A Mexican Garibaldi is a buttery upside-down cupcake, coated with apricot jam and white nonpareil sprinkles (pictured at the top of this post). Although this sweet treat was named as a homage to the Italian general Giuseppe Garibaldi, it was first created in Mexico City. In 1884, the Tenconi, an Italian family, opened a tea and pastry parlor in downtown Mexico City; they named it El Globo™ (“The Balloon”), inspired by the owners’ affection for hot air balloon flying, a very exclusive hobby in the 19th Century. In 1900, pastry chef Giovanni Laposse arrived as a new hiring from Turin, Italy, but in 1918, the business, as many others, was forced to close down due to The Mexican Revolutionary War (1910-1920s). Chef Laposse travelled back to Italy, and returned to Mexico in 1923, reopening the business; he created his signature cupcake, and gave it the name of an Italian he admired, general Giuseppe Garibaldi. Laposse and his descendants continued and expanded Pastelerías El Globo™ , keeping it as a family business for three generations, until it was sold in 1999, eventually becoming part of Mexican bread and pastry giant Bimbo™. The company prevails to this day, now with 170 stores all around Mexico. One of Giovanni’s grandsons, Alberto Laposse, currently lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; he owns hotels, a restaurant and a bakery, where he bakes Garibaldis, based on his grandfather’s original recipe.
While reviewing recipes and stories about the Garibaldi, I came across one from 2019 at Food52 ; the recipe seemed a little strange, listing cream cheese in addition to a whole cup of butter and three eggs, which seemed to me as excessive for just one and a half cups of flour. Proportions on paper might be deceiving, so I decided to read the comments to see if anyone had tried the recipe out; sure enough, there were some people commenting on their failure to reproduce the cupcake (or even produce a cupcake at all, for that matter.) What was an amazing find in that section, though, was a comment from Alberto Laposse himself; he explained who he was, his grandfather’s history and how he had fortunately kept the original recipe, which he then proceeded to candidly share! Below, an excerpt from his comment, including his recipe:
“ … My passion for baking has followed me for 50 years, I’m 59 now. My father took me and my brothers to learn how to bake since we were young. Years later, when I was almost 30 years old I moved to Paris, France, worked and studied new baking methods for two years, came back to Mexico in the early 1990s and grew the company up to 94 stores and 1800 employees until we sold it in 1999. Fortunately, I have kept the original Garibaldi recipe from my grandfather Giovanni and worked with it for many years, … I still bake the famous Garibaldis based on the original recipe developed by my Grandfather Giovanni, recipe that I would love to share with you in order to contribute [to] your interesting research and as a legacy from my dearest grandfather.
Deeply grateful for your most kind article
Whisk together: Butter 175 grams with all purpose sugar 160 grams until creamy consistency. Add two eggs, 100 grams one by one, reduce speed to minimum until they are absorbed. Separately add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract into 90 grams of whole milk and 15 grams of trimoline or honey. Sift 200g of all-purpose flour with 2g of baking powder and 2 g of salt. At a minimum speed add half the dry ingredients and half of liquid ingredients, let it integrate well and then add the remaining dry and liquid ingredients. (Definitely Garibaldis original recipe does not include cream cheese). After baking the cupcakes apply apricot marmalade diluted with syrup, brush it and then roll it in white small sugar drops, not too small, not too big as you want them to remain crispy and humid at the same time.
I have approximated Mr. Laposse’s recipe in US baking measurements as closely as possible, which was just the perfect amount for a dozen of beautifully buttery, upside-down cupcakes. The only change I made was how I coated the cupcakes, and I used warmed apricot jam without diluting, for a thicker spread, with a more concentrated flavour.
