Boston. Home of the Red Sox, Faneuil Hall, Swan Boats and that famous little tea party that could cause a rift in my marriage if discussed too long. Along with these classic icons of our lovely capital city there are extraordinary places to dine. We’ve had the good fortune of spending a night at the chef’s table at L’Espalier, a quiet Italian dinner with memorable hen of the woods mushrooms at Via Matta, and some amazing drinks and fish at Legal Seafood. When we are in Boston we love to stay in Back Bay. This time we ventured across the park to The Omni Parker House Hotel. A classic resting place of this city, The Parker House is also home to the famous Parker House Rolls and Boston Cream Pie.
I should say that I have had a love affair with cupcakes since I was a child. This may be because as a Virgo, I had a summer birthday and did not have the good fortune of having to bring cupcakes to my birthday party at elementary school like all my childhood friends with school-year birthdays. This obsession has resulted in numerous cupcake cookbooks including the one that inspired this recipe, Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for tins
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
3 large eggs
1 cup of vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350. Brush muffin tins with butter and dust with flour. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
Combine milk and butter in a saucepan; set over a very low heat.
Whisk eggs and sugar with an electric mixer on high speed. They should become pale yellow in color, fluffy and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface. This took about five minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and add the flour mixture until just incorporated.
Bring milk and butter mixture just to a boil.
Add hot milk mixture to batter with mixer on a low speed. Do this in a steady stream and mix until the batter becomes smooth. Beat in the vanilla.
Divide the batter into the floured muffin tins. Fill about half way. Bake at 350 for about fifteen minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool in tins for about ten minutes.
Remove from tins and place on baking rack where cakes will cool for ten more minutes.
While cakes are cooling make your cream filling.
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups of milk
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Whisk egg yolks until smooth. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in medium sauce pan. Heat over a medium heat. Stirring constantly add in milk in a slow steady stream. Cook until mixture becomes thick and starts to bubble, about five minutes.
Whisking constantly add one third of hot milk mixture to egg yolks. Pour this mixture into remaining milk mixture still in the saucepan. Cook over a medium heat for about four minutes. During this time whisk constantly. Mixture will become thick and be able to hold its shape when lifted with a spoon. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.
Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a heat proof bowl. Cover with parchment paper, pressing directly onto cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, about two hours.
Slice each cake with a serrated knife.
Add two tablespoons of cream to each cake bottom and then replace top.
Drizzle each cake with your favorite chocolate ganache. This simple version uses 6 oz. semisweet chocolate, 2/3 cup heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup. The chocolate goes into a heat proof bowl. The cream and corn syrup get brought to a simmer in a small saucepan. This mixture gets poured over the chocolate and is left alone until the chocolate begins to melt. Stir from the center of the bowl outwards until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
Cakes should be placed in the fridge for about thirty minutes until the chocolate is set. Serve immediately and enjoy each bite!