Thursday, April 18, 2013

Happy 182nd Birthday, NYU

182 years ago, on April 18, 1831, NYU was established. To celebrate, let's have some cupcakes.

Alumna Josette Vadala (CAS '06) recently began exploring an alternate career track when she opened her online cupcakery, Cuddles' Cupcake Bar. In honor of NYU's birthday, Josette will send a dozen of Cuddles' Petite Push-Up Pops to one person who subscribes to the blog in the next 24 hours (you have until noon on April 19 to subscribe).

For more about Josette, her cupcake business, and Josette's Chocolate Champagne Cupcakes recipe, read our short Q&A below. 

When did you first start baking?

I started just over a year ago. I was baking for fun - apple pies, cookies, etc. - and my in-laws raved about my desserts and suggested I look into opening my own business. I am a teacher with my Master's and would LOVE to be in the classroom, but with the economy the way it is, it's been tough. So, I figured "why not?" I really had nothing to lose and had so much support behind me.

What gave you the idea to open a cupcakery? And why did you choose to be 100% online?

I thought of cupcakes because they'd be the easiest to start with and really fun to decorate, and I've blossomed since then! I have various products that aren't cupcakes, such as cake pops, push-up pops, and small cakes. Being online gives me the freedom to work full-time and earn an income while I am in my beginning stages. Perhaps I'll open a storefront one day.

What is your favorite flavor combination?

I absolutely love chocolate raspberry! Chocolate cake, filled with chocolate-raspberry ganache or a raspberry mousse, topped with raspberry buttercream. Yum!

Is there a favorite recipe you’d like to share with alumni?

This is a recipe for a chocolate champagne cupcake filled with strawberry cheesecake and topped with white chocolate champagne buttercream:

3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c sugar
3 large eggs
1 c champagne (more or less depending on your preference)

8 ounces cream cheese
6 ounces strawberry flavored yogurt
1/4 c sugar

3 c confectioners sugar
1 c room temperature butter
1/2-1 c melted white baking chocolate (depending on your preference)
1/4 c champagne (more or less depending on your preference)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.

2. In medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, and baking powder, and set it aside.

3. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping sides as needed.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each & scraping the sides occasionally.

5. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with champagne and beginning and ending with flour.

6. To make the strawberry cheesecake filling: simply cream together all ingredients

7. Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Place a small spoonful of the cheesecake mixture on top of each cupcake(do not push it down, it will sink while baking).

8. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out relatively clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

9. Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

10. White Chocolate Buttercream: beat butter until light & fluffy. Add 1 cup of confectioners sugar at a time, beating completely and scraping sides as needed. Add champagne and mix well. Add melted white baking chocolate and fold into the buttercream. Add third cup of confectioners sugar if needed (the consistency is based on your preference, a bit thicker of you're spreading, a bit smoother if you're piping).

11. Frost with the white chocolate buttercream when cupcakes are completely cooled.

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