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Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

Cupcakes are some of my favorite things to bake. This recipe is a fun twist on the traditional Boston Cream Pie: a simple yellow cake with a cream filling and chocolate glaze. It looks complicated but with a little time and patience, it’s a piece of cake (ha!). If you can make a cake you can make this easy recipe!

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes

Servings: 12

Cream Filling Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups whipping cream
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
A dash of salt
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:
1. Simmer whipping cream in a saucepan, stirring occasionally.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the yolks, sugar and salt and stir with a fork.

Photo by Sarah O’Leary

3. Once the mixture is creamy, add the flour and continue stirring until thick and smooth.

Photo by Sarah O’Leary

4. Once the cream is simmering, pour it into the egg mixture. Stir with a spoon until combined.
5. Pour the mixture into the saucepan and continue stirring until the mixture thickens, 1 to 2 minutes.
6. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the butter and vanilla, stirring until the butter is melted.
7. Transfer the cream filling into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap or foil. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Homemade Cupcake Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in 12 pieces
3 eggs
3/4 cups 2% milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with liners and set aside.
2. In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt.
3. Add the butter one piece at a time, using your hands to mix it with the flour until it makes a crumbly mixture.
4. Add eggs and mix with an electric hand mixer until combined.
5. Add the milk and vanilla and beat until smooth.
6. Fill the cupcake cups 3/4 of the way full with batter and bake for 18-20 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a fork into the middle of a cupcake. It will come out clean when done. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing.

Photo by Sarah O’Leary

Photo by Sarah O’Leary

Chocolate Glaze Ingredients:
3/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
8 oz dark chocolate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:
1. Combine ingredients in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until smooth. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Putting it all together!

With a sharp knife cut into the top of the cupcake at a 45° angle. Cut in a circle so that you can remove a cone-shape of cake. Fill the hole with cream filling and cover with the chocolate glaze. Let glaze harden for 10 minutes and enjoy!

Photo by Sarah O’Leary

Photo by Sarah O’Leary

Photo by Sarah O’Leary

Photo by Sarah O’Leary

The post Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes appeared first on Spoon University.


Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.

2) Crack the eggs into a small container and set aside. Set the sugar aside. Then, in a small bowl, mix the gluten-free flour, nutmeg and salt together with a fork and set aside.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter with a paddle attachment until the butter is light in color and fluffy. Add the sugar to the butter and continue beating until the sugar is uniformly incorporated into the butter. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then restart the mixer on low speed and add 1 egg at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated in the butter mixture before adding the next egg. Once all the eggs have been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that all the butter is incorporated with the eggs. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk and oil, added in two additions, fully incorporating each addition into the batter before moving to the next step. If needed, stop the mixer after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then resume mixing on low.

4) Once all the dry ingredients and the milk have been combined with the butter mixture, evenly fill the cupcake pan cavities two-thirds of the way. Bake the cupcakes until the top of each cupcake is slightly springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately turn the cupcakes out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely.

5) Putting it all together: Using an apple corer or knife, core the centers out of the cooled cupcakes and remove. Fill the cupcakes with the Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream. Pipe the Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream to cover the top of each cooled cupcake.

Cook's Note: To bump up the chocolate flavor, you can melt 4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate and stripe the top of the frosted cupcakes with the dark chocolate.

Directions for Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream:

1) Bring the shallow dish or container for the finished pastry cream near the stovetop, and have the plastic wrap nearby as well. Measure the butter and vanilla bean paste into a small container and bring over near the stovetop. Pour the milk and 1/4 cup sugar into a heavy saucepot and scald over medium heat until the milk starts to steam. Do not boil the milk!

2) Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to combine and prevent any lumps in the cornstarch, and then add the whole egg and egg yolks. Whisk the egg yolk mixture until smooth and completely combined, and then bring over to the stove area and set the bowl with the yolks on top of a damp dish towel.

3) When the milk is steaming, remove from the heat. Whisking the egg yolk mixture constantly, slowly pour the milk in a steady stream into the egg yolk mixture. Once all the milk is combined with the egg yolk mixture, pour it back into the saucepot and return to medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Continue whisking and bring it to a boil. Let the egg yolk mixture boil for 1 minute (and continue whisking constantly so lumps don't form!) and then remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla bean paste, and then pour the entire contents of the pot into the shallow dish.

4) Immediately cover the surface of the pastry cream with the plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour. Once cool, remove from the refrigerator and whisk until completely smooth and lump free. Fill a piping bag with the pastry cream and set aside until you need it.

Directions for Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream

1) Measure the sugar and 1/4 cup water into a heavy saucepan and heat over high heat until the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes (use a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature).

2) While the sugar is cooking, beat the egg whites on medium speed in the mixing bowl of a stand mixture to the soft peak stage (whites will look foamy and white). Be careful not to over whip the whites (if the egg whites start to look clumpy, then they've been over whipped. If this happens, toss them out and start again! If the whites are beating faster than the sugar is cooking, turn down the mixer speed. You can always turn up the speed if you need to!) Add the cream of tartar and continue whipping.

