Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cupcake Wars (Raspberry Cupcakes)

As we've recently established, I am coo coo  for cupcakes, a chronic condition from which I am unlikely to recover. So, while my friends ready the "intervention" banner, I look to any occasion as an excuse to begin manufacturing tiny treats. Recently, it was our good friend Mandy's birthday, so the spirit was with me once again.

I wish I could quit you
Now, Mandy's commitment to nutrition and fitness had me this close to making a low fat, vegan, yoga cake. Unsurprisingly, I went with cupcakes, instead. For this batch, I set my heart on raspberry - one of my favorites. Raspberries have a sweet-tart, summery character that's easy to love, but to really pack in the flavor, I needed something concentrated.

We be jammin'

You want your richest, berriest, very favorite raspberry jam. Of course, in addition to packing intense raspberry flavor, you want it to be seedless.

Deceptively simple
Once the jam is slipped into my standard cupcake recipe and the cream cheese icing, things take on a slight hint of purple-red color, a saucy sweetness, and the ripe, rapturous flavor of raspberries (no food coloring!). Tender and moist as always, these cupcakes seems to borrow even extra softness from the inclusion of the raspberry jam. Topped off with some fresh berries and a light brushing of pearl dust, we're ready to party.

Sparkling personality

Raspberry cupcakes

Favorite jam in hand, you can probably get this to work with any fruit or berry of your choice. Next time I 'm experimenting, I'm going for elderberry cupcakes spiked with elderflower cordial.

For the cupcakes:
2c sugar
4 tbs seedless raspberry jam
1 tbs fresh lemon zest
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c sour cream
1 c canola oil
2 1/2 c cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs white vinegar

For the raspberry cream cheese icing:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 oz seedless raspberry jam
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
4 c powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease 24 cupcake tins or use cupcake liners. In a large bowl, blend together the sugar, jam, and lemon zest.

Like jelly candy

Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until fully incorporated. Then do the same with the sour cream and then the oil. Sift together the dry ingredients, then pour them into the wet and mix completely.


Quickly whip in the vinegar and fill cups about three quarters to halfway.

Bake until the tops are lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with just a few damp, clinging crumbs, about18-23 minutes.

Pretty in Pink
Cool the cupcakes in the tins on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then pop them out onto the rack directly to cool completely.

I deliberately made thinner icing for soft, flowing lines. The recipe here uses the amount for "proper" stiff icing
To make the icing, blend the cream cheese, jam, and lemon juice together until evenly combined. Beat in the sugar one cup at a time, scraping down the sides with a spatula between additions. For thicker icing, add more sugar. For thinner icing, add more lemon juice or some milk.

Pipe or spread icing onto the cupcakes and top with raspberries.

If you wish to apply pearl dust, chill the iced cupcakes in a refrigerator for half an hour or more, until the icing becomes slightly crisp on the outside, then gently paint on pearl dust using a soft brush.



Mandy M said...

Lowfat vegan yoga cake, bahahaha. No matter how strong my commitment to healthy eating, I'll never be able to resist your fabulous desserts. These were absolutely incredible and the perfect treat to celebrate my birthday with. You are a mad cupcake genius!!

James said...

One day, I will inflict yoga cake upon someone. Most likely myself.

I'm so glad you had a happy birthday, here's to more to come!