As promised in “My Life as a Former Cupcake Queen” post, I have recipes ready to share and with Vermont and New Hampshire maple season fast approaching, the maple cupcake created for participants of the 2011 Covered Bridges Half Marathon seems the most appropriate one for March. Like Triple Salted Caramel, it is one of the more complicated cupcakes because it involves several steps and plus an adornment. I promise that I will share simpler ones in upcoming posts!
In the meantime, preheat that oven and get ready for Spring. The sap will be flowing soon.
BUTTERMILK MAPLE CAKE
Yield: 16 cupcakes
2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tbs maple syrup
2 large eggs
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sift together flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla AND MAPLE SYRUP. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then, with mixer at low speed, beat in all of buttermilk until just combined. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing after each addition until just combined.
Spoon batter into cupcake pan.
Bake 17 minutes (test for doneness)
Yield: frosting for 6-8 cupcakes
3 cups powered sugar
2 stick of unsalted butter
8 tbs maple syrup
3 drops maple extract
Add crushed MAPLE TOFFEE ( SEE BELOW)
MAPLE PECAN TOFFEE
YIELD: SOOOOO MUCH! Approx enough for 50 cupcakes
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 drop maple extract
6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped OR use semi-sweet, milk or dark chocolate chips
1 cup (about 5 ounces) coarsely chopped pecans ( I used chocolate chips)
And, if you have finely ground pecans, use them to dust the top of the toffee. (Optional)
Butter a cookie sheet or place parchment paper on a flat surface.
Melt 1 cup butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and cream of tartar and stir until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high. Brush down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Cook until mixture registers 310°F. on candy thermometer, stirring occasionally, about 11 minutes.
Immediately pour toffee into prepared pan or directly onto parchment. Let stand 1 minute to cool a bit. Sprinkle with chocolate. Let stand 2 minutes to soften. Spread chocolate with back of spoon over toffee until melted and spoon over toffee until melted and smooth. Sprinkle with pecans ( or ground pecans). Refrigerate if needed until firm ( in the winter there is no need. It hardens in kitchen) . Remove toffee from pan. Break into 1-inch pieces. (Can be prepared 4 days ahead. Chill in airtight container.) Garnish cupcake with a wedge (and for a sweeter frosting, add a handful of crushed toffee to the frosting and mix well before spreading onto cupcakes).