3) While the egg whites are whipping on medium speed, gently pour the sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl. Turn the speed up to high and whip until the mixing bowl no longer feels warm to the touch, about 7 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until the chocolate is completely melted.

5) Turn the mixer speed back to medium and add the butter in small chunks until it is completely incorporated. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla bean paste and sea salt. Turn the mixer back on medium-low speed until the vanilla paste has mixed entirely through the buttercream. Spoon a small amount (about 1/2 cup) of the buttercream into the melted dark chocolate and stir to combine. Add the chocolate mixture back to the buttercream and whip thoroughly, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the chocolate is combined.

6) Fit an 18-inch plastic piping bag with an 847 star tip and twist the bag right by the tip to prevent the buttercream from leaking out. While you grasp the piping bag right above the star tip with your hand, fold the top of the piping bag over your hand and spoon the butter cream into the piping bag.


Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.

2) Crack the eggs into a small container and set aside. Set the sugar aside. Then, in a small bowl, mix the gluten-free flour, nutmeg and salt together with a fork and set aside.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter with a paddle attachment until the butter is light in color and fluffy. Add the sugar to the butter and continue beating until the sugar is uniformly incorporated into the butter. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then restart the mixer on low speed and add 1 egg at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated in the butter mixture before adding the next egg. Once all the eggs have been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that all the butter is incorporated with the eggs. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk and oil, added in two additions, fully incorporating each addition into the batter before moving to the next step. If needed, stop the mixer after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then resume mixing on low.

4) Once all the dry ingredients and the milk have been combined with the butter mixture, evenly fill the cupcake pan cavities two-thirds of the way. Bake the cupcakes until the top of each cupcake is slightly springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately turn the cupcakes out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely.

5) Putting it all together: Using an apple corer or knife, core the centers out of the cooled cupcakes and remove. Fill the cupcakes with the Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream. Pipe the Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream to cover the top of each cooled cupcake.

Cook's Note: To bump up the chocolate flavor, you can melt 4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate and stripe the top of the frosted cupcakes with the dark chocolate.

Directions for Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream:

1) Bring the shallow dish or container for the finished pastry cream near the stovetop, and have the plastic wrap nearby as well. Measure the butter and vanilla bean paste into a small container and bring over near the stovetop. Pour the milk and 1/4 cup sugar into a heavy saucepot and scald over medium heat until the milk starts to steam. Do not boil the milk!

2) Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to combine and prevent any lumps in the cornstarch, and then add the whole egg and egg yolks. Whisk the egg yolk mixture until smooth and completely combined, and then bring over to the stove area and set the bowl with the yolks on top of a damp dish towel.

3) When the milk is steaming, remove from the heat. Whisking the egg yolk mixture constantly, slowly pour the milk in a steady stream into the egg yolk mixture. Once all the milk is combined with the egg yolk mixture, pour it back into the saucepot and return to medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Continue whisking and bring it to a boil. Let the egg yolk mixture boil for 1 minute (and continue whisking constantly so lumps don't form!) and then remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla bean paste, and then pour the entire contents of the pot into the shallow dish.

4) Immediately cover the surface of the pastry cream with the plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour. Once cool, remove from the refrigerator and whisk until completely smooth and lump free. Fill a piping bag with the pastry cream and set aside until you need it.

Directions for Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream

1) Measure the sugar and 1/4 cup water into a heavy saucepan and heat over high heat until the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes (use a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature).

2) While the sugar is cooking, beat the egg whites on medium speed in the mixing bowl of a stand mixture to the soft peak stage (whites will look foamy and white). Be careful not to over whip the whites (if the egg whites start to look clumpy, then they've been over whipped. If this happens, toss them out and start again! If the whites are beating faster than the sugar is cooking, turn down the mixer speed. You can always turn up the speed if you need to!) Add the cream of tartar and continue whipping.

3) While the egg whites are whipping on medium speed, gently pour the sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl. Turn the speed up to high and whip until the mixing bowl no longer feels warm to the touch, about 7 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until the chocolate is completely melted.

5) Turn the mixer speed back to medium and add the butter in small chunks until it is completely incorporated. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla bean paste and sea salt. Turn the mixer back on medium-low speed until the vanilla paste has mixed entirely through the buttercream. Spoon a small amount (about 1/2 cup) of the buttercream into the melted dark chocolate and stir to combine. Add the chocolate mixture back to the buttercream and whip thoroughly, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the chocolate is combined.

6) Fit an 18-inch plastic piping bag with an 847 star tip and twist the bag right by the tip to prevent the buttercream from leaking out. While you grasp the piping bag right above the star tip with your hand, fold the top of the piping bag over your hand and spoon the butter cream into the piping bag.


Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.

2) Crack the eggs into a small container and set aside. Set the sugar aside. Then, in a small bowl, mix the gluten-free flour, nutmeg and salt together with a fork and set aside.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter with a paddle attachment until the butter is light in color and fluffy. Add the sugar to the butter and continue beating until the sugar is uniformly incorporated into the butter. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then restart the mixer on low speed and add 1 egg at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated in the butter mixture before adding the next egg. Once all the eggs have been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that all the butter is incorporated with the eggs. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk and oil, added in two additions, fully incorporating each addition into the batter before moving to the next step. If needed, stop the mixer after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then resume mixing on low.

