The intention of this new site was to be more than just a baking blog, but as I’m still trying to figure out the other topics, the first posts are mostly going to be baking related. Can’t see many people complaining about that…
If I was infamous enough to have a signature cupcake, this would be it: a mochi-hybrid cupcake filled with sweet red bean paste and topped with a Swiss meringue buttercream. Yes, it sounds very different, but these are all very common flavors in Asian-inspired baking.
The mochi/red bean combination is reminiscent of a Chinese’s New Years (nian gao) cake. The recipe calls for rice flour (used to make mochi), which gives the cupcake an interesting texture. It’s not quite mochi, but it is much denser and chewier than a regular cupcake, so it’s like a hybrid of the two.
The red bean paste is something that can be made from scratch, but requires many hours of boiling beans. I usually just pick up a can of it (along with the rice flour and matcha powder) from an Asian grocery store.
You can use any frosting recipe here and just add matcha powder, but I like to make these cupcakes a little more indulgent by using a Swiss meringue buttercream base. A Swiss meringue involves whisking the eggs whites in a double boiler so they cook, and then butter is added after the eggs have formed a meringue to make it into a buttercream. It gives the buttercream an amazing satiny texture, as well as form a stable buttercream for frosting.
I had a little trouble this time around with the buttercream. In a rush, I began adding butter to the mixture before the eggs had time to properly whip up. Once the fat hit the eggs, there was no chance that the meringue would form correctly. The result? Lumpy ugly runny buttercream.
Luckily, I was able to salvage the buttercream with a couple of tricks. First, I scooped a bit of the buttercream into a separate bowl and microwaved it for about 15 seconds. The heat smoothed out the lumps and when I added it back to the rest of the frosting and continued stirring, it smoothed out everything else as well.
I also put the buttercream in the fridge for some time to let it cool and stiffen up. This didn’t increase the volume at all, so it wasn’t as fluffy as I wanted it to be, but it did make the buttercream stiff enough to handle and pipe onto my cupcakes.
The cupcakes still turned out beautifully and tasted great – I’ll just have to make the buttercream properly next time so I can pipe bigger, fluffier roses!
Red Bean Green Tea Mochi Cupcakes
Mochi hybrid cupcakes with sweet red bean filling and topped with green tea flavored Swiss meringue buttercream!
- Mochi Cupcakes:
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 1 1/4 cup (250 g) white sugar
- 3 eggs (room temperature)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 box (16 oz) Mochiko Rice Flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup milk (any kind)
- 1/2 cup of canned sweet bean paste (can be found at specialty Asian grocery stores)
- 3 egg whites
- 3/4 cup (150 g) white sugar
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 2-4 Tbsp of green tea (matcha) powder, to taste (can be found at specialty Asian grocery stores)
Green Tea Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line cupcake tins with liners or spray with canola oil.
- Cupcakes: mix canola oil and white sugar in a bowl with a whisk by hand until combined.
- Mix eggs and vanilla extract and keep whisking until smooth.
- Sift rice flour, salt, and baking powder together in a separate bowl.
- Alternate addition of flour mixture and milk – add flour in three additions and the buttermilk in two additions (flour-milk-flour-milk-flour). Flour will clump so use the whisk to break up them up.
- Add 1 1/2 Tbsp of batter, add 1 tsp of red bean paste, and add 1 1/2 Tbsp more batter on top.
- Bake cupcakes for 30-35 minutes until edges are browned. Let cupcakes cool. (They will sink in a little while cooling).
- While cupcakes are cooling, make the buttercream. Boil water in a small saucepan and place your stand mixer bowl on top of it so it forms a double boiler. (Try to not let the bottom of the bowl touch the bottom of the saucepan)
- In the bowl, whisk the egg whites with the sugar. Mixture will become frothy and slowly turn opaque white. The egg whites are ready when you pinch some between your fingers and it feels smooth.
- Transfer contents of the bowl to stand mixer (careful, bowl will be hot!) and use whisk attachment to continue beating the egg whites on medium-high speed while they cool. The egg whites will increase in volume and become shiny and stiff.
- When the bowl has cooled (about 10 minutes), slowly start adding the butter. I would cut the butter in cubes and add a cube every 15 seconds or so. The mixture will start curdling, but that’s okay – keep beating and it will eventually go back to being pretty.
- If the buttercream is too runny, place bowl in fridge for 30 minutes and then continue beating. If the buttercream is too clumpy, take a quarter of the buttercream and microwave it for 15 seconds. Add it back to the buttercream while mixing and it’ll smooth out.
- Once all the butter is added, add the green tea powder. Keep beating until the buttercream is smooth.
- Top cupcakes with the buttercream and enjoy!