Monday, June 13, 2011

Tomato Chocolate Cupcakes Topped with Olive Oil Parmesan Spaghetti Ice cream and Strawberry Basil Chianti Sauce

When I saw the Ice Cream Cupcake Contest over at The Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious, I immediately thought of one of my favorite treats here in Germany -  Spaghettieis. Ice cream is always fun, but spaghetti ice cream is really fun.

In every city I've lived in or visited in Germany, from Munich to Monshau, Cologne to Berlin and even in our little village, there is no shortage of delicious italian ice cream parlors. Cones and cups are readily available for takeout but the real fun is to sit down and gawk at the fabulous creations on the menu. The spaghetti ice cream is most likely found in the kids section but I don't care. The first time I saw it I ordered it and maybe it's my Faux Foods obsession, but now it's a habit and I have no desire to grow up and order something more elegant.

Spagetti and Meatball cupcakes created by other bloggers caught my eye and have been floating around on my to do list for awhile. They came to mind when I saw this challenge along with the idea to use spaghetti ice cream instead of frosting. Then I went off on an Italian flavor tangent.

These chocolate tomato cupcakes initially came out not as sturdy as I would have liked but firmed up nicely when stored in the freezer. Their delicate structure belied their punch of multi layered flavor. Adding tomato paste to the batter gave it a deep, almost smokey taste that balanced the chocolate beautifully. 

The olive oil parmesan ice cream was the real winner. I was a little hesitant to deviate and add the strong parmesan flavor and nervously compensated by upping the sugar by a half cup. The end result might be a bit too sweet for most people (not me.) Regardless, this ice cream is fantastic and tasted like an olive oil cheesecake. Next time I will try leaving out that extra half cup of sugar.

Topping the cupcake off with strawberry basil chianti sauce that had just the right mixture of tang and sweet made me want to try it with other ice cream flavors.

All together this made one intriguing cupcake, packed with flavor and fun to eat.

Tomato Chocolate Cupcakes Topped with 
Olive Oil Parmesan Spaghetti Ice cream
and Strawberry Basil Chianti Sauce

For the Chocolate Tomato Cupcakes:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup finely pureed tomatoes (passata di pomodor)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line two cupcake pans with liners.
  • Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  • Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave.
  • Cream butters and sugars together until fluffy.
  • Add tomato paste.
  • Add eggs one at a time, waiting until each is thoroughly incorporated into the batter.
  • Add vanilla and melted chocolate and mix thoroughly.
  • Add flour mixture and tomato puree alternately in thirds.
  • Fill a pastry bag with the batter and pipe the batter into the liners about 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes about 26 cupcakes

For the Olive Oil Parmesan Ice Cream*:
(Adapted from Olive Oil Ice Cream Recipe from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz)

  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
  • 8 egg yolks beaten
  • 2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
*I made double the amount so I could cover all the cupcakes. For a smaller batch, halve the recipe and leave out 1/4 cup of sugar to cut down the sweetness.

  • Place cream in a bowl and place a strainer on top.
  • Heat milk, sugar and parmesan in a saucepan.
  • Slowly pour a bit of the cream into the egg yolks while whisking, then pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the milk mixture stirring constantly.
  • Heat until the mixture thickens a bit.
  • Pour into cream over strainer.
  • Whisk in the olive oil.
  • Cover with plastic cling film. Make sure it is directly on the mixture.
  • Refrigerate for a few hour until cold.
  • Place in the container of your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturers directions.

For the Strawberry Basil Chianti Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1+1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 7-8 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of your favorite Chianti or Italian red wine
  • Place strawberries, sugar, basil and chianti in a food processor and puree.
  • Scrape into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Assemble the Cupcakes:

You will need:
  • 1/2 cup buttercream frosting*
  • 1/2 ounce white chocolate, grated
  • Potato ricer
  • Take six of the cupcakes and crumble them into a dish with the buttercream. Form little cake balls about 1/2 in diameter. Set aside.
  • Load the ice cream into a potato ricer and squeeze the ice cream onto the tops of the cupcakes.
  • Place a few cake "meat" balls on top of each cupcake and put the cupcakes in the freezer for about 1/2 hour or until until the ice cream has hardened.
  • Remove from freezer and spoon a bit of strawberry sauce on top of the ice cream.
  •  Sprinkle the shaved white chocolate on top.
  • Return cupcakes to freezer until ready to serve.
*I had some leftover chocolate buttercream on hand. If you don't, in a bowl combine 2 tablespoons softened butter, 2 cups powdered sugar, 6 tablespoons cocoa powder and an 1/8 cup of milk. Mix everything up and add more powdered sugar or milk until it becomes buttercream consistency.

Makes 20 Spagetti Ice Cream Cupcakes


    1. these cupcakes are very nice; for the strawberry sauce you could use balsamic vinegar instead of wine. Today I've also posted a cream with basil, if you like, go to see him and leave me your opinion. Thanks

    2. You always make the most beautiful and creative cupcakes. Amazing.

    3. Wow! These cupcakes are incredibly creative. I've never seen anything love them. I love the use of the potato ricer for adding that appearance to the ice cream.

    4. I'm impressed--both with the execution and for using adventurous flavors! I'd never heard of Spaghettieis, but we did read a story in my middle-school German class about bullies calling an Italian girl Spaghettifresserin. Those meanies!

      P.S. The chocolate/tomato combination makes me think of Thunder Cake, which was (and still is!) one of my favorite children's books.

    5. Holy smokes! What a process and what an innovative looking cupcake. Kudos to you for your ingenuity and creativity.

    6. You, my friend, are a evil genius. We should combine our love of awesome flavour combos and TAKE OVER THE CUPCAKE WORLD. If only you weren't an ocean away :( Good luck in the contest - I'm rooting for you!

    7. Lovely pics to drool at!! You are a master in creating out-of-the-world cupcakes!

    8. These are amazing and Crazy!!!

    9. These are INSANE! how do you come up with this stuff?

      They really look like spaghetti and meatballs!

    10. Wow that's some interesting cupcake, you always come up with something fun and out of the box.

    11. these look adorable and yummy! a combo I would have never thought of!

    12. Wow, so creative! These cupcakes are super cute and I love how all the components come together! :)

    13. Love - what a crazy combo - who knew!! Can't even imagine what they taste like, but sure willing to try!!


    Thank you for your comments and feedback. I love hearing from you!