4) Once all the dry ingredients and the milk have been combined with the butter mixture, evenly fill the cupcake pan cavities two-thirds of the way. Bake the cupcakes until the top of each cupcake is slightly springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately turn the cupcakes out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely.

5) Putting it all together: Using an apple corer or knife, core the centers out of the cooled cupcakes and remove. Fill the cupcakes with the Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream. Pipe the Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream to cover the top of each cooled cupcake.

Cook's Note: To bump up the chocolate flavor, you can melt 4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate and stripe the top of the frosted cupcakes with the dark chocolate.

Directions for Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream:

1) Bring the shallow dish or container for the finished pastry cream near the stovetop, and have the plastic wrap nearby as well. Measure the butter and vanilla bean paste into a small container and bring over near the stovetop. Pour the milk and 1/4 cup sugar into a heavy saucepot and scald over medium heat until the milk starts to steam. Do not boil the milk!

2) Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to combine and prevent any lumps in the cornstarch, and then add the whole egg and egg yolks. Whisk the egg yolk mixture until smooth and completely combined, and then bring over to the stove area and set the bowl with the yolks on top of a damp dish towel.

3) When the milk is steaming, remove from the heat. Whisking the egg yolk mixture constantly, slowly pour the milk in a steady stream into the egg yolk mixture. Once all the milk is combined with the egg yolk mixture, pour it back into the saucepot and return to medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Continue whisking and bring it to a boil. Let the egg yolk mixture boil for 1 minute (and continue whisking constantly so lumps don't form!) and then remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla bean paste, and then pour the entire contents of the pot into the shallow dish.

4) Immediately cover the surface of the pastry cream with the plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour. Once cool, remove from the refrigerator and whisk until completely smooth and lump free. Fill a piping bag with the pastry cream and set aside until you need it.

Directions for Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream

1) Measure the sugar and 1/4 cup water into a heavy saucepan and heat over high heat until the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes (use a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature).

2) While the sugar is cooking, beat the egg whites on medium speed in the mixing bowl of a stand mixture to the soft peak stage (whites will look foamy and white). Be careful not to over whip the whites (if the egg whites start to look clumpy, then they've been over whipped. If this happens, toss them out and start again! If the whites are beating faster than the sugar is cooking, turn down the mixer speed. You can always turn up the speed if you need to!) Add the cream of tartar and continue whipping.

3) While the egg whites are whipping on medium speed, gently pour the sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl. Turn the speed up to high and whip until the mixing bowl no longer feels warm to the touch, about 7 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until the chocolate is completely melted.

5) Turn the mixer speed back to medium and add the butter in small chunks until it is completely incorporated. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla bean paste and sea salt. Turn the mixer back on medium-low speed until the vanilla paste has mixed entirely through the buttercream. Spoon a small amount (about 1/2 cup) of the buttercream into the melted dark chocolate and stir to combine. Add the chocolate mixture back to the buttercream and whip thoroughly, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the chocolate is combined.

6) Fit an 18-inch plastic piping bag with an 847 star tip and twist the bag right by the tip to prevent the buttercream from leaking out. While you grasp the piping bag right above the star tip with your hand, fold the top of the piping bag over your hand and spoon the butter cream into the piping bag.


Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.

2) Crack the eggs into a small container and set aside. Set the sugar aside. Then, in a small bowl, mix the gluten-free flour, nutmeg and salt together with a fork and set aside.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter with a paddle attachment until the butter is light in color and fluffy. Add the sugar to the butter and continue beating until the sugar is uniformly incorporated into the butter. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then restart the mixer on low speed and add 1 egg at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated in the butter mixture before adding the next egg. Once all the eggs have been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that all the butter is incorporated with the eggs. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk and oil, added in two additions, fully incorporating each addition into the batter before moving to the next step. If needed, stop the mixer after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then resume mixing on low.

4) Once all the dry ingredients and the milk have been combined with the butter mixture, evenly fill the cupcake pan cavities two-thirds of the way. Bake the cupcakes until the top of each cupcake is slightly springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately turn the cupcakes out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely.

5) Putting it all together: Using an apple corer or knife, core the centers out of the cooled cupcakes and remove. Fill the cupcakes with the Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream. Pipe the Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream to cover the top of each cooled cupcake.

Cook's Note: To bump up the chocolate flavor, you can melt 4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate and stripe the top of the frosted cupcakes with the dark chocolate.

Directions for Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream:

1) Bring the shallow dish or container for the finished pastry cream near the stovetop, and have the plastic wrap nearby as well. Measure the butter and vanilla bean paste into a small container and bring over near the stovetop. Pour the milk and 1/4 cup sugar into a heavy saucepot and scald over medium heat until the milk starts to steam. Do not boil the milk!

2) Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to combine and prevent any lumps in the cornstarch, and then add the whole egg and egg yolks. Whisk the egg yolk mixture until smooth and completely combined, and then bring over to the stove area and set the bowl with the yolks on top of a damp dish towel.

3) When the milk is steaming, remove from the heat. Whisking the egg yolk mixture constantly, slowly pour the milk in a steady stream into the egg yolk mixture. Once all the milk is combined with the egg yolk mixture, pour it back into the saucepot and return to medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Continue whisking and bring it to a boil. Let the egg yolk mixture boil for 1 minute (and continue whisking constantly so lumps don't form!) and then remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla bean paste, and then pour the entire contents of the pot into the shallow dish.

4) Immediately cover the surface of the pastry cream with the plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour. Once cool, remove from the refrigerator and whisk until completely smooth and lump free. Fill a piping bag with the pastry cream and set aside until you need it.

Directions for Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream

1) Measure the sugar and 1/4 cup water into a heavy saucepan and heat over high heat until the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes (use a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature).

2) While the sugar is cooking, beat the egg whites on medium speed in the mixing bowl of a stand mixture to the soft peak stage (whites will look foamy and white). Be careful not to over whip the whites (if the egg whites start to look clumpy, then they've been over whipped. If this happens, toss them out and start again! If the whites are beating faster than the sugar is cooking, turn down the mixer speed. You can always turn up the speed if you need to!) Add the cream of tartar and continue whipping.

3) While the egg whites are whipping on medium speed, gently pour the sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl. Turn the speed up to high and whip until the mixing bowl no longer feels warm to the touch, about 7 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until the chocolate is completely melted.

5) Turn the mixer speed back to medium and add the butter in small chunks until it is completely incorporated. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla bean paste and sea salt. Turn the mixer back on medium-low speed until the vanilla paste has mixed entirely through the buttercream. Spoon a small amount (about 1/2 cup) of the buttercream into the melted dark chocolate and stir to combine. Add the chocolate mixture back to the buttercream and whip thoroughly, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the chocolate is combined.

6) Fit an 18-inch plastic piping bag with an 847 star tip and twist the bag right by the tip to prevent the buttercream from leaking out. While you grasp the piping bag right above the star tip with your hand, fold the top of the piping bag over your hand and spoon the butter cream into the piping bag.


Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.

2) Crack the eggs into a small container and set aside. Set the sugar aside. Then, in a small bowl, mix the gluten-free flour, nutmeg and salt together with a fork and set aside.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter with a paddle attachment until the butter is light in color and fluffy. Add the sugar to the butter and continue beating until the sugar is uniformly incorporated into the butter. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then restart the mixer on low speed and add 1 egg at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated in the butter mixture before adding the next egg. Once all the eggs have been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that all the butter is incorporated with the eggs. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk and oil, added in two additions, fully incorporating each addition into the batter before moving to the next step. If needed, stop the mixer after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then resume mixing on low.

4) Once all the dry ingredients and the milk have been combined with the butter mixture, evenly fill the cupcake pan cavities two-thirds of the way. Bake the cupcakes until the top of each cupcake is slightly springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately turn the cupcakes out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely.

5) Putting it all together: Using an apple corer or knife, core the centers out of the cooled cupcakes and remove. Fill the cupcakes with the Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream. Pipe the Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream to cover the top of each cooled cupcake.

Cook's Note: To bump up the chocolate flavor, you can melt 4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate and stripe the top of the frosted cupcakes with the dark chocolate.

Directions for Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream:

1) Bring the shallow dish or container for the finished pastry cream near the stovetop, and have the plastic wrap nearby as well. Measure the butter and vanilla bean paste into a small container and bring over near the stovetop. Pour the milk and 1/4 cup sugar into a heavy saucepot and scald over medium heat until the milk starts to steam. Do not boil the milk!

2) Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to combine and prevent any lumps in the cornstarch, and then add the whole egg and egg yolks. Whisk the egg yolk mixture until smooth and completely combined, and then bring over to the stove area and set the bowl with the yolks on top of a damp dish towel.

3) When the milk is steaming, remove from the heat. Whisking the egg yolk mixture constantly, slowly pour the milk in a steady stream into the egg yolk mixture. Once all the milk is combined with the egg yolk mixture, pour it back into the saucepot and return to medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Continue whisking and bring it to a boil. Let the egg yolk mixture boil for 1 minute (and continue whisking constantly so lumps don't form!) and then remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla bean paste, and then pour the entire contents of the pot into the shallow dish.

4) Immediately cover the surface of the pastry cream with the plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour. Once cool, remove from the refrigerator and whisk until completely smooth and lump free. Fill a piping bag with the pastry cream and set aside until you need it.

Directions for Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream

1) Measure the sugar and 1/4 cup water into a heavy saucepan and heat over high heat until the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes (use a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature).

2) While the sugar is cooking, beat the egg whites on medium speed in the mixing bowl of a stand mixture to the soft peak stage (whites will look foamy and white). Be careful not to over whip the whites (if the egg whites start to look clumpy, then they've been over whipped. If this happens, toss them out and start again! If the whites are beating faster than the sugar is cooking, turn down the mixer speed. You can always turn up the speed if you need to!) Add the cream of tartar and continue whipping.

