Sunday, December 19, 2010

Brotherly Love: Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge #6

This month's Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge, in true holiday spirit, challenged us to create a cupcake "for someone special." Well, my brother just came home from college for the holidays, and I knew just what to make for him. His favorite thing in the world is meringue, and he also loves chocolate and nutella, so when I came across this cake I knew he would love it. It also fits his personality - he may have a rather scruffy exterior, but inside he's a softie and very sweet.

Now the challenge was to make it into cupcake form! After some trial and error (I could only bake 12 at a time, and the second batch turned out much better after I learned from the first one) I made some darn good cupcakes, if I do say so myself. (Sorry for the not-so-great pictures. It was rather late by the time I finished them so the lighting was bad and I didn't have time to make a good setup before everyone demanded cupcakes!)

For the first batch, I didn't bake them long enough because I was too afraid to overcook the cupcakes, so to brown the meringue I broiled them for 1-2 minutes, which led to sunken brown meringue (on the right). For the 2nd batch, I baked them a few minutes longer. The meringue sank less and was a better texture, and the cupcakes were still moist and delicious.
I should also mention that my aunt flew in from Switzerland yesterday, and she loves hazelnuts, so these are really for two special people. Or three, because I showed my dad the cake and he was thrilled that I would be making such a rich chocolatey dessert. I added whipped cream because my brother loves whipped cream almost as much as meringue, and what's a cupcake without some sort of frosting? I must say, the vanilla whipped cream complements these rich cupcakes extremely well.

The final product was a rich, moist, flourless chocolate cupcake topped with a light, crispy meringue full of hazelnut and chocolate pieces, topped with a dollop of lightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream.

My brother was pretty happy.