minutes
  • Blueberry Poundcake Cupcakes - 20 minutes active prep time; 20-25 minutes baking

For some general recipe reminders, check out this post.





Strawberry Syrup:

This syrup is used to flavor the Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting, but it's also great on its own. Consider it an excellent ice cream topping (but what isn't?)

Yield: 380g (approximately 1.5 Cups)

Prep Time: 5 hours total (4 hours to macerate strawberries plus 1 hour active prep)

Ingredients:
  • Fresh Strawberries: 16 oz
  • White Granulated Sugar: 50g (0.25 Cup)
  • Lemon Juice – 1 Tbls

Directions
:

1. Wash, core and halve the strawberries. Combine the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a non-reactive bowl, setting aside to macerate for four hours. The strawberries will naturally release a significant amount of liquid.

2. Transfer the strawberries and juice to a saucepot. Simmer the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently to help break down the strawberries. Once the mixture reaches the syrup stage (215 degrees Fahrenheit), remove the syrup from the heat and allow it to cool until it can be safely transferred to a blender.

3. Once the syrup has cooled, puree it in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain the puree through a mesh sieve to remove any remaining seeds or pulp.

4. Transfer the syrup to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. The syrup will thicken when cooled but will remain liquid.

Fresh Blueberries and Strawberries




Blueberry Syrup:

This syrup (or jelly, given how it thickens when cooled) is part of the Poundcake batter, but like the Strawberry Syrup, it can stand on its own. Go crazy!

Yield: 260g (approximately 1.0 Cup)

Prep Time: 5 hours total (4 hours to macerate blueberries plus 1 hour active prep)

Ingredients:
  • Fresh Blueberries: 1 Pint
  • White Granulated Sugar: 50g (0.25 Cup)
  • Lemon Juice – 1 Tbls

Directions:
1. Wash and gently mash the blueberries with a fork. Combine the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice in a non-reactive bowl, setting aside to macerate for four hours. The blueberries will release a little bit of liquid.

2. Transfer the blueberries and juice to a saucepot. Simmer the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently to help break down the blueberries. Once the mixture reaches the syrup stage (215 degrees Fahrenheit), remove the syrup from the heat and allow it to cool until it can be safely transferred to a blender.

3. Once the syrup has cooled, puree it in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain the puree through a mesh sieve to remove any remaining skins.

4. Transfer the syrup to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Given the high pectin content of blueberries, the syrup will solidify into a jelly-like consistency when refrigerated. Mash the jelly with a fork to soften before using.




Sweet Grilled Corn on the Cob Cream:

This cream is the infusion of corn used in the French Meringue filling.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Yield: 240g (approximately 1.0 Cup)

Prep Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:
  • Fresh Corn on the Cob: 2 Ears
  • Heavy Cream: 240g (1.0 Cup)
  • Sugar: 50g (0.25 Cup)
  • Salt: Dash

Directions:
1. Shuck and rinse the corn. Coat the corn liberally with canola oil (or any neutral, high temperature oil) and salt. Place the corn on a very hot grill, rotating frequently until the kernels begin to soften and some char forms on cobs – approximately five to eight minutes.

2. Allow the corn to cool. Using a chef’s knife, cut the kernels from the cobs and place them in a saucepot. Save the cobs, cutting them into thirds and adding them to the saucepot with the kernels.

3. Add the cream and salt to the saucepot. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a gentle simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the saucepot from the heat and allow it to cool until it can be safely transferred to a blender.

4. When the mixture has cooled, remove the cobs and transfer the corn and cream to a blender or food processor. Puree the mixture briefly on the lowest speed setting, breaking down the corn kernels but not whipping the cream. Strain the puree through a mesh sieve.

5. Transfer the cream to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator.




French Meringue Grilled Corn Cream:

This filling provide a sweet surprise to the inside of the Blueberry Poundcake Cupcakes but could also be used as a sweet sauce topping for many desserts.

Yield: 600g (approximately 3.0 Cups)

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
  • Sweet Grilled Corn on the Cob Cream – 240g (1 Cup) ... see earlier recipe
  • Egg Yolks – 125g (5 Count)
  • White Granulated Sugar: 150g (0.75 Cup)
  • Butter: 112g (0.5 Cup / 1 Stick)
  • Salt: Dash

Directions:
1. Remove the butter from the refrigerator, cut it into tablespoon-sized pieces and set aside. The butter needs to reach room temperature before it can be used.

2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and corn cream. Stir together over medium heat until the mixture comes to a slow bubbling simmer. Continue heating the cream until it reaches the soft ball stage (240 degrees Fahrenheit) – approximately 10 minutes.

3. While the cream heats, whisk the egg yolks in a stand mixer on low speed until they turn pale and thick – approximately five minutes.

4. Once the cream reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit, slowly pour the cream into the egg yolks in a light, steady stream while continuing to whisk on medium speed. The mixture should thicken and be somewhat airy. Continue to whisk on medium speed until the mixture returns to room temperature – approximately 10 minutes.

5. Once the mixture has cooled, with the mixer still running on medium speed, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, waiting until each piece is incorporated before adding more. The entire process should take about five minutes. The final consistency will be thinner than a buttercream frosting, but should be somewhat airy. It is intended to be a filling and not a frosting.

