Flour notes and Chocolate Kiss Cupcakes

by Joanne on March 1, 2010

To get a nice delicate crumb when baking a cake, you need the right kind of flour.  I use “Softasilk” cake flour.

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It’s a Pillsbury product and is milled from soft wheat.  This gives cakes a higher volume, finer texture and tenderness.  It is so fine, you don’t have to take time for additional sifting. This brings me to the following thoughts on flour.  I have quite a few varieties in my pantry and freezer (bean and nut flours can go rancid so I find it better to store them in the freezer).

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Basics:   Wheat flours have gluten which results in that wonderful mouth feel in our baking and cooking.  This “gluten” is the protein in wheat flour and it makes the dough strong and elastic. That’s why you want  a high gluten flour for bread making.  Low protein flours result in a finer, tender crumb.  Bean flours are high in protein but don’t have the wheat gluten to make them elastic so for bread making, something more must be added.   Here is a quick “trip” around flours in my pantry.  Note:  A good source for flours is OMGILI

  •  All purpose (not shown above because I use so much of it, I store it in an airtight container).   Used for just about everything.   It is either from hard wheat or a combo of hard and soft wheat. About  8 – 11 % protein.
  • Cake flour:  As mentioned above, it is from soft wheat and has a low protein of about 9%.
  • Whole Wheat: More fiber, more nutrients because when it’s milled all three components from the wheat kernel are ground. Not just the endosperm as in all purpose white and the finer flours.  It has up to 14% protein but is too heavy and dense to use at 100% in most recipes. One really good whole wheat bread is Nature’s Own.
  • White Whole Wheat:  Same as above, still as heavy and dense but milled from white wheat instead of red. It also has a milder flavor.
  • Rice Flours:  Gluten free.  Can be gummy, gritty, and bland.  I’ve used it but mixed with an assortment of flours and haven’t been overly crazy about the results. 
  • Bean Flours: e.g. Garbanzo = Can be used in crackers or pie crusts.  It has some stretch but not gluten strength, it’s gluten free.  Because bean flours have a higher fat content, they brown well.  They also go rancid quickly.

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  • Millet flour:  May dry out on the surface.  A good substitute, combined with other flours, for most things.
  • Bread flour is from hard wheat and has more protein, up to 14%. High gluten strength.
  • Soy flour:  Can you say “FAT”?  It adds moisture and will result in a texture softer than other gluten free flours. Again, it browns easily, probably because of the fat content.  You MUST combine this flour with other flours.
  • Nut flours: e.g. Almond meal = Resulting from grinding nuts.  Gluten free. high in protein.  Good for baking such as sweet/quick breads.   If you use it in a yeast bread, use approx. 25% nut flour to wheat flour. 

Now, enough foolin’ with flour, lets get on with the goodies…..

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A recipe for: Chocolate Kiss Cupcakes

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  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp hazelnut syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups Cake flour (such as Softasilk)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder *I used the Schokinag 

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  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 2 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 36 Hershey’s kisses  DSC_3737

Preheat oven to 350 F  Place muffin cups in 36 standard muffin tins.

Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the vanilla and hazelnut syrup and mix. Add the eggs, one at a time.

Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to the butter mixture, alternating with the addition of milk.  The batter may be thin.

Pour into muffin tins, about 1/2 full (*begin by adding only about 1 – 2 TBS and if you have extra, add more).

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When all tins contain batter, drop a Hershey’s kiss (wrapping taken off) into the middle of each cupcake. 

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Bake for 25 – 30 minutes.   If you eat them while hot, the kiss will be melted.  If you let them cool, you’ll get a wonderful firm KISS in the middle of your delicate, light, chocolaty cup cake.  Enjoy!

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Do you use a variety of flours? What has been your results using gluten free, whole wheat, and/or nut flours?


Flour Substitutions

Joanne

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5 Comments

  • At 2010.03.01 23:26, 5 Star Foodie said:

    Great review of different flours and good to learn about the softasilk flour – I have not seen that one before. The chocolate kiss cupcakes look scrumptious!

    • At 2010.03.02 08:51, Dawn Hutchins said:

      Wow what a splurge recipe! It looks perfectly decadent. Also, thank you for the reminder to put the nut flours in the freezer. I need to see what I have at home….
      .-= Dawn Hutchins´s last blog ..Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa, Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage and Walnuts =-.

      • At 2010.03.02 11:41, Nicole. RD said:

        Garbanzo bean flour…wow! I’ve never heard of that one!

        I love almond flour but it so so pricey 🙁 I use whole wheat pastry flour most, and also love rice and oat flour.

        • At 2010.03.02 21:36, Pam (@ TotalHealthCounseling) said:

          Thanks for the lesson on flours! It’s amazing how many different varieties there are and that each has various properties that make it best for certain recipes.
          Desserts with hershey kisses in the middle are the best!
          Is there a frosting on top of the cupcakes? Looks so melty good.

          • At 2010.03.03 08:26, Joanne said:

            Hi Pam – yes, there is a frosting. I melted a chocolate buttercream and poured it over the top. That way, the top part of the cup cake absorbs some of the frosting as well as solidifying on top.

            Thanks for the comment!

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