Saturday, May 2, 2009

"R" is for Raspberry Ripple Cupcake

I recently got a new cookbook simply called "cupcakes". It's a beautiful book and in it I found this beautiful recipe for delicious raspberry cupcakes. Fresh berries remind me of summer and I made these on a beautiful warm sunny day. Dao saw a picture of them and requested them for his birthday and I must admit that the second time around they were waaaay better. The first time I made them I topped them with a lemon meringue, but the second time I used a lemon cream cheese frosting, both were very good, but the cream cheese was amazing! I made a few extra and brought them along with me to meet Kellie and Steve on a patio for afternoon, sunshine beers. They were gone within seconds, and luckily so because soon after they were devoured a freak hurricane/tornado/storm blew in and whisked the container away! These are light and fresh and perfect!

This cupcake has 2 parts:
1. The raspberry ripple cupcake
2. The lemon meringue (or lemon cream cheese frosting)

Part 1: The Raspberry Ripple Cupcake
The instructions for the recipe state: "Using 2 tsps, put a teaspoonful of the cake mixture into each paper case. Add a dollop of reaspberry puree, then top with more cake mixture. Swirl a knife through the mixtures to blend them slightly together." The recipe also calls for "a splash of milk". Neither of these things work! For one, the batter is VERY thick, thus making it essential to add more then a 'splash' of milk. I added a good splash after each addition of flour. This ended up being about 1/3 of a cup. Even with this extra milk it was impossible to "swirl" the mixtures together. For a more uniform batter with a decent consistency, I added the raspberries right into the batter and stirred just to incorporate. Also, as a side note, I've finally purchased a seive and started sifting my flour. I now believe that sifting flour is what makes a perfect cupcake! Silly me...what was I thinking!?!

Raspberry Ripple Cupcake
Makes 12-14 cupcakes

7 oz (200g) fresh or frozen raspberries
2 tbsp icing sugar
squeeze of lemon juice
2/3 cup very soft unsalted butter
2/3 cup superfine sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup self raising flour (see *note*)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
splash of milk

*Note: Self raising flour is 1 cup of flour with 1.5 tsp of baking powder and a pinch of salt.

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Push the raspberries (if using frozen then defrost them first) through a sieve to remove the seeds, then mix with the icing sugar and lemon juice. (I added a few of the discarded seeds back into the raspberry puree just cause I like seeds and there's a lot of good flavour left in the pulp.)
3. Put the butter in a bowl and beat to make sure it is really soft. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.
4. Sift together the flours then sift again into the creamed mixture and fold in with a metal sppon. Add a splash of milk to give a soft dropping consistency.
5. Using 2 tsps, put a teaspoonful of the cake mixture into each paper case. Add a dollop of raspberry puree, then top with more cuake mixture. Swirl a knife through the mixtures to blend them slightly. (Use this method or the method I described above.)
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until nicely risen and golden brown. Remove the cakes from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

Part 2: The Lemon Meringue frosting
A lightly flavoured lemon meringue goes so well on top of this fresh cupcake. Alternatively, a lively lemon cream cheese frosting is a tasty, richer and sweeter option. Both are great, so you decide. Below is the recipe for the meringue and you can find the recipe for the cream cheese frosting in the Earth Day cupcake post. I added at least 2 tbsp of lemon juice and the zest of half a lemon to get a more intense lemon flavour. Adjust the amount to your liking, but don't add TOO much as it will thin out the meringue.

Lemon Meringue
Enough to top 12 cupcakes

4 large egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
Pinch cream of tartar
Pinch of salt

1. Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a saucepan that can hold a mixer's bowl above the water.
2. Whisk the egg whites, sugar, lemon juice and zest, cream of tartar and salt in the bowl by hand.
3. Set the bowl above the boiling water and continue whisking until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar dissolves, about 1 to 2 minutes. You can tell when the sugar has dissolved by taking a little bit onto your finger and feeling the mixture. You won't be able to feel the grainyness of the sugar anymore!
4. Remove the bowl from the water and beat at medium-high speed until the meringue is cool and holds a soft peak, about 5 minutes.

Final Assembly
Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and top with a fresh raspberry. Enjoy!

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