Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are probably at least vaguely aware of the phenomenon that is the Twilight series of books (and now movies as well). Our babysitter has three wonderful daughters of her own, and they are quite the Twilight fans – especially the eldest daughter, Cassie. She looooves it. In fact, her enthusiasm for it encouraged me to check it out. I am currently in the middle of the second book, New Moon, and it is safe to say I now love Twilight too.
So, when I heard that Cassie had a birthday coming up, I knew I wanted to do something with a Twilight theme for her. My mind immediately went to these cupcakes and I thought they would be just right. Pure white cake (pale like a vampire, obviously), blood red (cherry) filling, and white chocolate cream cheese frosting – yes!!! These turned out just as I had hoped and were really not difficult to make, just slightly time consuming but no more than any other filled cupcake. I was more concerned about look than flavor in this situation and I wasn’t sure if the flavors I had chosen would really complement each other, but they definitely did. These were very tasty, and definitely a hit with the birthday girl and her family.
Yield: 14 cupcakes
For the cake:
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
For the filling:
1 can cherry pie filling
For the frosting:
7 oz. pure white chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 14 cups of muffin tins with paper liners.
In a small bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir together with a fork. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar and butter and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the egg whites one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions. Stir in the vanilla extract. Add in the dry ingredients in three additions alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir just until combined, being careful not to overmix.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
To prepare the filling, puree the can of cherry pie filling using an immersion blender, blender, or food processor.
Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, cut a cone out of the center of each using a small paring knife. Cut off the point side of each cone, leaving a thin disc of cake to replace over the filling. Spoon just enough of the cherry filling into the hole to fill it, and cover by replacing the disc of cake on top. Repeat with remaining cupcakes.
To prepare the frosting, in a double boiler, melt the white chocolate, stirring constantly, until smooth and creamy. Let stand until just warm to the touch. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until smooth and blended. Add the melted chocolate and beat again until smooth.
Frost the cupcakes immediately. Using a bamboo skewer dipped in the left over cherry filling, poke two holes into the top of each cupcake to resemble bite marks. Trace a line of cherry filling from each hole to the edge of the cupcake to resemble dripping blood. Repeat with remaining cupcakes.
If stored in the refrigerator, allow to come to room temperature before serving.