“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” - Shel Silverstein

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Glamorous Gourmet - Kentucky Derby Pie Cupcakes (Wanna Be Gigi's)

Ok so here's what happened. I was browsing through pinterest quite aimlessly when I stumbled upon a pin for "Kentucky Derby Cupcakes". The picture made me want to lick the monitor! YUM! So I repinned and moved on to crochet ideas, home decor and the occasional outfit. Less than 28 days later (wink) I WANTED something sinful to soothe my soul. Immediately, I thought of the luscious picture. A dark cake topped with white creamy goodness, a sprinkling of nuts and dripping with what could only be caramel and chocolate. I mean LOOK AT IT!

So I happily clicked to see what it was going to take to make these babies MINE and what?!?! It's a link to the website for Gigi's Cupcakes. DIE pinterest you have failed me! No recipe. Just that picture and a taunting description of what this level of heaven contained. Never deterred I Googled the crud out of it. I seached high and low for a copycat Gigi's Cupcakes Kentucky Derby Pie Cupcakes Recipe. Nada. Zip. Absolutely nothing!

To add to my pain, there isn't an actual Gigi's Cupakes store within a two hour drive of my house. I have never been to one, nor have I ever tasted the cupcakes which had become the object of my lust. So armed with the description I set out to find a way to blindly recreate this thing. Now, I've already confessed that I have never tasted the original. Therefore, this can't really be called a "copycat" recipe...yet. It's just a wanna be, BUT it is delicious! My husband is a self professed cake hater and in spite of himself had to declare this recipe the champion of everything, EVERYTHING in my extremely varied repertoire of baked treats. Now if anyone has actually had the real Gigi's Cupcake please let me know how this stacks up in the comments section. But you won't likely be disappointed even if the taste is different because it's still freakin' amazing! Well worth the effort.

So here we go with the recipe:

The Cake
adapted from this recipe

3 cups minus 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) butter
1½ cups (10½ ounces) granulated sugar
½ cup (3¾ ounces) firmly packed brown sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup Jim Beam Kentucky Bourbon (YEAH! Baking with Booze Baby!) *a 375ml bottle will last about 3 recipes*

1 tablespoon white vinegar
Enough milk to make 1 cup
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips

Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin pan or use paper liners. To make the cake, sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, soda, and salt in a bowl, then whisk the mixture by hand to ensure that the ingredients are well mixed.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. As you make the batter, stop the mixer frequently and scrape the paddle and the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Blend in the eggs one at a time. Place the tablespoon of vinegar into a glass measuring cup and fill to the one cup line with milk. Let that sit until it thickens slightly and is curdy (about 5 minutes). Combine the bourbon and milk mixture in a small bowl. Feel free to have a nip of bourbon at this point be sure to leave some though ;) With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk-bourbon mixture in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour. After each addition, mix until just barely blended and stop and scrape the bowl. Stop the mixer before the last of the flour has been incorporated and complete the blending by hand with a rubber spatula. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips. Now I know you're going to lick the bowl and probably make a face (unless you've been hitting the bottle and can hang like us Georgia girls!). I promise the bourbon mellows in the oven ;) In fact, it gets so mellow you'll need to make a bourbon glaze to top the cakes with!

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup about 2/3 of the way. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the cake is golden and springs back when touched, 20 minutes.

In the meantime, make the bourbon glaze. Don't skip it or skimp on it or there won't be any dang Kentucky in your cupcakes! In which case, you may as well not even bother. Seriously.

Bourbon glaze

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter
¾ cup (5¼ ounces) granulated sugar (or brown if you like)
¼ cup Jim Beam Kentucky Bourbon (Yup more booze!)

Combine the butter, sugar and bourbon in a small saucepan over low heat just until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, whisking to combine. Now understand the less you cook it the more alcohol is retained in the glaze. Theoretically  you could cook the sugar and butter then just stir in the bourbon; but if you're serving kids you might feel impelled to really cook the stuff...maybe.

Remove from oven and turn the cupcakes out of the pan. Place on a baking sheet and perforate the tops with a fork. Brush each generously with bourbon glaze while still warm.

Now while those all cool, it's time for...


Make your life a tad easier and buy some caramel topping like Smucker's or something.

Chop some more pecans.

Cream Cheese Frosting 

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter softened
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar

Basically, just mix it all together in a bowl. Start with 3 cups of sugar and if you want it thicker add more until the desired consistency is achieved. Thicker will do better when you add on the other toppings. You may want to refrigerate this until your ready to use it

Chocolate Ganache

8oz bitter-sweet baking chocolate chopped (or roughly what's left in your bag of mini chips)
1 cup of heavy cream

Bring the cream to a simmer on the stove top. Place chocolate into a heatproof bowl and pour simmering cream over top. Let it sit to melt a bit then whisk it up until it's combined. Now this stuff doesn't thicken much at room temperature so you need it to be a nice drizzling consistency while it's still warm. If it isn't add more chocolate. Ok, that can sit out and cool.

Time to frost these lovelies! I use a sandwich bag with the corner cut off, but a spoon would work too! Once frosted, drizzle with caramel. Put the ganache in a sandwich bag and cut the corner off or take your chances with a fork and drizzle over the cakes. Finally, sprinkle with chopped pecans unless your serving Mr. Picky then leave 'em off like I did here :p

The remaining booze is yours to do with as you wish ;) Now go eat some cupcakes!