6. Store the filling in the refrigerator in a covered plastic container. It will thicken slightly when chilled but should not solidify.




Strawberry Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting:

A "grown up" frosting, this buttercream has less sugar and less butter than most recipes, resulting in a lighter texture and a fresh strawberry flavor.

Strawberry Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting Topped Cupcakes

Yield: Approximately 5.0 Cups

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
  • White Granulated Sugar – 200g (1 Cup) plus 50g (0.25 Cup) separated
  • Strawberry Puree – 240g (1.0 Cup)
  • Egg Whites – 6 Count
  • Cream of Tartar – ¾ Tsp
  • Butter (at room temperature) – 280g (1.25 Cups / 2.5 Sticks) 

Directions:
1. Remove the butter from the refrigerator, cut it into tablespoon-sized pieces and set aside. The butter needs to reach room temperature before it can be used.

2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 200g white sugar and the strawberry puree. Stir the syrup occasionally as it comes to a slow bubbling simmer. Continue heating the syrup until it reaches the soft ball stage (240 degrees Fahrenheit) – approximately 10 minutes.

3. While the syrup heats, whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer on low speed until frothy – approximately five minutes.

4. Once the whites are lightly frothy, add the cream of tartar and increase the speed to medium-high. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks – approximately five minutes.

5. Continue to whisk the egg white while adding the 50g of white sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Continue to whisk until the egg whites form stiff, glossy peaks – approximately five minutes.

Chef’s note: The amount of time it takes for egg white to form soft and stiff peaks depends on many environment factors. Heat and humidity are killers. Make sure the mixing bowl is cold before you being. Be patient and resist the urge to crank the mixer up to high speed.

6. Once the strawberry syrup has reached 240 degrees Fahrenheit and the egg whites have formed stiff peaks, slowly pour the strawberry syrup into the egg whites in a light, steady stream while continuing to whisk on medium speed. Continue to whisk until the mixture returns to room temperature – approximately 10 minutes.

Chef’s note: Adding the hot syrup to the egg whites will kill most pathogens associated with raw eggs.

7. Once the mixture has cooled, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, waiting until each piece is incorporated before adding more. The entire process should take about five minutes.

8. Use the buttercream frosting immediately or store it in the refrigerator in a covered plastic container. The frosting will harden when cooled. Return the frosting to room temperature and rewhisk for a couple minutes before using.





Blueberry Poundcake Cupcakes:

Dense and rich, there's no denying that these cupcakes are packed to the limits in terms of how much fresh blueberry flavor a little pastry can hold.

Blueberry Poundcake Cupcake with Corn Cream Filling

Yield: 1,200ml of batter - enough for approximately 16 cupcakes (85g capacity molds) 

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
  • Cake Flour – 240g (2 Cups)
  • White Granulated Sugar – 200g (1 Cup)
  • Blueberry Syrup – 260g (1.0 Cup)
  • Eggs – 250g (5 Count)
  • Butter (at room temperature) – 225g (1 Cup / 2 Sticks) 
  • Vanilla – 1 Tsp
  • Salt – 0.5 Tsp
  • Baking Powder – 0.5 Tsp

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cream the butter in a stand mixer on medium speed using the paddle attachment – approximately 30 seconds. Add the white sugar and continue to mix until the butter and sugar turn light and pale – approximately two to three minutes.

3. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and slowly add the blueberry syrup in a steady stream (the blueberry syrup will have a jelly-like consistency when removed from the refrigerator and should be mixed with a fork until liquid in consistency before it is added to the batter). Continue to beat the mixture until the blueberry syrup is fully incorporated – approximately three to four minutes.

4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add the beaten eggs. Continue to beat until the ingredients are fully incorporated - approximately two minutes.

5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Using a fork, stir the mixture so that the salt and baking powder are evenly distributed throughout the flour.

6. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in one-third portions, beating until incorporated between each addition. Do not over mix.

7. Pour the batter into the molds filling to just below the top of the mold. The cakes will rise slightly during baking but will resettle into dense cakes as they cool.

8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the tray after 10 minutes. The cakes are done when a cake tester or knife placed in the center comes out clean. Given the dark color of the blueberries, it is difficult to notice when the cakes begin to brown. Do not over bake.

9. Wait until the cakes cool completely before filling or frosting.

Chef’s note: These cakes vary from traditional pound cake in several ways. A traditional pound cake is made with equal quantities of flour, sugar, butter and eggs. Between the white granulated sugar and the blueberry syrup, this recipe goes a bit heavier on the sugar, resulting in a denser cake. In addition, the pectin content of the blueberry syrup, which forms a jelly when refrigerated, also contributes to the density and moistness of the cake. Lastly, a traditional pound cake does not include any leavening agent. To offset some of the potential density in these cakes, a small amount of baking powder has been added.




- The Finished Product -



Blueberry Poundcake with Strawberry Buttercream and Fresh Berries

Blueberry Poundcake with Strawberry Buttercream and Fresh Blueberry

Blueberry Poundcake with Strawberry Buttercream and Fresh Strawberry

Blueberry Poundcake Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream and Fresh Berries

Packaged Blueberry Poundcake Cupcakes

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