Tiramisu Cupcakes aka Heaven

If any of you know me, you'll know I have one true "foodie love". Its not one of the usual suspects: chocolate (ok- it might be in a tie with chocolate...), cheese, red wine, etc... Nope- mine is COFFEE. I love it in all forms: straight up with a little cream & sugar, lattes, cappuccinos, flavored, hot, cold. If its made from that heavenly bean, I want it. A few weeks ago, I went to PF Changs for dinner and ordered one of their "Tiramisu Dessert Minis" (think of a layered tiramisu trifle in a large shot glass- a perfect 3-bite dessert). Since then, I haven't been able to get tiramisu out of my head. But I mean, can you blame me- coffee, rum, mascarpone cheese, whipped cream, chocolate....yum!

So for this week's dessert, I'm whipping up ProjectCupcake.com's Tiramisu Cupcake. Before I get into the actual recipe, I just have to add- if you like cupcakes, check out this woman's blog. On a whim, she offered to make cupcakes for a friend's wedding having never baked a cupcake before and strangely enough, they accepted her offer. Each week, she created a new flavor and they picked their 3 favorites. An amazing blog and 2 more weddings later, she comes up with awesome cupcake ideas. I'm sure this will not be the last of her recipes I try out :)

Before I begin, this recipe is sort of a 2-parter. First you'll have to bake home-made ladyfingers into cupcake tins and then you'll have to whip up the coffee/rum/cream goodness to go on top

How Long is This Gonna Take:
1.5-2 hours, however not all is active time (baking the lady fingers, allowing some mixtures to chill for an hour). No suggested time was given.

What You'll Need:For the Ladyfingers
4 eggs, separated
2 tbsp + 2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

For the Tiramisu Goodness6 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup milk (recommend 2% or whole...no reason to try to be all healthy with skim or 1%)
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 lb mascarpone cheese
1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
2 tbsp rum (I actually used kahlua, a coffee-flavored liquor)
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
a small amount of dark chocolate for decorative chocolate curls (I also wanted to use some chocolate-covered coffee beans on top as well, but couldn't find any in the store)

What To Do:1. We're going to start mixing up some of the "tiramisu goodness", but preheat over to 400F in preparation for baking the ladyfingers. In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil gently for 1 minute, remove from heat, and allow to slightly cool.

2. Cover tightly and chill in fridge for 1 hour. During this cooling time, we're going to make the ladyfingers. Line a 12 cupcake tin with liners

A couple notes about this: 1. this recipe can be used to make just a traditional tiramisu cake. For that, all you need is a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. 2. Due to the cake-to-filling ratio of the finished product, this dessert quite can't be called a cupcake. When eating, I actually left it in the wrapper and ate it with a fork. Because of this, I recommend some sturdy cupcake liners or bake them in small ramekins instead as just a bit of the liner will be filled with actual cake and much will be the aforementioned creamy, tiramisu goodness. I will most likely be taking the ramekin route next time

3. Place egg whites in a bowl and beat on high until soft peaks start to form. Your electric mixer is your friend! (My kitchen aid stand mixer and I are pals after this dessert. hehe) Slowly add 2 tbsp of sugar and continue beating until stiff and glossy.

4. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks and remaining sugar. Whip until thick and very pale in color.

5. In a third (small) bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder.

6. Fold half the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture. The fold in flour mixture. The add the remaining egg white mixture. (The more you stir, the more air you incorporate into the mixture and the more puffy your lady fingers will bake up to)

7. If you're looking to just make regular tiramisu not in cupcake form, transfer mixture to a pastry bag with a plain 1/2 round tube (aka a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off) and pipe ladyfinger-esque strips onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. For the cupcakes, just divide evenly among the cups (The recipe said it would make 12, but considering how much they puffed up during baking, I would say you could stretch it to 18. Basically you only want cake about half way up after its done baking because you want room on top within the rest of the liner to fill with the cheese/cream mixture)

8. Bake for 8 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature. Because mine did puff up quite a bit, I pseudo-hollowed them out to allow for the filling. Also not a terrible idea to chop the top off as it will absorb the coffee/rum in Step 11 better.
                                                 Before                                          After
Hard to tell, but there are basically divots carved out of the cupcake to allow for coffee and filling

9. Now back to the topping. After the yolk/sugar/milk mix has cooled for its hour, remove from the fridge and whisk in mascarpone until smooth. Set aside

10. In a medium bowl, beat heavy cream with vanilla until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

11. In a small bowl, combine coffee and rum (or kahlua). Drizzle approx 1 tbsp + 2 tsp of the coffee mixture over each ladyfinger cup. Add it a little at a time and wait for it to absorb into the ladyfinger before adding more. When it stops absorbing, stop adding.

12. Spread the mascarpone mixture over the soaked ladyfingers. Fill a Ziploc "piping bag" with the cream mixture and pipe on top of the mascarpone.

13. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and add chocolate curls/beans. A great hint from projectcupcake about making curls: Make the curls using a veggie peeler on a piece of chocolate. It works best if the chocolate is slightly warm, but not melty.

14. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.

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