The man in the picture at the top of this post is my dear Uncle Joe who passed away just before Christmas. He was a wonderful and kind man who we loved dearly. Family was everything to Joe, he was someone all of us could count on for anything. He was truly a treasure and we miss him very much.
Joe was a very successful and gifted baker and his Italian heritage led to many delicious pastries and desserts that his family enjoyed, especially around the holidays. Because of his love for baking and everything Italian, I decided to honor Joe by dedicating this post to him and by baking an Italian treat.
I am making Piccoli Torta al Caffe con Copertura alla Mousse al Cioccolato which is Mocha Cupcakes with Chocolate Mousse Frosting. I adapted this recipe from one I found at a wonderful blog called Grace’s Sweet Life.
Okay Joe, this one’s for you:
First, as usual, I gathered my ingredients. Since this recipe called for cake flour, I sifted it along with the other dry ingredients.
Next, I dissolved espresso powder into freshly brewed espresso and melted the bittersweet chocolate (actually, I used semisweet this time – just because). I creamed butter and added granulated and brown sugar. When this was mixed, I added the eggs.
Finally, I added in the dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk and then the espresso, chocolate and vanilla paste.
The batter was luxurious..these had to be good! I hoped they would turn out better than the last mocha cupcakes I made.
Here they are out of the oven. They looked and smelled amazing!
The frosting for these cupcakes is an Italian mousse frosting. Not for the faint of heart….the eating or the preparing!
For the frosting, I started by melting semisweet chocolate. Next, I combined water and granulated sugar and boiled this mixture until it reached 243 degrees.
Meanwhile, I beat 4 egg yolks in a mixer until they were pale, thick and creamy and then slowly poured the boiled sugar syrup into the yolks and beat this mixture at high speed until it was thick and cooled. At this point, I stirred in the melted and cooled chocolate.
Next, I beat heavy whipping cream to medium peaks and then added this to the chocolate/yolk mixture – first whisking in 1/3 of the mixture and then gently folding in the remaining cream.
Not done yet! Next, I passed this mousse mixture through a fine mesh sieve into another bowl…yeah, it was a real pain- but necessary to get this frosting really, really smooth. It was worth it, believe me!
Here is the final product. They were scrumptious, much better than the mocha cupcakes I made last time. The chocolate flavor was dark and intense with just a hint of coffee at the very end. But, that hint made the chocolate flavor even better. And the frosting…omg!! Forget about it, astonishingly good!
Until we meet again Joe, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.