3) While the egg whites are whipping on medium speed, gently pour the sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl. Turn the speed up to high and whip until the mixing bowl no longer feels warm to the touch, about 7 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until the chocolate is completely melted.

5) Turn the mixer speed back to medium and add the butter in small chunks until it is completely incorporated. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla bean paste and sea salt. Turn the mixer back on medium-low speed until the vanilla paste has mixed entirely through the buttercream. Spoon a small amount (about 1/2 cup) of the buttercream into the melted dark chocolate and stir to combine. Add the chocolate mixture back to the buttercream and whip thoroughly, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the chocolate is combined.

6) Fit an 18-inch plastic piping bag with an 847 star tip and twist the bag right by the tip to prevent the buttercream from leaking out. While you grasp the piping bag right above the star tip with your hand, fold the top of the piping bag over your hand and spoon the butter cream into the piping bag.


Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.

2) Crack the eggs into a small container and set aside. Set the sugar aside. Then, in a small bowl, mix the gluten-free flour, nutmeg and salt together with a fork and set aside.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter with a paddle attachment until the butter is light in color and fluffy. Add the sugar to the butter and continue beating until the sugar is uniformly incorporated into the butter. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then restart the mixer on low speed and add 1 egg at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated in the butter mixture before adding the next egg. Once all the eggs have been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that all the butter is incorporated with the eggs. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk and oil, added in two additions, fully incorporating each addition into the batter before moving to the next step. If needed, stop the mixer after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then resume mixing on low.

4) Once all the dry ingredients and the milk have been combined with the butter mixture, evenly fill the cupcake pan cavities two-thirds of the way. Bake the cupcakes until the top of each cupcake is slightly springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately turn the cupcakes out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely.

5) Putting it all together: Using an apple corer or knife, core the centers out of the cooled cupcakes and remove. Fill the cupcakes with the Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream. Pipe the Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream to cover the top of each cooled cupcake.

Cook's Note: To bump up the chocolate flavor, you can melt 4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate and stripe the top of the frosted cupcakes with the dark chocolate.

Directions for Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream:

1) Bring the shallow dish or container for the finished pastry cream near the stovetop, and have the plastic wrap nearby as well. Measure the butter and vanilla bean paste into a small container and bring over near the stovetop. Pour the milk and 1/4 cup sugar into a heavy saucepot and scald over medium heat until the milk starts to steam. Do not boil the milk!

2) Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to combine and prevent any lumps in the cornstarch, and then add the whole egg and egg yolks. Whisk the egg yolk mixture until smooth and completely combined, and then bring over to the stove area and set the bowl with the yolks on top of a damp dish towel.

3) When the milk is steaming, remove from the heat. Whisking the egg yolk mixture constantly, slowly pour the milk in a steady stream into the egg yolk mixture. Once all the milk is combined with the egg yolk mixture, pour it back into the saucepot and return to medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Continue whisking and bring it to a boil. Let the egg yolk mixture boil for 1 minute (and continue whisking constantly so lumps don't form!) and then remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla bean paste, and then pour the entire contents of the pot into the shallow dish.

4) Immediately cover the surface of the pastry cream with the plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour. Once cool, remove from the refrigerator and whisk until completely smooth and lump free. Fill a piping bag with the pastry cream and set aside until you need it.

Directions for Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream

1) Measure the sugar and 1/4 cup water into a heavy saucepan and heat over high heat until the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes (use a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature).

2) While the sugar is cooking, beat the egg whites on medium speed in the mixing bowl of a stand mixture to the soft peak stage (whites will look foamy and white). Be careful not to over whip the whites (if the egg whites start to look clumpy, then they've been over whipped. If this happens, toss them out and start again! If the whites are beating faster than the sugar is cooking, turn down the mixer speed. You can always turn up the speed if you need to!) Add the cream of tartar and continue whipping.

3) While the egg whites are whipping on medium speed, gently pour the sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl. Turn the speed up to high and whip until the mixing bowl no longer feels warm to the touch, about 7 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until the chocolate is completely melted.

5) Turn the mixer speed back to medium and add the butter in small chunks until it is completely incorporated. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla bean paste and sea salt. Turn the mixer back on medium-low speed until the vanilla paste has mixed entirely through the buttercream. Spoon a small amount (about 1/2 cup) of the buttercream into the melted dark chocolate and stir to combine. Add the chocolate mixture back to the buttercream and whip thoroughly, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the chocolate is combined.

6) Fit an 18-inch plastic piping bag with an 847 star tip and twist the bag right by the tip to prevent the buttercream from leaking out. While you grasp the piping bag right above the star tip with your hand, fold the top of the piping bag over your hand and spoon the butter cream into the piping bag.


Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.

