Difficulty: Medium - experience needed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
3/4 cups whole milk or half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
pinch of salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 ounces semi-sweet or milk chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.
Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl to combine.
In a large bowl using an electric mixer beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Beat in vanilla extract. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down after each addition. Add flour mixture in 4 additions, alternately with the milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture, and beat briefly until smooth on low-medium speed after each addition. Divide batter evenly among cupcake wells. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center shows a few moist crumbs. The center should also spring back when lightly pressed.
Cool pan on wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes and continue cooling on rack.
Heat the milk and vanilla extract in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until warm. Set it aside until itâ€™s cool enough to touch, but still warm In a mixing bowl whisk egg yolks and sugar together until smooth then whisk in flour and salt. Pour the warm milk slowly into the egg mixture whisking constantly. Add the mixture back to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly so the bottom doesnâ€™t scorch. When it starts to bubble cook for 2 minutes longer than strain through a wire strainer into a small bowl to get rid of the lumps. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the cream and refrigerate until completely cool.
When cool use a small pointed knife to cut out the center: insert the knife at an angle halfway between edge and center and cut all the way around. Cut off the end so you have a flat piece of cake. Fill with a heaping tablespoon of pastry cream and top with the flat end. Cover with ganache or fudge frosting (or both).
Heat the heavy cream until boiling, remove from heat and add chocolate, cover and let sit five minutes. Gently stir until chocolate is smooth. If chocolate is still chunky place over low heat and whisk constantly until melted. Use immediately by drizzling over cupcakes.