Monday, November 9, 2009

Pistachio Cream Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

I started a cake decorating class last week. Have no fear, I am not leaving the world of cuppies behind. I really just want to learn how to make those frosting roses. I'm left handed and it's just so difficult to follow those videos online! Plus I am sure that there are other nifty things that I'll learn. Like how to make a cake.... since I have never done that before.

Anyway, in my search of a cake recipe, I found a yummy (challenging) Martha Stewart recipe for White-Chocolate Pistachio Cake. It's meant to be a wedding cake, so I changed it around a little bit to make it less complicated. I made a lovely 8" round cake to decorate at my class as well as 18 lovely cupcakes!

Again, since I made a cake and cupcakes, I don't exactly know how many cupcakes you will get if you make just cupcakes, although I imagine it would be around 3 dozen. OK, actually I have no idea. I am too tired to do the math.

Pistachio Sponge Cupcakes - From Martha Stewart - Makes 11 cups of batter
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 10 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup finely chopped unsalted pistachios
1. Set oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
2. Get those pistachios in order! I happened to accidentally buy salted pistachios. Have no fear! There is a very easy way to remove the salt from your pistachios and peel away the skin. Simply place the pistachios (shelled) in a bowl of water. This will both remove the salt and (even if you purchased unsalted nuts) loosen up the flaky casing around the pistachio. Leave it in about 30 minutes. Remove from the water. Squeeze the pistachios between your fingers and the casing should rub right off! If this doesn't work, leave them out for a little bit and try again. Ooooh! Pretty green nuts. Chop them up in a food processor.

Mmmm... pistachios. Yes, this is a repeat photo from Bollywood Cupcakes.

3. Put the flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Mix together with a whisk.
4. Put the egg yolks and your sugar in a large bowl. Beat on low speed with a whisk attachment for about 15 minutes until the mixtures is pale and thick. Ugh, I wish that I had a standing mixer!
5. In a different small bowl, beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. This also will feel like an eternity. It took me about 10 minutes.
5. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the stiff egg whites into the yolk mixture. Your entire mixture should expand with all of the egg whites, so you will be glad that you used a large bowl.
6. Fold in the flour. Be sure that it's completely mixed.
7. Lastly, stir in those chopped up pistachios.
8. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter. Bake for about 14-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
9. Let your cupcakes cool on a rack.

Oooo! They look so pretty and happy sitting in their little tartan-esque cupcake skirts. Honestly, it wasn't the best cupcake that I have tasted. Definitely not something that you would want to eat plain....

But wait.... something is missing....

Oooooo yes. Frosting! And filling! That will make these babies delicioso!

The original recipe is for a layer cake and requires all sorts of fancy things in the layers, including white chocolate mousse and pistachio cream. That is all too complicated for a cupcake. I decided that since the cake isn't all that pistachio-y to keep the pistachio cream. And since I wasn't going to do white chocolate mousse, I decided to skip buttercream frosting and go for a white chocolate frosting.

Pistachio Cream - From Martha Stewart - Makes 2 1/2 cups
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened pistachio paste (I found mine at Whole Foods in the baking section)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Beat together pistachio paste and cream together with a whisk attachment on medium-high speed until well mixed and smooth.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours in an airtight container. Overnight works perfectly!
  3. All the mixture to get to room temperature. Mix again on medium-high speed until the mixture thickens a little (the mixture should stick to your beater when you lift it out of the mixture and leave a little whimpy peak).
Sadly, I left my camera in Jordan's car and I have no pictures of my beautiful pistachio cream.... or how I filled them on the inside. Sad.

To fill your cuppies with pistachio cream:
I used a sharp knife (like a paring knife) to cut a little cone out of the top of the cupcake. There are some good visual instructions here. You could even just use a spoon to scoop out a piece of the cupcake form the top, so long as it comes out in once piece so that it can be replaced. Next, place a small spoonful of your pistachio cream in the crater you just made in the cupcake. Carefully place the piece of cupcake that was removed back. It's ok if it's messy as you will cover up the top with frosting.

White Chocolate Frosting - Adapted from Diana's Desserts - Makes enough to cover approximately 18 cupcakes
  • 4oz white chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 1 3/4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  1. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. You want to stir constantly to make sure that the white chocolate does not burn. Once it is melted, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream the butter until fluffy with an electric mixer
  3. Add the confectioners sugar, milk and vanilla. Mix on low-medium speed until well combined.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the cooled white chocolate. If it is too hot you will melt the butter!
  5. If the mixture is not stiff enough, put it in the refrigerator to firm it up.

Aaaaahhhhhh. You can top them with some of the extra cute pistachios, like I did above. Yummy! The very sweet filling and frosting was a nice complement to the sponge cake.


  1. How did you scale this down? Or did 11 cups of batter equal the cupcakes and the single layer cake?


  2. Hi Beth!

    The 11 cups of batter made the cupcakes and the layer cake. I bed that you could half the recipe and still end up with a fair number of cupcakes.

  3. HI Beth

    Thanks for sharing! Where can I find the cupcake liners?



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