2) Crack the eggs into a small container and set aside. Set the sugar aside. Then, in a small bowl, mix the gluten-free flour, nutmeg and salt together with a fork and set aside.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter with a paddle attachment until the butter is light in color and fluffy. Add the sugar to the butter and continue beating until the sugar is uniformly incorporated into the butter. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then restart the mixer on low speed and add 1 egg at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated in the butter mixture before adding the next egg. Once all the eggs have been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that all the butter is incorporated with the eggs. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk and oil, added in two additions, fully incorporating each addition into the batter before moving to the next step. If needed, stop the mixer after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then resume mixing on low.

4) Once all the dry ingredients and the milk have been combined with the butter mixture, evenly fill the cupcake pan cavities two-thirds of the way. Bake the cupcakes until the top of each cupcake is slightly springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately turn the cupcakes out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely.

5) Putting it all together: Using an apple corer or knife, core the centers out of the cooled cupcakes and remove. Fill the cupcakes with the Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream. Pipe the Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream to cover the top of each cooled cupcake.

Cook's Note: To bump up the chocolate flavor, you can melt 4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate and stripe the top of the frosted cupcakes with the dark chocolate.

Directions for Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream:

1) Bring the shallow dish or container for the finished pastry cream near the stovetop, and have the plastic wrap nearby as well. Measure the butter and vanilla bean paste into a small container and bring over near the stovetop. Pour the milk and 1/4 cup sugar into a heavy saucepot and scald over medium heat until the milk starts to steam. Do not boil the milk!

2) Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to combine and prevent any lumps in the cornstarch, and then add the whole egg and egg yolks. Whisk the egg yolk mixture until smooth and completely combined, and then bring over to the stove area and set the bowl with the yolks on top of a damp dish towel.

3) When the milk is steaming, remove from the heat. Whisking the egg yolk mixture constantly, slowly pour the milk in a steady stream into the egg yolk mixture. Once all the milk is combined with the egg yolk mixture, pour it back into the saucepot and return to medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Continue whisking and bring it to a boil. Let the egg yolk mixture boil for 1 minute (and continue whisking constantly so lumps don't form!) and then remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla bean paste, and then pour the entire contents of the pot into the shallow dish.

4) Immediately cover the surface of the pastry cream with the plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour. Once cool, remove from the refrigerator and whisk until completely smooth and lump free. Fill a piping bag with the pastry cream and set aside until you need it.

Directions for Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream

1) Measure the sugar and 1/4 cup water into a heavy saucepan and heat over high heat until the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes (use a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature).

2) While the sugar is cooking, beat the egg whites on medium speed in the mixing bowl of a stand mixture to the soft peak stage (whites will look foamy and white). Be careful not to over whip the whites (if the egg whites start to look clumpy, then they've been over whipped. If this happens, toss them out and start again! If the whites are beating faster than the sugar is cooking, turn down the mixer speed. You can always turn up the speed if you need to!) Add the cream of tartar and continue whipping.

3) While the egg whites are whipping on medium speed, gently pour the sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl. Turn the speed up to high and whip until the mixing bowl no longer feels warm to the touch, about 7 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until the chocolate is completely melted.

5) Turn the mixer speed back to medium and add the butter in small chunks until it is completely incorporated. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla bean paste and sea salt. Turn the mixer back on medium-low speed until the vanilla paste has mixed entirely through the buttercream. Spoon a small amount (about 1/2 cup) of the buttercream into the melted dark chocolate and stir to combine. Add the chocolate mixture back to the buttercream and whip thoroughly, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the chocolate is combined.

6) Fit an 18-inch plastic piping bag with an 847 star tip and twist the bag right by the tip to prevent the buttercream from leaking out. While you grasp the piping bag right above the star tip with your hand, fold the top of the piping bag over your hand and spoon the butter cream into the piping bag.


Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.

2) Crack the eggs into a small container and set aside. Set the sugar aside. Then, in a small bowl, mix the gluten-free flour, nutmeg and salt together with a fork and set aside.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter with a paddle attachment until the butter is light in color and fluffy. Add the sugar to the butter and continue beating until the sugar is uniformly incorporated into the butter. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then restart the mixer on low speed and add 1 egg at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated in the butter mixture before adding the next egg. Once all the eggs have been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that all the butter is incorporated with the eggs. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk and oil, added in two additions, fully incorporating each addition into the batter before moving to the next step. If needed, stop the mixer after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then resume mixing on low.

4) Once all the dry ingredients and the milk have been combined with the butter mixture, evenly fill the cupcake pan cavities two-thirds of the way. Bake the cupcakes until the top of each cupcake is slightly springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately turn the cupcakes out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely.

5) Putting it all together: Using an apple corer or knife, core the centers out of the cooled cupcakes and remove. Fill the cupcakes with the Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream. Pipe the Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream to cover the top of each cooled cupcake.

Cook's Note: To bump up the chocolate flavor, you can melt 4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate and stripe the top of the frosted cupcakes with the dark chocolate.

Directions for Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream:

1) Bring the shallow dish or container for the finished pastry cream near the stovetop, and have the plastic wrap nearby as well. Measure the butter and vanilla bean paste into a small container and bring over near the stovetop. Pour the milk and 1/4 cup sugar into a heavy saucepot and scald over medium heat until the milk starts to steam. Do not boil the milk!

2) Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to combine and prevent any lumps in the cornstarch, and then add the whole egg and egg yolks. Whisk the egg yolk mixture until smooth and completely combined, and then bring over to the stove area and set the bowl with the yolks on top of a damp dish towel.

3) When the milk is steaming, remove from the heat. Whisking the egg yolk mixture constantly, slowly pour the milk in a steady stream into the egg yolk mixture. Once all the milk is combined with the egg yolk mixture, pour it back into the saucepot and return to medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Continue whisking and bring it to a boil. Let the egg yolk mixture boil for 1 minute (and continue whisking constantly so lumps don't form!) and then remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla bean paste, and then pour the entire contents of the pot into the shallow dish.

4) Immediately cover the surface of the pastry cream with the plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour. Once cool, remove from the refrigerator and whisk until completely smooth and lump free. Fill a piping bag with the pastry cream and set aside until you need it.

Directions for Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream

1) Measure the sugar and 1/4 cup water into a heavy saucepan and heat over high heat until the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes (use a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature).

2) While the sugar is cooking, beat the egg whites on medium speed in the mixing bowl of a stand mixture to the soft peak stage (whites will look foamy and white). Be careful not to over whip the whites (if the egg whites start to look clumpy, then they've been over whipped. If this happens, toss them out and start again! If the whites are beating faster than the sugar is cooking, turn down the mixer speed. You can always turn up the speed if you need to!) Add the cream of tartar and continue whipping.

3) While the egg whites are whipping on medium speed, gently pour the sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl. Turn the speed up to high and whip until the mixing bowl no longer feels warm to the touch, about 7 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until the chocolate is completely melted.

5) Turn the mixer speed back to medium and add the butter in small chunks until it is completely incorporated. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla bean paste and sea salt. Turn the mixer back on medium-low speed until the vanilla paste has mixed entirely through the buttercream. Spoon a small amount (about 1/2 cup) of the buttercream into the melted dark chocolate and stir to combine. Add the chocolate mixture back to the buttercream and whip thoroughly, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the chocolate is combined.

6) Fit an 18-inch plastic piping bag with an 847 star tip and twist the bag right by the tip to prevent the buttercream from leaking out. While you grasp the piping bag right above the star tip with your hand, fold the top of the piping bag over your hand and spoon the butter cream into the piping bag.


Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.

2) Crack the eggs into a small container and set aside. Set the sugar aside. Then, in a small bowl, mix the gluten-free flour, nutmeg and salt together with a fork and set aside.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter with a paddle attachment until the butter is light in color and fluffy. Add the sugar to the butter and continue beating until the sugar is uniformly incorporated into the butter. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then restart the mixer on low speed and add 1 egg at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated in the butter mixture before adding the next egg. Once all the eggs have been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that all the butter is incorporated with the eggs. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk and oil, added in two additions, fully incorporating each addition into the batter before moving to the next step. If needed, stop the mixer after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then resume mixing on low.

4) Once all the dry ingredients and the milk have been combined with the butter mixture, evenly fill the cupcake pan cavities two-thirds of the way. Bake the cupcakes until the top of each cupcake is slightly springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately turn the cupcakes out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely.

5) Putting it all together: Using an apple corer or knife, core the centers out of the cooled cupcakes and remove. Fill the cupcakes with the Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream. Pipe the Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream to cover the top of each cooled cupcake.

Cook's Note: To bump up the chocolate flavor, you can melt 4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate and stripe the top of the frosted cupcakes with the dark chocolate.

Directions for Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream:

1) Bring the shallow dish or container for the finished pastry cream near the stovetop, and have the plastic wrap nearby as well. Measure the butter and vanilla bean paste into a small container and bring over near the stovetop. Pour the milk and 1/4 cup sugar into a heavy saucepot and scald over medium heat until the milk starts to steam. Do not boil the milk!

2) Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to combine and prevent any lumps in the cornstarch, and then add the whole egg and egg yolks. Whisk the egg yolk mixture until smooth and completely combined, and then bring over to the stove area and set the bowl with the yolks on top of a damp dish towel.

3) When the milk is steaming, remove from the heat. Whisking the egg yolk mixture constantly, slowly pour the milk in a steady stream into the egg yolk mixture. Once all the milk is combined with the egg yolk mixture, pour it back into the saucepot and return to medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Continue whisking and bring it to a boil. Let the egg yolk mixture boil for 1 minute (and continue whisking constantly so lumps don't form!) and then remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla bean paste, and then pour the entire contents of the pot into the shallow dish.

4) Immediately cover the surface of the pastry cream with the plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour. Once cool, remove from the refrigerator and whisk until completely smooth and lump free. Fill a piping bag with the pastry cream and set aside until you need it.

Directions for Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream

1) Measure the sugar and 1/4 cup water into a heavy saucepan and heat over high heat until the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes (use a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature).

