Ok, so here’s the recipe for the chocolate, ginger and wasabi cupcakes I made for Cakes for Japan.
I really wanted to make some cupcakes which incorporated Japanese ingredients and after some searching around on the interwibble, I came across this recipe on Epicurious, which was for a Black Pearl Cake. (Yes, as in the ship from Pirates of the Carribean!) It’s made up of a ginger chocolate sponge, black sesame, ginger and wasabi ganache and then a whipped cream frosting.
Using this recipe as my basis, I kept the core elements the same – the sponge recipe and I planned to fill the cakes with the ganache, but did away with the whipped cream frosting in favour of my flour frosting that I used for April’s Ironcupcake competition. I also opted to make my own crystalised ginger too, as I wanted to make something extra for decoration and the syrup could also be used for the frosting.
All in all this is not a quick cupcake to make, I’d advise you set yourself some time aside to make it, but the results are worth it.
The slight warmth of the ginger and wasabi carry through and enhance the bitterness of the chocolate, and the sesame added texture and earthiness. If I make these again I might try slightly more wasabi. Not sure if the powder I had bought was just really mild as I felt it could’ve done with more.
My biggest concern was whether they would actually sell at Cakes for Japan! If I’m honest, they were a slow burner – the people of Huddersfield preferred the scones, flapjack and more familiar flavours, but eventually they started selling rather quickly.
Chocolate, Ginger and Wasabi Cupcakes
(Makes Approx 18)
For the Ganache
170g dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa)
115g caster sugar
175ml double cream
1tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp wasabi powder
2 tbsp black sesame seeds
1 tbsp golden syrup
For the Ginger Syrup / Crytallised Ginger
See David Lebovitz’s recipe
Reserve the syrup
Chop up 70g of ginger for the cakes
Sugar coat remaining ginger for decorating the cakes. I half dipped them in melted chocolate and left to cook for an extra dimension.
For the Cakes
50g best-quality cocoa powder, sifted
100g dark muscovado sugar
250ml boiling water
125g soft unsalted butter, plus some for greasing
150g caster sugar
225g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large free-range eggs
70g candied ginger, chopped finely (See recipe link above)
For the Frosting
See my recipe here
Omit the lime and honey, and add a few tablespoons of the candied ginger syrup to the frosting instead
Ganache: Break up the chocolate into medium bowl. Bring cream, ginger, and wasabi to boil in small pan. Pour the hot cream over chocolate; cover and leave stand 15 minutes. Then Whisk the cream and chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the sesame seeds and golden syrup the the mixture and stir.Leave to cool to lukewarm and then stir in butter. Cover and let stand at room temperature for a few hours to firm up.
Cakes: Preheat the oven to to Gas Mark 4 / 160C (fan) / 180C
Sift the cocoa into a large bowl and mix in the dark muscovado sugar and chopped ginger. Pour in the boiling water and mix. Set to one side to cool slightly
Cream the butter and caster sugar together in a separate bowl well – until pale and fluffy. This can take about 5 minutes.
Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together in another bowl and set aside for a moment.
Dribble the vanilla extract into the creamed butter and, then crack in one egg, mix well and then add the second egg. Mix well again. Incorporate the flour mixture little by little, then finally mix and fold in the cocoa mixture. Divide into lined cupcake tins – cook for 20 mins. Test with a cake tester – if it come out clean, they’re ready. Leave for a couple of minutes in the tins and then take out the cakes and leave to cool on a rack.
Filling and Decoration: Once the cakes are cool, using a corer or a knife, cut out the central part of the cake (be careful not to go through to the bottom!) fill with ganache and then replace the central part of the cake. Repeat for all cakes.
Once all cupcakes are filled, they are ready to be frosted with the icing.
Decorate with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds and a piece of candied ginger.