November 28, 2012

Bake Shop

Rae Daniel in his Student Services office

Financial aid advisor Rae Daniel has a recipe for fiscal planning and Cherry Cola Cupcakes

By day, Rae Daniel is a financial aid counselor. By night, he’s a pastry chef.

His co-workers appreciate his alter ego. At one recent student services staff meeting, Daniel showed up with a few of his unique creations: cupcakes with avocado-flavored frosting with bits of bacon sprinkled on top.

“I like to think of something out of the ordinary with a twist that people would like,” said Daniel, whose office inside student services is decorated with ‘Thank You’ cards pinned to the wall. “And people seem to really like it.”

Professional pastry school may be in Daniel’s future, but for now, he’s a dedicated financial aid counselor who just completed his MBA at Endicott College. Beyond helping Wentworth students find a way to pay for school, he’s become involved with promoting Wentworth as the college of choice for Boston Public School students, leading presentations on how high school students can start thinking about paying for college.

“I want to advocate for people who thought college wasn’t for them or that it was a long shot, particularly in terms of finances,” said Daniel, who received Wentworth’s “Service to Community” award last April in recognition of the rapport he’s developed with local high schools.

We asked Daniel to take a break from financial aid advocacy long enough to come up with a holiday dessert recipe for the Wentworth community. He didn’t disappoint. Below, you’ll find Daniel’s own “Cherry Cola Cupcakes.”

Rae’s Cherry Cola Cupcakes

The chocolate cake can be made from scratch or store bought (if you’re not feeling ambitious).

This recipe will yield 24 regular sized cupcakes.

The cake:

3 cups of all-purpose flour

6 Table spoons cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 ½ cups Coke (Diet Coke should be avoided)

3 tsp. vanilla extract

1 can of cherry pie filling

Directions

First be sure to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your muffin tins or apply nonstick baking spray.

Be sure to sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa into a bowl and then set the mixture aside.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the sugar and butter at mid to high speed until the mixture becomes smooth. Add and mix in each egg one at a time, continue to mix for about a minute between adding the next egg.

In a separate bowl pour in the cola, vanilla extract and buttermilk (give it time to settle).

Now take the bowl that contains the dry ingredients. You will need to add the dry mixture to the smooth butter mixture in 4 portions while also incrementally adding in the coke mixture. 

You can now carefully spoon the mixture into the muffin tins. Make sure to only fill each tin 2/3 of the way. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes. You can test whether they’re fully cooked by inserting a small knife and making sure the knife comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool on a wire rack.

Once fully cooled, cut a cone shaped whole in the tops of the cupcakes with a small knife and add a spoonful of cherry pie filling.

Glaze:

1 cup flour

 ½ cup powdered sugar

4 table spoons cola

Mix these three ingredients in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth. Pour a spoonful of the glaze on each cupcake.

Icing:

1 ½ cups heavy cream

6 table spoons powdered sugar

Maraschino cherries for garnish (optional)

Mix the heavy cream in a bowl at low speed. Gradually add in the tablespoons of powdered sugar to the cream as you mix. Gradually increase the speed of the mixer as you add in the powdered sugar. (You can also sparingly add some maraschino cherry juice and/or cola for some extra flavor.) Continue to mix until the mixture becomes fluffy.

Top each cupcake with the icing and add a cherry to the top of each and enjoy.

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