Milk Chocolate Filled Doughnut Cupcakes
I have to admit that I’m a little bit afraid of yeast. Recipes that call for yeast always seem so complicated – kneading, then resting, then coming back looking double or triple the size and then the whole punching down business…horror stories of the dough spilling out over the pan and crawling across the counter and taking over your kitchen….it all seems like putting yeast in stuff causes dough to act like some unruly monster that is impossible to tame.
In reality, I’m sure it’s not that complicated and my fear (as with most fears) is more about facing the unknown than it is about The Yeast. For my first yeast-related baking project, therefore, I found what may be the World’s Easiest Yeast-Involved Recipe. There’s no proofing, waiting, doubling or punching. In fact, I’m not exactly sure what the yeast did for this recipe. All I know is that I used 1/2 teaspoon of it and got over my yeast-related fears.
The original recipe called for a jam filling but since I take the opportunity to swap out fruit for chocolate any chance I get, I decided to wing it with the filling and used up what was in my refrigerator. Which happened to be 5 oz of cream cheese and a cup of Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips. There’s no rhyme or reason to the ratios of the filling recipe other than that’s what I happened to have around. I much prefer playing around with food this way than being a slave to the recipe don’t you?
Anyway, I was going to call them Milk Chocolate Cheesecake Filled Doughnut Cupcakes but then I thought, that’s just overkill. How many different desserts do I really need to reference in one recipe, right?
The end result was mixed. I have to say, I did good on the filling. I am now of the belief that a little vanilla extract creates infinite magic in sweet stuff that’s indescribable. A little vanilla and a tablespoon of sugar was enough to sweeten the cream cheese before the addition of the already-sweet melted milk chocolate.
The cake part of the cupcake, I’m not so sure about. It tasted a little dry and eggy to me, and it really didn’t remind me of a doughnut at all. Maybe the yeast didn’t do its job? It did provide a slightly bread-like, springy texture but…anyway, suffice to say I was underwhelmed. Clearly, I still have so much to learn about yeast.
[Update: I actually loved how this tasted the next day. The flavors had a chance to settle and it tasted great, and fresh too. I should have disregarded the original recipe's suggestion that you "serve the cakes warm". Bad idea.]
The best part was the melted butter with the CINNAMON SUGAR sprinkled on top. Incidentally, I am also of the belief that a little cinnamon sugar can make even a dry wannabe doughnut taste pretty darn good.
Here’s my makeshift filling recipe. By the way, this makes way too much filling for this recipe, so you should probably halve it. Or make the whole batch and just eat the rest with a spoon. Or spread it on toast, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Or fill crepes with it. You get the idea. There’s never too much.
Milk Chocolate Filled Doughnut Cupcakes
(Adapted from Indulgence Cupcakes by Christabel Martin)
Makes 12 cupcakes.
For The Filling:
1 cup milk chocolate chips
5 oz. cream cheese, cut into pieces
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 Teaspoon vanilla
Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler over simmering water. Cool. Meanwhile, cream together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until light and smooth. Pour the cooled chocolate into the cream cheese mixture and mix until well blended. Refrigerate until firm, or until ready to use. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes if mixture is too firm prior to using.
For The Cupcakes:
1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon dried yeast
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 12 cup standard muffin pan with paper liners.
Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl and make a well in the center. Put the milk, eggs, vanilla and yeast in a jug (or large measuring cup) and whisk to combine. Pour into the well in dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Divide half the mixture evenly among the paper liners. Top each with 1 teaspoon of the milk chocolate cream cheese filling, then cover with the remaining mixture. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake part.
Brush a little melted butter over each cake, then dip it into the cinnamon sugar (or sprinkle on top). Serve the cakes warm.