I've had New Orleans on the brain. Must be cuz I was overdue for a phone call to my Mom. I have yet to make a batch of Jambalaya or Gumbo. I did make a King Cake on Fat Tuesday, but there is something else you see everywhere if you've ever spent time in New Orleans - the Doberge Cake. A Doberge is traditionally six to eight layers of cake alternating with layers of a chocolate and/or lemon pudding and either frosted with buttercream and covered with fondant or glazed with chocolate and/or lemon. If you're going with half and half, it's not one layer of chocolate and another of lemon, but rather half the cake is chocolate and the other half lemon.
Much like the King Cake during Mardi Gras season, if you work in a big office there, Doberge is everywhere. Just about every birthday celebration includes a Doberge. For one thing, it accommodates more people - some like lemon, others like chocolate, so everyone gets what they like. I got it in my head to do a little nod to NOLA by baking up a batch of Doberge cupcakes. Sadly, cupcakes are too short (or my knife skills are lacking), so I couldn't get the standard 6-8 layers out of them, but you get the idea.
Leave it to me! When I looked at the above picture, I was trying to figure out why there was a vertical line of lemon icing. I finally realized the cupcake I had kept at home (brought the rest to work) to snap a shot of when I cut it open must have been the one I stuck a toothpick in to see if it was done. The icing ran into the toothpick hole.
1 box white or yellow cake mix
canola or veg oil
3 eggs (I used them whole, the box called for just whites)
almond extract (optional)
1 pkg instant lemon pudding mix
1 pkg instant chocolate pudding mix
chocolate glaze (just happened to see this by the cake mix)
lemons/conf. sugar for lemon glaze
yellow food coloring
24 standard muffin cups and liners
Spray your cupcake pan with the PAM, leaving the liners separate for later.
Prepare your cake better per the instructions on the box. I apparently can't read, so I added the three eggs, then noticed that you're only supposed to use the whites. Oops! Then I read further and saw that you use the whole eggs for higher elevations. I think that whatever your elevation, it's probably a good idea to use the whole eggs (on purpose) to give the cake more body. You don't want it to be too light and have the weight of the pudding layers make it sink. I added a few drops of almond extract to the batter.
When I first looked at the muffin cups and was thinking about how small they actually are, I debated pulling out the big boys, but I figured if I used bigger muffin cups, by the time they were all filled and iced, you wouldn't be able to take a bite out of them without getting it all over your face!
Bake per instructions and let cool in the pan for a few minutes before extracting onto a cooling rack. You may want to run a little knife around the edges to make sure they release well.
While the cupcakes are cooling, you can go ahead and prepare your puddings. I whisked a little yellow food coloring into the lemon to brighten it up some.
OK, ready to start filling?? I decided to work over a sheet of waxed paper in case I made a mess. I also wasn't sure how I wanted to handle the icing drippage yet, so the paper seemed like a good idea.
Slice as many layers as you can out of a cupcake, then sandwich the layers with the pudding mixtures, lightly patting the cake layer onto the pudding so it soaks in a bit and "grabs." You don't want the layers sliding apart.
See, some chocolate, some lemon, some half and half. :)
For the lemon glaze, I started by following one recipe that called for whisking together 2c confectioner's sugar and 1/3 c lemon juice. I added some yellow food coloring gel. I realized that was waaaaaay too thin, so I kept adding more confectioner's sugar. I still would have liked it more "opaque," so I may try something else next time. I was afraid if I kept adding sugar, it would just make it gritty, so I worked with what I had. I later read that you can blend in a little lemon curd. The funny thing was that I was originally thinking about using lemon curd instead of pudding for the filling but decided I didn't want it clashing with the chocolate pudding in the half and half cupcakes.
Because the chocolate glaze required heating (and re-heating, and re-heating), I started with the lemon. I picked up each half-and-half cupcake by the chocolate side and dunked the lemon side into the lemon icing, let the excess run off, then placed them on a cooling rack set over a piece of waxed paper to catch any additional drips. I wanted to let the lemon set before moving on to the chocolate side.
For the all-lemon cupcakes, I decided to balance them on a little spatula. That way, I could spoon the glaze over them and tilt them in any direction to get to the sides. That also allowed me to let the excess drip off before popping them into the cupcake liners.
When it comes to the Duncan Hines Amazing Glazes, I liked the flavor of it, but it was kind of a pain in the butt. You have to heat it in the microwave, put the cover back on, shake it, then when you're trying to use it, it gushed out at times, then stopped, then "burped" and spewed out some more, you had to heat it again... I also didn't like that there was no indication on the label of how much coverage you should expect out of a bottle. Good thing I made more lemon than chocolate cupcakes! I would use it again for a small cake where I could pour it over in one shot, but for cupcakes, I'll make my own next time.
I did the same thing for the chocolate - balanced them on the spatula while pouring the glaze over the top and around the sides It was tougher when it came to the chocolate side of the half-and-half cupcakes because I didn't want to hold them and get fingerprints in the lemon side while coating the other side. I put them back on the spatula to spoon over the chocolate but had to be careful not to tilt them so far that the chocolate would run over the lemon.
Took a while (I'm notorious for being slow in the kitchen when not on a specific deadline), but fun and worth it. And yes, I called my Mom! ;)