We are on the final countdown – just one week from tomorrow, and the school year will officially be over. There is part of me that feels like this year absolutely flew by, then another part that has been waiting forever for the year to be over. Of course it will definitely be bittersweet – with my older daughter having to change schools next year leaving the majority of her friends. My goal this summer is to have a more positive outlook on the whole situation. The good news is we found out the new school will not only have an orchestra next year, it will have four! Of course her old school has five, but who is counting. And even though the building is old and it will take them a few years to make the changes they are hoping for - by the time my younger daughter is there, things should be in much better shape.
The other weekend was my older daughter’s birthday. When I asked her what she wanted me to make, she really had to think hard – but she kept bringing up the Boston Cream Pie I had made for her last year. She knows how I like to try new things though, and was really torn. That’s when I had a great idea – what if I could turn the Boston Cream Pie into cupcakes?? She was sold – hands down. And then I hit myself – seriously, am I going completely mad? The Boston Cream Pie was hard enough, and now I was going to try this again with cupcakes? I am a glutton for punishment – that tastes absolutely incredible at the end.
These cupcakes were fabulous. They were everything that the cake was, and more – because they were so ridiculously adorable. Second time around is much easier than the first, and they actually didn’t take too long to make. Particularly because I made the custard the night before. Don’t fret if you have leftover custard like I did – I just put it into some small ramekins, and the girls ate it like pudding – the most decadent and creamy pudding ever. Watching my daughter eat these cupcakes with her friends – and the happiness in the air – it was perfect. They were able to forget all about the changes coming – and just focus on the positives. A good lesson for us all to remember. Focus on the cupcakes…and nothing else matters.
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) sugar
- Pinch of table salt
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into four pieces
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon table salt
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups (10.5 ounces) sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
For the pastry cream
Heat the half-and-half in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it just simmers. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and salt until smooth. Add the flour to the yolk mixture and whisk until incorporated. Remove the half-and-half from heat and, whisking constantly, slowly add 1/2 cup to the yolk mixture to temper. Whisking constantly, return tempered yolk mixture to half-and-half in saucepan.
Return saucepan to medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, whisking constantly, 8 minutes.
Increase heat to medium and cook, whisking vigorously, until bubbles burst on surface, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat, whisk in butter and vanilla until butter is melted and incorporated. Strain pastry cream through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Press lightly greased parchment paper directly on surface and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
For the cake
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease 2 cupcake trays (24 total) or place non-stick wrappers in the cups. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl Heat milk and butter in small saucepan over low heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat, add vanilla and cover to keep warm.
In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk eggs and sugar at high speed until light and airy, about 5 minutes. Remove mixer bowl from stand. Add hot milk mixture and whisk by hand until incorporated. Add dry ingredients and whisk until incorporated.
Working quickly, divide batter evenly between the 24 cups – they should be about 3/4 full. Bake until tops are light brown and toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.
Transfer to wire rack and cool completely in pan. Carefully remove them from the papers or the tins.
Cut each cupcake in half. Whisk pastry cream briefly, then spoon on tablespoon of cream onto each cupcake bottom. Using offset spatula, spread evenly to cake edge. Place the top of the cupcake over the cream, making layers line up properly. Refrigerate cupcakes while preparing glaze.
For the glaze
Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove fro heat and add chocolate. Whisk occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Pour glaze onto each cupcake. Use offset spatula to spread glaze to edge of cake. Chill cupcakes 3 hours before serving. Cupcake may be made up to 24 hours before serving.
Yield: 24 cupcakes
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