Project Pastry Queen: Tuxedo (Cup)Cake(s)

So, as you can probably tell from the title, this week’s PPQ recipe was Tuxedo Cake. This week was hosted by Shawnda and her site has the full recipe (and beautiful pictures) for this stunning dessert. You can also see the other PPQ members’ results here.

When I saw this recipe I had two reactions: 1) Wow, this cake is awesome and beautiful and no doubt delicious, and 2) should I really make a cake that serves 12-14 for just Big Man and myself? Probably not.

And then there was a third reaction: layer cakes are my nemesis. I have never been able to make one successfully. My layer cakes taste good, but look good? Not so much. I can probably blame some of my failures on the high altitude, but I think most of it is just me and layer cakes not getting along.

So, I decided to only make 1/4 of the original recipe and try cupcakes. I got 10 cupcakes that looked OK and tasted awesome. The cupcakes didn’t look nearly as stunning as the full cake, but were easy to make and yummy. Actually, I really want to call these Penguin cupcakes, since they are the shorter, fatter, less fancy version of the Tuxedo Cake. And I like penguins. But anyway. . .

Along with cutting the recipe down to 25%, I used dark cocoa powder (all I had in the pantry), and light corn syrup instead of the Lyle’s golden syrup called for. Here is the recipe as I made it.

Tuxedo Cupcakes (adapted from The Pastry Queen)


1/2 stick (4 tbs) unsalted butter
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1 cup flour
1 egg
1/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 tsp baking soda
dash salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Frosting

1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Chocolate Glaze

1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/8 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbs light corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cupcakes: Prepare a muffin tin with paper liners and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter, water, and oil in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the butter melts. In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, and flour. Whisk in the butter mixture, then the egg, then the buttermilk. Finally, whisk in the baking soda, salt and vanilla all at once. Transfer to the muffin tin, filling each liner about 3/4 full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cupcakes sit in the tin for about 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Frosting: Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the cream to soft peaks. Add the powdered sugar and whip to stiff peaks. Place the frosting in a piping bag with a large round tip. Poke the tip into the center of each cupcake and fill with frosting. Use the remaining frosting to cover the top of each cupcake, and smooth with a knife. Refrigerate 1 hour until the frosting is set.

Glaze: Put the chocolate in a bowl and heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it is steaming but not boiling. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted. Add in the corn syrup and vanilla and stir to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes to cool slightly, then spoon over the cupcakes, letting some drip down the sides but leaving some frosting showing. Refrigerate for 1 hour to let glaze set, then enjoy!

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