2) While the sugar is cooking, beat the egg whites on medium speed in the mixing bowl of a stand mixture to the soft peak stage (whites will look foamy and white). Be careful not to over whip the whites (if the egg whites start to look clumpy, then they've been over whipped. If this happens, toss them out and start again! If the whites are beating faster than the sugar is cooking, turn down the mixer speed. You can always turn up the speed if you need to!) Add the cream of tartar and continue whipping.

3) While the egg whites are whipping on medium speed, gently pour the sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl. Turn the speed up to high and whip until the mixing bowl no longer feels warm to the touch, about 7 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until the chocolate is completely melted.

5) Turn the mixer speed back to medium and add the butter in small chunks until it is completely incorporated. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla bean paste and sea salt. Turn the mixer back on medium-low speed until the vanilla paste has mixed entirely through the buttercream. Spoon a small amount (about 1/2 cup) of the buttercream into the melted dark chocolate and stir to combine. Add the chocolate mixture back to the buttercream and whip thoroughly, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the chocolate is combined.

6) Fit an 18-inch plastic piping bag with an 847 star tip and twist the bag right by the tip to prevent the buttercream from leaking out. While you grasp the piping bag right above the star tip with your hand, fold the top of the piping bag over your hand and spoon the butter cream into the piping bag.


Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.

2) Crack the eggs into a small container and set aside. Set the sugar aside. Then, in a small bowl, mix the gluten-free flour, nutmeg and salt together with a fork and set aside.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter with a paddle attachment until the butter is light in color and fluffy. Add the sugar to the butter and continue beating until the sugar is uniformly incorporated into the butter. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then restart the mixer on low speed and add 1 egg at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated in the butter mixture before adding the next egg. Once all the eggs have been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that all the butter is incorporated with the eggs. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk and oil, added in two additions, fully incorporating each addition into the batter before moving to the next step. If needed, stop the mixer after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then resume mixing on low.

4) Once all the dry ingredients and the milk have been combined with the butter mixture, evenly fill the cupcake pan cavities two-thirds of the way. Bake the cupcakes until the top of each cupcake is slightly springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately turn the cupcakes out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely.

5) Putting it all together: Using an apple corer or knife, core the centers out of the cooled cupcakes and remove. Fill the cupcakes with the Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream. Pipe the Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream to cover the top of each cooled cupcake.

Cook's Note: To bump up the chocolate flavor, you can melt 4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate and stripe the top of the frosted cupcakes with the dark chocolate.

Directions for Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream:

1) Bring the shallow dish or container for the finished pastry cream near the stovetop, and have the plastic wrap nearby as well. Measure the butter and vanilla bean paste into a small container and bring over near the stovetop. Pour the milk and 1/4 cup sugar into a heavy saucepot and scald over medium heat until the milk starts to steam. Do not boil the milk!

2) Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to combine and prevent any lumps in the cornstarch, and then add the whole egg and egg yolks. Whisk the egg yolk mixture until smooth and completely combined, and then bring over to the stove area and set the bowl with the yolks on top of a damp dish towel.

3) When the milk is steaming, remove from the heat. Whisking the egg yolk mixture constantly, slowly pour the milk in a steady stream into the egg yolk mixture. Once all the milk is combined with the egg yolk mixture, pour it back into the saucepot and return to medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Continue whisking and bring it to a boil. Let the egg yolk mixture boil for 1 minute (and continue whisking constantly so lumps don't form!) and then remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla bean paste, and then pour the entire contents of the pot into the shallow dish.

4) Immediately cover the surface of the pastry cream with the plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour. Once cool, remove from the refrigerator and whisk until completely smooth and lump free. Fill a piping bag with the pastry cream and set aside until you need it.

Directions for Dark Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream

1) Measure the sugar and 1/4 cup water into a heavy saucepan and heat over high heat until the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes (use a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature).

2) While the sugar is cooking, beat the egg whites on medium speed in the mixing bowl of a stand mixture to the soft peak stage (whites will look foamy and white). Be careful not to over whip the whites (if the egg whites start to look clumpy, then they've been over whipped. If this happens, toss them out and start again! If the whites are beating faster than the sugar is cooking, turn down the mixer speed. You can always turn up the speed if you need to!) Add the cream of tartar and continue whipping.

3) While the egg whites are whipping on medium speed, gently pour the sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl. Turn the speed up to high and whip until the mixing bowl no longer feels warm to the touch, about 7 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until the chocolate is completely melted.

5) Turn the mixer speed back to medium and add the butter in small chunks until it is completely incorporated. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla bean paste and sea salt. Turn the mixer back on medium-low speed until the vanilla paste has mixed entirely through the buttercream. Spoon a small amount (about 1/2 cup) of the buttercream into the melted dark chocolate and stir to combine. Add the chocolate mixture back to the buttercream and whip thoroughly, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the chocolate is combined.

6) Fit an 18-inch plastic piping bag with an 847 star tip and twist the bag right by the tip to prevent the buttercream from leaking out. While you grasp the piping bag right above the star tip with your hand, fold the top of the piping bag over your hand and spoon the butter cream into the piping bag.