Before I go on and on about the glory of these cupcakes, I have to mention how excited I am that CSN Stores has asked me to review a product from one of their websites. They have over 200 online stores where you can find everything from nesting tables to fitness equipment to cookware (personally, I’m all for the cookware). I can’t wait to show you what I do with my new apple peeler/corer/transformer. Look for the post soon!
And now for the cupcakes.
This past weekend celebrated my birthday, first dinner with friends on Saturday and then dim-sum with family on Sunday (my actual birthday). Since I always make birthday cakes for my friends and somehow never for myself, I decided this was the year.
So, as you all know, I looked around and asked you all for help and I ended up with two front-runners. Both of which looked delicious. Both of which came with good references. Both of which I had to make at some point in time except I wanted both of them NOW.
So that’s what I did.
I made one full recipe for my birthday dinner and one half recipe transformed into cupcake version for after dim-sum food coma. (PS Is my family the only family who eats themselves into coma at dim-sum?)
I had been staying in NYC for an elective month when I came across this recipe for Black Pearl Cake on epicurious. The inspiration for it is a Vosges Haut-Chocolat bar and as I read up on the recipe I realized I had just picked up a bar by the same company at the Whole Foods I happened to live next door to at the time. So what did I do? I ran right over to Whole Foods again and looked for the Black Pearl bar in question. And what do you know?
What’s in this elusive Black Pearl bar/cake?
Chocolate. Lots of it.
Black sesame seeds.
I know it sounds strange but it’s actually a wonderful combination of flavors. The spices are subtle and yet very much present. Anyone who tastes it can’t identify what makes the chocolate taste so rich and delicious but if you tell them what it is they’re able to suddenly taste every ingredient and it becomes even more delectable with every bite.
If you’re looking for a cake to wow a crowd, this is it. It’s a bit involved with multiple components but worth every bit of effort. Also, I was afraid as I made and tasted the ganache that it would be too much flavor and/or “kick” because I took the advice of other users and used wasabi paste and doubled the amount. However, a little bit of it with a lot of cake created the perfect balance. I may have forgotten to use the ginger syrup to coat the cakes for added moisture. I think this could help as the cake is a tad bit dry but it isn’t necessary. It’s up to you. I do, however, definitely recommend using the whole amount of ground ginger for the whipped topping suggested in the recipe as I turned mine down a bit and the flavor was barely there in the end.
Coincidentally the theme for Regional Recipes this month is Japan so this recipe is perfect for it! Yay!
adapted from epicurious
- 3 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 6 tbsp heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp wasabi paste
- 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
- 1/2 tbsp corn syrup
- 1 tbsp butter, room temperature
- 1/2 c water
- 1/4 c sugar
- 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into matchstick-size strips
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 c boiling water
- 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 c + 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 c + 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 c chilled heavy cream
- 3 tbsp powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- black sesame seeds for garnish