Ingredients (for one dozen)
¾ cup unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for greasing moulds
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp whole milk (or whipping cream*)
1 tbsp honey
1 ¾ cups flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup apricot jam
½ cup white nonpareil sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). In a cup mix vanilla, milk (or cream) and honey (photo below, left); reserve. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt (photo below, right); reserve:
Place butter in a large mixing bowl; add sugar (photo below, left). Beat at high speed, until sugar has dissolved, and the paste is light and fluffy. Add eggs, one by one, incorporating perfectly after each addition (photo below, right):
Reduce speed to low; add half the reserved flour mix (photo below, left). Add half the wet mix, and continue mixing (photo below, right):
Repeat with the rest of the dry and wet mixes, and continue mixing until the batter becomes uniform and thick:
Prepare a muffin tin by greasing each mould with butter. Divide batter into the well greased muffin moulds, about a third of a cup per mould:
Each mould should be filled to about two thirds to three quarters of its capacity, so there is no overflow during baking. Filling that way, the batter was just enough for the twelve moulds in the tray:
Bake for 18-20 minutes; the cupcakes raised just close to the top of the moulds, without forming a dome, and the centre finished drying as the edges started to brown. Remove from oven when the surface is completely dry and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle:
Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then cover the tray with parchment paper, and place a cooling rack, upside down, on top:
Hold edges of tray and rack together, then flip over, and remove tray:
Place apricot jam in a bowl, and warm up, either by placing the bowl in the microwave oven for 15 seconds, or in a bath of hot water. The recipe says to brush cupcakes with jam and roll in white nonpareil sprinkles. I tried that method first, coating with jam using a brush (photo below, left), then dropping, jam side down, in a container with the sprinkles (photo below, centre). I am guessing it would have worked better with a deep container filled up with sprinkles; I ended up flipping the cupcake, jam side up, and picking up sprinkles with a spoon, then pouring on the top and edge of the cupcake (photo below, right):
An alternative was to brush with jam only around the edge (photo below, left), then roll on sprinkles (photo below, right):
Once the edge is coated, set cupcake back on the parchment paper, with the smaller circle facing up, and cover surface with jam (photo below, left). Sprinkle nonpareil on top, to finish coating (photo below, right):
Continue with the rest of the cupcakes, as seen below. I used up a whole 85 g. container of Wilton™ white nonpareil sprinkles (about 100 ml), and needed a little more, so it was close to half a cup total (with some room for spillage of rogue white sugar pearls, rolling on the paper, table and floor):
Allow jam to set before eating … easier said than done! Look at the half eaten cupcake above, and another whole Garibaldi has mysteriously disappeared from the rack, as well. My husband found them very nice, but somewhat greasy for his taste (*NOTE: I did not have whole milk, so I used whipping cream, and this could have accounted for the extra fat.) However, to me, it was just like getting a tray of delicious melt-in-your-mouth Garibaldis, at El Globo™:
I felt transported back to weekend afternoons in Mexico, snacking on Garibaldis with friends and a cup of tea (like in my previous post) or coffee, as shown below:
I cannot express how grateful I am to Don Alberto Laposse for so generously sharing his grandfather’s recipe with the world.
FUN FACT – The Two Garibaldis
In Mexico, the name Garibaldi brings to mind images of the buttery pastry – subject of this post – but also of a square for mariachi band performances. As mentioned above, the cupcake was named in honour of the Italian general Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882), who was instrumental in the unification of Italy in the 19th century, but Plaza Garibaldi, situated in Mexico City’s downtown area, was named after his grandson, Giuseppe Garibaldi II (1879-1950), better known in Mexico as José “Peppino” Garibaldi. The young Garibaldi was a career soldier and army volunteer in several countries in Europe and the Americas, including Mexico; he served as a lieutenant colonel in the rebel army of Francisco I. Madero during the Mexican Revolution. For his actions during this war, Plaza Santa Cecilia, in Mexico City, was renamed as Plaza Garibaldi in the 1920s. On one side of Plaza Garibaldi was a nightclub called El Salón Tenampa, which set a trend when Cirilo Marmolejo and his mariachi band performed there regularly; the plaza soon attracted other mariachi musicians, and nowadays, it is the city’s mariachi band hub.
ANOTHER FUN FACT – Another Two Garibaldis
In Mexico, the name Garibaldi brings to mind images of a buttery pastry … and so does in Great Britain! The uncanny coincidence goes back to the same historical figure; according to Wikipedia, the Garibaldi Biscuit was created in 1861, a few years after general Giuseppe Garibaldi paid a visit to South Shields in England in 1854. The traditional sweet treat consists of a currant jam sandwiched between two biscuits, and there are also Easter Garibaldi biscuits, in which currants have been incorporated into the biscuit dough.
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I am also sharing my recipe at Thursday Favourite Things #453 with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.