When a food critic turns the poison pen on herself

Chocolate mayo cupcakes with caramel buttercream August 1, 2008

Filed under: Cupcakes — crummb @ 12:46 pm
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I JUST wrote about how I can’t stand chocolate in my previous post. So what am I doing making another chocolate cupcake? Because this one contains an ingredient that might make chocolate more tolerable – mayonnaise.

I love mayonnaise. I love anything that has it – sandwiches, potato salads, burgers, Japanese pizzas, California maki, mentaiko pasta, and now, maybe even chocolate cake.

I’ve seen mayonnaise being used to make chocolate cake in several different cookbooks. Apparently, they’re all adapted from a classic recipe by Hellman’s, a mayonnaise brand. Replacing butter in a recipe, mayonnaise supposedly offers an unrivalled moistness to a cake.

And it’s true. My cupcakes turned out really tender, moist and really black, like devil’s food cake. To my warped disappointment, there was no taste of mayonnaise at all. But its vinegar content nullified all the sugar, so what was left was just a taste of plain chocolate in a cupcake case.

Which was might as well. Because another highlight of this recipe is the caramel-butterscotch buttercream. And I love, love, love caramel and butterscotch. These recipes are taken from Jill O’Connor’s Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey, a gorgeous desserts book I’m reviewing for the newspaper. She highly recommended that this plain cake be paired with this frosting, presumably because the bland chocolate is given a heady boost by the fragrance of burnt brown sugar in the buttercream.

I must say, though, making the buttercream wasn’t a walk in the park. First, there was the making of caramel sauce, which required careful stirring of sugar syrup till it turns just the right shade of amber before you add cream. I left it boiling for a little too long, and when it cooled, I got not caramel, but toffee. (Thankfully, it could be turned back to caramel by just heating it with some water – but not before I flicked huge blobs of toffee, which I also love, into my mouth.)

Then, there was making the butterscotch buttercream, which involved whisking eggs and dark brown sugar over dangerously simmering water, sticking in a candy thermometer to see that it gets up to the right temperature, before transferring the mixture to my Kitchen Aid for more heavy-duty whisking.

But after butter was added and the watery mixture emulsified into a luxurious, glossy buttercream, it tasted glorious with this rich, mellow undertone. Mix in the caramel sauce, and it was heaven on your finger.


11 Responses to “Chocolate mayo cupcakes with caramel buttercream”

  1. Daphne Says:

    Babe.. it’s really yummy !! Just nice, moist and rich ! Mayonaise? I’ve not heard of that before but it rocks anyway ! Thumbs up from all the beneficiaries of Discovery! haha
    Can I order some from you already? You have time or not?

  2. crummb Says:

    hey! i actually have some of that buttercream left in the freezer. not quite sure what to do with it. i can make these same ones for you, if you like. the buttercream can keep for a few months, so you can order it a little later when you have an occasion πŸ™‚

  3. mj Says:

    How do these cupcakes compare to the Magnolia recipe?

  4. crummb Says:

    the magnolia ones were soft and fluffy – almost like soft bread. this one was more velvety and fudgy, like biting into a mud cake. two very different textures!

  5. daphnechan00 Says:

    when can i have cupcakes? I dun mind the left over buttercream! How many can you make with them?

  6. Jac Says:


    Its been a while ya…I want to order these beauties!!! How to go about doing it huh?

  7. crummb Says:

    hey jac, long time no see babe! (actually I’ve never met you in person, have i? haha)
    erm, i’m really busy at work and at home. would love to take orders but i can’t, unless i have leftovers from my experiements! what you looking for? i’ll keep you in mind and see if i can whip up anything ok? πŸ™‚

  8. Jac Says:

    I want these cuppies!! Still have leftover???

  9. crummb Says:

    jac: think i only have enough buttercream to make another 6. don’t think it’s worth your while right? 😦

  10. rattoo Says:

    my, how ur blog and catalogue of cakes have grown!
    you mean u still have not made ur own tv show yet? =)
    sorry to deviate from all the sweets talk, but when i saw u mention mentaiko pasta, i m reminded of how i can never find the mayo-swathed pasta dish (MAYO IS QUEEN!!) ever again in singapore after Cafe Rosso closed! BOOHOO…

  11. crummb Says:

    what?! you mean you haven’t been clicking on my site EVERY DAY to support my efforts? well, i know of this place that does a FAB mentaiko pasta – and i’m not gonna tell you… pffft!

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