While we were in Kentucky for Toby’s grandmother’s 80th birthday, we went to Virgil’s Cafe in Bellevue. The last time we ate there, I had a really fantastic cheeseburger. This time, the most memorable thing was a chocolate-bourbon torte. After about two bites, I started thinking about how I could make something similar.
So when I was trying to decide what to make for the cupcake contest, I tried this first.
I wanted something super chocolate-y, so I used a chocolate soufflé cupcake recipe (that also happens to be gluten free). I thought the flavor was great, but the cupcakes collapse as they cool, and the structure and texture is different than a normal cupcake.
Making them is a little different than a regular cupcake, too. You need to separate the eggs and beat the yolks and whites in different bowls. I may have done something wrong, because the yolk mixture is supposed to get pale and mine never did. But that may have been because the yolks were really bright yellow-orange when I started.
As I mentioned, the middle of the cupcakes will collapse when they’re cooling. It makes them look kind of sad, but it also provides a perfect well for flavored whipped cream.
This bourbon whipped cream is from the Bobby Flay cookbook I got at the signing. I am sure it would be fantastic on top of a chocolate pie (as in the book), and it’s also great on pecan pancakes. But if you’re anti-Maker’s Mark, try the recipe as Deb from Smitten Kitchen did it — without the bourbon, and topped with white chocolate mint cream. Yum!
While these cupcakes may not be super pretty or contest-ready, they really are quite good — very light and airy but also very chocolatey. You can always spruce them up with some black or foil cupcake liners and some chocolate shavings on top. Let me know what you think.
Chocolate-bourbon soufflé cupcakes with bourbon whipped cream (Cupcakes adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen, whipped cream from Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain cookbook – Makes 9-12 cupcakes)
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (I used a mix of both)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon espresso or instant coffee powder
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bourbon
Preheat the oven to 350 and separate the eggs. Chop chocolate if it’s not already in pieces.
Cut butter into pieces and place in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the chocolate and coffee powder (kinda on top of the butter, if possible) and heat, stirring frequently, over low heat until mostly melted. Remove from heat and whisk until mixture is smooth. Allow to cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.
In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks and 3 tablespoons sugar with a hand-held electric mixer for about two minutes, until mixture is very thick (and pale, if you’re not me). Once chocolate is not too hot, mix it into the yolks. Then add the bourbon and vanilla and beat until combined.
If you don’t have two sets, thoroughly wash and dry your beaters. Then, in another bowl (small or medium will work), beat the egg whites with the clean beaters until foamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar and the salt, and continue beating egg whites until medium peaks form.
In three additions, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Spoon batter into lined cupcake cups, filling each about 3/4 of the way.
Bake cupcakes 15 to 20 minutes, or until tops are puffy and dry (cracking is OK). Cool the cupcakes, then fill sunken wells with dollops of bourbon whipped cream.
Bourbon whipped cream
1 cup (very cold) heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered/confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tablespoon to 1 tablespoon bourbon (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Combine ingredients in a small to medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer or whisk until soft peaks form.