Happy Birthday Mom!
I made these black licorice chocolate anise cupcakes for my mom's birthday. She absolutely loves black licorice, but is now gluten-free and can't eat licorice without getting sick. (Which sometimes still doesn't stop her.) She said theses were the best gluten-free cupcakes that she's had, and I was really impressed with the (doctored) recipe that I used. I can't wait to try it with chocolate cupcakes so that I can actually enjoy eating these.
They tasted exactly like a NyQuil cupcake. But don't worry, no cough syrup was used in the making of these cupcakes.
Now this recipe uses a bain marie, but don't be scared, it's super easy. All you need is a glass bowl placed over about an inch of water in a pan (it doesn't really matter how much water is in the pan as long as it doesn't touch the bottom of the glass bowl).
Melt your butter and chocolate. I used more chocolate than the recipe called for because, hey, who doesn't want more chocolate, right?
Stir over medium heat until the chocolate and butter is melted.
While it's melting, cream the egg and egg yolks with the sugar.
Mix with a beater until thick and fluffy. The color of the eggs should change to a light whitish yellow after 2-3 minutes.
Carefully fold the eggs into the melted chocolate and butter mixture, adding in the cocoa powder and the flavoring (vanilla for a normal chocolate cake, I used anise oil here for the black licorice).
Stir as carefully as possible, as you want the eggs to remain light and fluffy to give the cake an airy texture.
I cut the original recipe into fourths because I knew these would only be for my mom (who else likes black licorice cupcakes, yuck!). I really liked the idea of only making a few cupcakes at a time. Four seemed like the perfect amount to eat and share. I also filled these really full because I was worried they wouldn't rise much without any flour or baking soda/powder.
The recipe said to bake at 375 for 20 minutes, and I had wished that I used a lower temperature. They tops cracked pretty quickly and I think they'd bake a bit more uniformly at 325-350.
I was worried that the tops might be burnt because they seemed a bit darker that the centers.
But the cupcakes were actually really good. The anise wasn't overpowering and the top had a nice crunchy, almost brownie-like texture. Again, most likely from being over baked, but I honestly didn't mind.
Next I started on the ganache. I wished that I hadn't made the ganache because it really wasn't necessary, but I really wanted to use my new cupcake corer from Christmas. I used these frozen half and half cubes from before, and the rest of the semi-sweet chocolate chips.
I decided not to measure and simply used about two handfuls of the chips and four blocks of half and half ice cubes.
Melt the half and half and bring the mixture to a boil. The cream will boil very quickly once it gets up to temperature so watch it closely once the mixture begins to bubble.
Once boiling, pour the cream into the bowl of chocolate chips. It won't seem like enough but it should just barely cover the chips.
Let the chips sit for about 5 minutes and then stir. The ganache should be thick, but silky smooth. If some of the chips have not melted or the ganache is too thick you can microwave the ganache for 5 seconds to help achieve the right consistency.
This is my new cupcake corer. Isn't it cute? I was so excited to use it.
All you do is push down into the center of the cupcake and it makes the perfect hole for cupcake fillings.
Just spoon the ganache into the center.
Easy enough, right?
The frosting was surprisingly good, despite the anise flavoring. I'll post the recipe next just in case anyone ever wants to make black licorice cupcakes. Keep in mind you could use any flavored oil, peppermint, butterscotch, watermelon. Anything you wanted.
My nice new 1M cupcake tip was too large for my normal size couplers.
So I just used the tip by itself and it worked just fine. I really like the 1M tip, it makes a perfect cupcake swirl.
Start with a small rose-like swirl just covering the base of the cupcake. By stopping after the first layer you ensure that the frosting swirl will be centered on the cupcake and won't lean to one side or the other.
Build up the next two layers of the swirl, releasing pressure at the top to make a nice peak. It almost looks like soft serve ice cream, doesn't it? Don't worry, this frosting isn't sickly sweet, and the huge mound of frosting was silky and a nice balance to the cake, despite how much there was.
I decided to add another cupcake liner to show off how cute they were. It adds a bit more color to the cupcakes I think.
At a local baking store, I bought these royal icing flowers and the anise oil. I think I'm going to start working on making my own royal icing decorations to use, but for only a few dollars I couldn't pass these up.
I placed the flower on the side of the cupcake, almost like having a flower behind your ear.
I tried a few different angles. The first one smashed the top of the cupcake a bit too much for my taste.
All three were slightly different. I think the one on the right was my favorite of the three.
So easy but still so cute.
I wished that I hadn't cracked that one open to try so that I would have a nice group of four.
Oh well. What can you do. Better to be safe than to have burnt cupcakes, right?
They really did taste eerily similar to NyQuil, which I think made my mom only like them more.
Happy Birthday Mom! Hope you have a great day!