The Sellsword of the Forsaken Field raised his gargantuan blade as he charged towards the mechanical monstrosity that rose from the desert sands. Infused with newfound power, he sprinted forward and lodged the Edge of Baneslaying Destiny into the clockwork beast’s ruby eyes. With fluid grace, the Sellsword slid under the beast and stopped behind it ready and weaponless.
Closing his eyes, he summoned his blade to his hand and watched the guardian fragment as it ripped its intricate insides apart. The dust cloud could be seen for miles and the Sellsword turned to his compatriots and simply asked:
“Anyone else hungry?”
My playgroup is actively trying to make sure we get together more often than once every few months, because frankly that isn’t frequent enough to toss some dice and fight monsters. But I think I figured out how to make it work: bribery. We all want to sit around the table and delve into a dungeon, but everyone has different schedules. So now I offer baked goods for when we do end up playing, and hopefully that will keep the schedule.
My most recent obsession has been tiramisu. That decadent blend of coffee, Marsala and mascarpone is luxurious and so I finally threw caution into the wind and wanted to make my own. But most of my friends known me for making cupcakes, so I gave it a slight twist and made tiramisu cupcakes for our game day.
Makes a dozen cupcakes
For the ladyfinger cupcakes…
1 1/4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
3 additional egg yolks
1 cup of sugar
Around a tablespoon of cocoa powder for dusting
For the coffee Marsala syrup…
1/3 cup of coffee, freshly brewed dark roast
1 ounce of white rum
1 ounce of Marsala wine
1 /4 cup of sugar
For the mascarpone frosting…
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
8 ounces of mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
First, make the coffee Marsala syrup since it needs to cool before using. Brew the coffee to make a strong cup. I prefer a dark roast since it gives a better flavor to the syrup. In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar into the coffee then mix in the rum and wine and set aside to cool. This can be made in advance.
To make the cupcakes…
Making these cupcakes isn’t easy so here is a list of equipment needed: muffin tray, two mixing bowls, electric mixer, a medium sauce pan, and a double boiler.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line your tray with cupcake liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Over a low heat in a sauce pan, combine the milk, butter and vanilla extract. Heat until the butter has fully melted and allow it to cool slightly.
Whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar in a double boiler until the sugar has fully dissolved and the mixture has turned warm. This should take a little over five minutes depending on the depth of your double boiler. With an electric mixer, whip the eggs and sugar together until it turns fluffy and paler. It is ready when the mixture can hold a ribbon upon the removal of the whisk.
Mix in about half of the flour mixture fold it into the eggs, then mix in the cooled milk mixture before adding the rest of the flour. Do not over mix or move too slowly as the eggs can drastically reduce in fluffiness and make a denser cake.
Divide the batter evenly and then bake for 25-30 minutes, the edges should be turning golden brown as an indicator. Place them on wire racks to cool fully before the next step.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, poke four holes near the center of each cupcake with a toothpick. This will allow better absorption of the syrup. If you have a pastry brush, brush the syrup onto the cupcakes evenly. If you don’t, you can do it slowly by spooning small amounts of the syrup onto the cupcakes. Continue doing this until all the syrup has been absorbed.
To make the frosting…
With an electric mixer, whisk together the whipping cream and sugar until stiff peaks form – but keep an eye on it because it can quickly go from delicious whipped cream into awful, gritty butter. Fold in the mascarpone cheese and beat for only a few seconds to fully incorporate it. Use immediately for best results, but the frosting will keep overnight in the fridge if needed.
After frosting the soaked cupcakes, dust them with cocoa powder before serving. If making these in advance, be sure to refrigerate them – especially the frosting.
Yep, this may by my most complicated baking recipe. The combination of multiple pans, the double boiler and constant use and reuse of the electric mixer lends me to give you one piece of advice: do this recipe in spurts.
Prepare the syrup and set it aside. Make the cupcakes and let them cool, then get around to soaking them. Finally, make the frosting as fresh as you can because it does make a difference. These cupcakes are excellent and worth the effort though. Now if only I could find someone to make them for me…
If you’re looking for more cupcake ideas, check out all of them here!