Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cannoli Cupcakes

     I enjoy Pinterest but dang, some of the pictures that go no where really bum me out.  I spent a few weeks searching for cupcake ideas for a baby shower I was baking for.  After looking at dozens of cupcakes I found a pin for a cannoli cupcake I liked the look of and clicked it.  Turned out it lead to a bakery's website and was just an ad for their cannoli cupcakes.  Well, that was a damn shame but at least I had an idea of what I wanted to do.  Narrowing down the kind of cupcake I wanted didn't make things easier because so many of the cannoli cupcakes recipes weren't like something I would find in the North End of Boston.
     "Real Italian cooking is simple with few ingredients,"  I could hear my Nonni saying.   I'd made every component to the cupcake I pinned that had no recipe.  I'd made yellow cupcakes, I'd made cannoli filling, I'd even fried my own cannoli shells.

The recipeless picture.  Not that I don't love a challenge.  Looking at the picture I did think it was a little too plain but nothing some miniature chocolate chips couldn't fix......maybe a ganache too.   The ganache can always be omitted but honestly it's very simple to make. 

Here we go...
For the cannoli cupcakes you essentially need; yellow cupcakes, ganache, ricotta filling, and mini canolli shells.  Mini cannoli shells can be found in the bakery section of some grocery stores or the frozen dessert section.  I found mine at Wegman's.

Ricotta Filling

30 oz. ricotta cheese, DRAINED
1 2/3 C. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla


To drain the cheese place ricotta cheese in a bowl and stir to break up its shape.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours.  Poke some holes in the plastic wrap and pour out the excess liquid.    
In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioner's sugar, and vanilla, and blend until smooth.  Chill until firm.  Use within 24 hours.

*Note* This is a very basic ricotta filling.  If you'd like to add zest, extracts, almonds, pistachios, liquor, or chocolate chips feel free  Just make sure it can fit through the cake decorating tip.  I've listed this first because it needs time to drain and firm. 

Yellow Cupcakes

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 C. cake flour (not self-rising)
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 3/4 C. sugar
4 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 1/4 C. milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 24 cupcake liners in two muffin pans. Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.
Divide batter between the prepared pans, filling each cupcake liner 2/3 full of batter.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then place them on cooling racks until they are completely cooled.        
Makes 24-27 cupcakes
Recipe from Martha Stewart, as seen on The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 C. heavy cream
1/2 T. unsalted butter
6 oz. semisweet  or milk chocolate mini chocolate chips


Heat the heavy cream and the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil.
Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips.  Stir until smooth.

     Once you've got all your components made it's time to assemble. 

1) Take your finished cupcakes and dip the top in the ganache. 

2)  Fill a 16" frosting bag with your ricotta filling.  I used Wilton tip 2D to frost the cupcakes. 
     I piped some in a circle and some like flowers all over the cupcake

3)  Sprinkle the chocolate chips on the cupcakes.  

4)  Gently insert your cannoli shells into the cupcake.  Don't worry, they won't break.  If you prefer not to do that you can always fill the cannoli shells and lay them horizontally across the cupcake.    

5)  Fill the cannoli logs that are on the cupcakes. 

6)  Sprinkle a few chocolate chips on the ricotta filling in the canolli shell. 

7)  Dust with powdered sugar (optional).

Here's what my finished product looked like

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