A couple of years ago, I entered the 2009 Ice Cream Cupcake Contest with these Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream Cupcakes. After a no-show last year, I'm back with these ginger-vanilla cupcakes filled with pineapple sorbet. I love the idea for this contest - ice cream and cake are already so delicious together, and they're even more fun and cute in cupcake form! Plus, it's always a blast to see what everyone comes up with - there are some really creative combinations!
I came up with this particular combination from The Flavor Bible, which is one of my favorite resources for coming up with new recipes or flavor combinations. It listed ginger and vanilla as flavors that go well with pineapple, which sounded perfect for a summer cupcake. I was actually originally planning to make pineapple ice cream, but when I got home I realized I really didn't want to wait for a custard-based ice cream to cool overnight! I decided sorbet would be easier, faster, and just as delicious, and I was right - this sorbet is super fresh tasting and full of pineapple flavor, and it seriously couldn't be any easier!
The pineapple sorbet is paired with ginger-vanilla cupcakes. I chose the cake recipe to use up the whipped cream I had waiting in the fridge after nixing my original ice cream recipe, and then added ground vanilla and ground ginger. It's an interesting technique - replacing the butter with whipped cream yields a light, tender, and delicious cupcake. When I first tasted the warm cupcakes, I thought the ginger flavor wasn't strong enough, but after they cooled, I decided it was perfect - not too strong, but definitely there and a great complement to the pineapple sorbet. Everything is topped off with a pineapple glaze and a golden raspberry to make for a delicious ice cream cupcake! Thanks to the Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious for hosting the 2011 Ice Cream Cupcake Contest - creating these cupcakes was so much fun, and I can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with! Be sure to check out their posts if you'd like to enter a cupcake (deadline is June 15).
Ginger-Vanilla Cupcakes filled with Pineapple Sorbet
Ginger-Vanilla Cupcakes, recipe below
Pineapple Sorbet, recipe below
Pineapple Glaze, recipe below
Golden raspberries, to decorate
For each cupcake you want to prepare, line a muffin cup with plastic wrap. Slice a cupcake in half, and place the bottom half in the plastic-lined muffin cup. Spread on a generous portion of sorbet, and then top with the top half of the cupcake.
Use the plastic wrap to remove the cupcake from the tin and make sure everything is relatively even. Place the cupcake on a plate. Spoon over some of the pineapple glaze, and then top with a golden raspberry. Serve quickly before it melts!
Ginger-Vanilla Cupcakes (adapted from Rose's Heavenly Cakes)
Makes about 20 cupcakes
2-1/4 cups (8 ounces) cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups cold heavy cream
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 tsp ground vanilla or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 T (8 ounces) sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, ground ginger, and salt. Set aside.
3. Beat the cream using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer (or hand beaters) until stiff peaks form - keep an eye on it and don't overmix!
4. Whisk together the eggs and ground vanilla in a small bowl. With the mixer on medium-low, gradually incorporate the egg mixture into the cream; the consistency should be like mayonnaise. Gradually whisk in the sugar.
5. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add about half of the flour mixture. Fold in by hand using a whisk. Whisk in the remaining flour by hand until no streaks of flour remain.
6. Divide among about 20 muffin tins, lined with cupcake papers. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are browned and a tester comes out clean.
Pineapple Sorbet (adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts)
Makes about 1-1/2 to 2 pints, depending on the size of your pineapple
1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
1. Cut the pineapple into chunks and place in a blender along with any juices. Puree until very smooth.
2. Measure how much pineapple puree you have. For each cup of puree, add 3 T sugar to a small saucepan. Pour in about 1/2 cup of the pineapple puree, and heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. (If you rub a bit between your fingers, it should not feel grainy.)
3. Pour the warm pineapple-sugar puree back into the blender along with the rest of the puree. Add a splash of vodka, if desired. (This will help the sorbet stay soft in the freezer.) Blend again for a few minutes until the puree is as smooth as possible.
4. Pour into a bowl, cover, and chill until very cold. Freeze in an ice cream maker.
2 T butter, softened
2 T pineapple juice, more to taste
Whisk together the butter with about 1/2 cup powdered sugar until it is smooth and no lumps remain. Add another cup of powdered sugar, along with the pineapple juice. Whisk until smooth. Continue to add powdered sugar until you reach a consistency you like. You want the glaze to be stiff enough so it doesn't drip like crazy, but still liquid-y enough to spoon over the cupcakes.