Canada is just so adorable and free of drama, I feel like we need to celebrate our sensible neighbors to the north more often. They have some great ideas about desserts (and I’m not just talking about Mounties), so making a Canadian dessert is pretty simple as well as delicious.
For my last Canadian event I made Nanaimo Bars, named after the west coast city of Nanaimo, British Columbia where it became famous.
But since I’ve already made those once I wanted to try something a little different, and I found this recipe for a cupcake version of the bars from C&C Cakery in Vancouver.
This worked out perfectly because I’ve had a bag of CN Tower swizzle sticks ever since I took a friend there for drinks the night before his wedding in Toronto and the bartender gifted them to us, and sticking them in cupcakes seemed like the best idea.
Look how lovely and jaunty they look:
Just be careful not to poke your eye out with them.
The recipe is straightforward and makes a nice, fluffy batter. It’s much easier to spoon into the cups than some of the runny cupcakes batters I’ve made in the past.
While the cupcakes are in the oven you can whip up the custard filling. I used Bird’s custard powder, which I picked up on my last trip to Canada. If you can’t find that at your grocery store you may have to settle for a vanilla pudding mix. It’s not quite the same, but somehow the custard thing just never caught on here in the States. It’s a shame, because it’s delicious.
Once baked, the cupcakes have a sort of German Chocolate Cake scent and flavor because of the coconut. But once I scooped out a bit of the middles to put in the custard and then topped it with the melted chocolate, it definitely felt more like a Nanaimo Bar.
The recipe recommends putting the cupcakes into the fridge for an hour or so to let the chocolate set on top, but I served mine right away and people loved that it was still a little warm and goopy. That’s different from the bars, but do what makes you happy.
Ride on, little Mountie dude!
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup melted semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup milk + 1/4 cup yogurt
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1) Heat your oven to 350C. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, graham, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- 2) In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until they're completely incorporated. Add and mix in the vanilla. Slowly incorporate the melted chocolate chips (make sure they're cooled to at least room temperature first).
- 3) Add the flour mixture and the milk/yogurt mixture into your batter, alternating between the two. When your batter is just about mixed (do not overmix!) add the coconut. Spoon batter into cupcake liners and bake 20-25 minutes, or when your cake tester comes out clean. Leave out to cool while you make the filling.
- Vanilla Custard Filling
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 4 Tablespoons custard powder (we use Bird's Custard)
- 4 Tablespoons milk
- 2 cup icing sugar
- 1)Mix butter, custard powder, and milk together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer. Slowly incorporate the icing sugar until fully mixed
- 2)Core holes into your cooled cupcakes, about an inch and a half around and at least half way in. Carefully spoon the custard filling into the holes. Don't worry if you get custard on the top of the cupcake, it will be covered by ganache later. Place filled cupcakes in the fridge to cool as you make your ganache.
- Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache
- 1/4 cup butter
- 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 1) Over a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate until smooth and shiny. Carefully spoon over your cooled and filled cupcakes, slowly covering the entire top. Place in fridge for at least an hour to cool down completely.
The True North strong and free!