Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tiramisu Cupcakes

My friend Yael Schuster, of Haifa, Israel, posted this mouthwatering photo on Facebook and I asked her to write a post about it.  Yael is clearly a natural blogger, but has her hands full with two beutiful boys.  She also just completed her PhD in Chemistry from the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.  What caught my attention about this dessert, was the pairing of the ultra-trendy cupcake with the ever-classy tiramisu.  Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people and holiday traditions include eating dairy and staying up all night learning Torah.  Visit Yael's Sweet Shop on Facebook to see her beautiful confections or order treats!

Shavuot has got to be my favorite holiday. It's the one time I don't have to be ashamed of my intense relationship with butter and 38 % milkfat cream. Heck, it's even on sale! It's fun to teach the kids about something that doesn't involve plagues or fasting. I don't even mind the staying up all night- somebody else, of course. Not me- I stay home to "watch" the kiddies. BUT, I am sorry to say, I do not like cheesecake. I don't like the soft, soggy Israeli excuse for cream cheese. I don't like paying 60 shekels [$18 today] to make one cake with said pathetic cream cheese. I don't like making crumb crusts. I don't like carting around ten pounds (sorry, 4.5 kilos) of dessert in one pan. And I just don't like the taste of bland sugary cheese.

This year, when I was asked to bring dessert to a friend's house, I decided that the drown-yourself-in-dairy holiday needed to take a different approach. Tiramisu. In cupcake form. Genius.

This recipe comes from Martha Stewart- honestly I find most of her recipes pretentious and not particularly delicious, but this one redeemed her. Use real marscapone. It's cheaper than 10 pounds of crappy Israeli cream cheese. You'll be glad you did.

Ingredients for Cupcakes
1 1/4 cups cake flour (if you don't have cake flour, take 2 tsp out of the flour and replace with corn starch), sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
3 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup sugar

Coffee Syrup
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly brewed very strong coffee (or espresso)
1 ounce marsala or brandy
1/4 cup sugar
Marscapone Frosting
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO SUBSTITUTE!!
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F/ 160 degrees C. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, melt butter, add milk. Let cool.
  3. Whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar. Set mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. Beat (hopefully with a real mixer. Mine just died and I nearly beat my arm to death hand-whisking this) until the mixture is fluffy, thick, and pale yellow. It should form a ribbon when you drag a spoon through the mixture.
  4. Fold flour mixture into the egg mixture, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.
  5. Fill cupcake tins 3/4 the way full- no more! I usually get 24 cupcakes out of this recipe even though the original calls for 18. Bake until centers are completely set and edges are light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.
  6. Brush tops of cupcakes evenly with coffee-brandy syrup; repeat until all syrup has been used. Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid 30 minutes.
  7. To make frosting: whip the cream into submission. Mix cheese and powdered sugar together, fold into whipped cream. Dollop frosting onto cupcakes; refrigerate up to overnight in airtight containers. Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving.
Note: A nice alternative to cocoa powder on top is to put pieces of chocolate (like a couple Hershey kisses) into a handheld cheese grater and grate curly little chocolate shavings on top.  Also, I love cheese cake, espcially sweet, heavy NY Cheese cake.  I will also admit that I have made a decent (traditional, with lady fingers) tiramisu without real marscapone cheese.


  1. This looks so beautiful. I have never been able to find kosher mascarpone (I live in the US). But this tempts me to continue hunting it down.

  2. I don't think I could find Cholav Yisrael marscapone in Israel. At least in the US it's easier to find real cream cheese and decent sour cream. I'll try to remember what I did as a substitute. It was a long time ago.

  3. I've used 1/2 cream cheese, 1/2 sour cream... it works, but nowhere near as delicious! :) Just another reason to make aliyah.



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