These go with the Amaretto Orange Cake Balls that I made for a friend's party. I wanted her to have a little variety and I wanted to try out an idea. I think the idea is good but needs work to get to a really workable point. The finished product tasted good but good isn't good enough. I wanted them to taste spectacular. These will most definitely be on my menu, so to speak, because I think the idea and the flavor combinations are really solid .... it's just the details that need work.
First of all, the cupcake itself was a big let down! I used a recipe from a book that I will not name because it has let me down time and again. If you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all, right? These were the driest cupcakes in the history of mankind. They had about a drop more moisture than sand. Not beach sand either, I'm talking about desert sand. Fortunately I had planned a soaking syrup for them. I made a syrup from water, sugar, amaretto and orange juice and dipped each one in this and then let them dry in a warm oven. (The syrup made them very soggy initially.)
The next let down wasn't as bad. I made a white chocolate ganache and intended to drizzle it on top. I started with 2 ounces of heavy cream and 3 ounces of white chocolate. That was way thinner than I'd hoped. Sadly, that was all the white chocolate I had so I was forced to just go with it. Next time I'll start with .5 ounce of cream and 3 ounces of white chocolate and thin it from there if needed. Instead of drizzling I dipped the cupcakes. Within a minute of being dipped each one had ganache running down the sides and puddling up under them. Since foil cups had been employed this was an easy enough clean up and more of an annoyance than anything else.
Finally, I topped the minis with chocolate sprinkles to visually tie them in with the cake balls. I had 2 more than I needed of each treat so I ate one of each, for taste testing purposes of course. The cake balls were AMAZING! The cupcakes, as I mentioned, were just "good." With the other extra I left the hubby a pretty little plate that was waiting on the counter for him when he arrived home from work. He agreed that the cake balls were much better than the cupcakes and he enjoyed the shot of amaretto.
WHAT I LEARNED AND WHAT I'LL DO DIFFERENTLY:
- this cupcake recipe SUCKS! (oops, that wasn't nice)
- I will write my own vanilla cupcake recipe with help from Shirley's math
- white chocolate is dramatically thinner than milk or dark chocolate
- I will not underestimate the thinness of white chocolate in a ganache
- there needs to be more flavor in the cake itself
- I will add orange zest to the cupcake batter?
- I will poke little holes in the cupcakes so the ganache can work down into them
- I will add the amaretto to the ganache and skip the soaking syrup
- I will make a bigger batch so there are more "leftovers" ;-)