as i took my post-war shower , i could hear “big yellow taxi” playing in my head…. it seems this endeavor was the blueberry muffins’ way of showing me how good i had it a mere two days prior. for that, i would like to share the following:
dear browned butter blueberry muffins,
i take back all those things i said. you were a good recipe. you were not difficult to make, and the results were good.i hope my next baked good is a lot like you.
with deep regret, sunday
-whew-, now that i got that off my chest i can proceed to describe the atrocity that was the boston cream pie cupcake making. let me start off by saying that i was mislead: i was browsing through smellslikehome’s baking blog and found what claimed to be the famous parker house hotel’s boston cream pie recipe. i took this as true, and decided to turn it into cupcake form instead so that i could easily share at work.
i have made lots of cakes that required me to make the base, a filling, and an icing, so i did not anticipate that this would be any trouble. i made the batter without issue, popped those into the oven and got started on the custard. i think it was a fairly typical custard…it tasted okay, so no complaints. ding! the first round of cupcakes was ready to come out of the oven (after having to extend it a few extra minutes a couple times) and what’s that? is that biscuits i smell? when i saw buttermilk in the cake recipe i should have known that these would be a bit more biscuity than cupcakey… but the good news is that i can use this for strawberry shortcake in the future if the spongecake i plan to use doesn’t work out. and i believe i will use either a spongecake or eclair type batter next time i make these! (which was my intention until i found this recipe)
it wasn’t until i was making the ganache that i started to loathe this recipe. up until then i wasn’t ecstatic, but i was moving along quite quickly with no problems. the first couple steps were going splendidly… i had myself a nice little glob of chocolate that separated nicely from the sides, just like the recipe said. i removed it from the heat and added the additional ingredients, mixing well, just like it said. once well combined i found myself with a bowl full of powder. i have a decent amount of experience with ganache (i have tried a good 10+ recipes and used it for countless cakes, cookies, and candies), and this, my friend, was NOT ganache. i opened the recipe again to make sure i didnt somehow copy it wrong. It says, and I quote (as implied by the quotation marks, of course) “You will need to beat the mixture very well for it to liquify.” le sigh. okay, back to trying to turn powder into liquid. (i am pretty sure turning water into wine would have been easier)
it didn’t say anything about transferring the chocolate from a saucepan to a bowl so i was doing this by hand. after my arm and shoulder began crying out in agony i decided to bust out the hand mixer (the stand mixer was still covered in cake batter). as you can imagine, inserting whirling metal objects into a shallow saucepan of powder is not the best idea, but frankly at this point i did not care. my counters, floors, and self were covered in chocolate dust…. i had a pan full of what now resembled chocolate shavings… and, yes, i even was screaming at it to turn into a liquid already!!! i let out another sigh, washed the bowl for the stand mixer and made the transfer. i put on the splash guard thingy, attached the whisk, and let that baby fly. nothing! at this point i was too exhausted and frustrated to shout. i did a google search for “parker house hotel boston cream pie” to see if maybe the site i got it from forgot to mention putting it back over the heat or got the measurements wrong. :::gasp!!::: this recipe wasn’t even remotely similar to the real recipe! theirs uses no buttermilk. a different custard. theirs uses a completely different ganache! what on earth is going on here? is someone trying to pull a fast one on me? i will give this woman the benefit of the doubt and assume they have changed their recipe over the years….
after this revelation i decided that enough is enough. i knew this stuff needed to go back on the stove, and i knew it needed more milk. i had tried to play nice with the recipe, but now it was my turn to do the right thing. within 30 seconds i had beautiful ganache of the perfect consistency… spreadable, yet pourable. ahhh!!!
when all was said and done, i used up more pots, pans, bowls, utensils, mixers, racks, etc than i would have possibly imagined just a short two hours earlier…and was attempting to somehow fit my entire kitchen into the dishwasher.
so, now that the custard was more than cooled, i put it inside the cupcakes, smothered them in ganache– by the way, i had the exact perfect amount, so it did not matter than i sprayed half of it all over my kitchen, placed them in the cupcake carrier, rested it gently into the fridge, and dragged myself upstairs and into a well deserved shower. the end.
(side note: so far, the reviewers at work have proclaimed “not too biscuity”, “delicious”, “unique, unexpected–in a good way– combination of flavor and texture”, “so good”, and “awesome”. so at least all of the trouble was worth it! next time though, i am trusting my instincts from the start!)
Boston Cream Pie
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk or sour milk
- 4 egg whites (reserve 2 egg yolks for filling)
- Grease and flour two 9″ cake pans. Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixer bowl. Add shortening, butter or margarine, vanilla and buttermilk or sour milk. Blend on low speed of mixer then beat on 2 minutes on medium speed. Add egg whites and beat 2 additional minutes. Pour into cake pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. (25 to 30 minutes is more appropriate – my cakes cooked a little too long)Cool for ten minutes; remove from pans.
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp vanilla (I used closer to 1 1/2 or 2 tsp – taste it before adding too much)
- Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan. Gradually add milk and egg yolks; blend well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils; boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat; blend in butter and vanilla. Cool 1o minutes. (The cream would be better off thoroughly chilled – 10 minutes is not enough time.) Spoon onto one cake layer; carefully top with remaining layer. Prepare Cocoa Glaze (Ganache).
For the ganache, I will not even post the horrendous recipe they listed… use whichever chocolate ganache recipe you prefer. I didn’t keep track of how much of what I added… I was too frustrated, sorry!
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