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Anyone who knows me knows I kind of have a thing for cupcakes. I'm not sure when my obsession began, but I do have a memory of Mrs. Kessler, my kindergarten teacher, tearing the bottom off of a cupcake and sandwiching it on top. That was her favorite way to eat them. For some strange reason I sit here 32 years later and actually remember that! As for why I'm obsessed with cupcakes? Well, they're CUPCAKES, of course!! What's not to love!! Sweet little treats made just for you! Though my love for cupcakes has been lifelong, it's only been in the past few years that I've really started honing my baking skills and learning how to bake delicious, unique cupcakes. To that end, I was fortunate enough this past week to bake some yummy cupcake treats for two special occasions (I'll share the second one a little later this week!) These Vanilla Raspberry Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream were to celebrate a friend's little boy's 4th birthday party. My friend came up with the flavor combination and I'm really happy with the results! I used a basic vanilla cupcake recipe from The Cupcake Diaries, by the sisters at Georgetown Cupcake. I filled them with a raspberry jam from Annie's Eats and topped them with my favorite chocolate buttercream, slightly adapted from Williams-Sonoma Family Meals. I'm not a huge chocolate frosting person, but I could eat this stuff by the gallon! Its creamy and sweet, but not too sweet..it's just heavenly!
Ok, full disclaimer here: I suck at photography. Well, maybe I'm not that bad but hubby got a new fancy, schmancy camera a few months ago and I attempted to use it to take pictures of my cupcakes all frosted and ready to go. Little did I know I forgot to use the flash! So, the first picture you see above is doctored up a bit with the help of my photo editor!
Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling and Chocolate Buttercream
Makes 22-24 cupcakes
For the cupcakes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour **
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350. Line a standard cupcake pan with liners. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition. Add the vanilla to the milk in a liquid measuring cup. Add one third of the dry ingredients followed by one third of the milk, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Repeat. Stop to scrape down the bowl as necessary. Add the last third of the dry ingredients followed by the last third of the milk, mixing slowly until well incorporated.
Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners filling them about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pans for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cooled completely make a hole in the center of the cupcake for the raspberry filling. You can cut a hole with a small paring knife, but my favorite way to do this is with an apple corer. Make sure not to go the whole way through the cupcake. You can replace the 'cap' back on the cupcake if you want. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Your cupcakes are now ready to fill!
** These cupcakes can be made Gluten Free by using 2 1/2 cups high-quality Gluten Free Flour Mix. I use Gluuteny Basic Flour Mix from Gluuteny.
For the Raspberry Filling
8 oz frozen raspberries, thawed
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Drain the thawed raspberries, reserving the liquid in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough water to equal 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the liquid, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Mix well. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture boils and thickens. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Stir the raspberries into the cooled mixture. (Depending on the texture you want you can smash the berries or leave them whole. You can also strain through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds if desired.) Transfer to the refrigerator to chill. It will thicken as it chills.
** I like to make the filling the night before so it's ready when I am.
When the cupcakes are ready to fill remove the 'cap' of the cupcake. Using a small spoon, fill each cupcake with some raspberry filling. Replace the 'cap' if desired.
For the Chocolate Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (I prefer European butter)
4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup whole milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3-4 tsp very hot water
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add the salt to the confectioner's sugar. On low speed, gradually add 1/2 of the powdered sugar mixture to the butter. Slowly add the milk and vanilla extract. Add the remaining confectioner's sugar and beat until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer on medium-high speed and beat until fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Sift the cocoa powder over the frosting and beat on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Gradually add the hot water (to activate the cocoa flavor) being careful not to add so much that the frosting becomes too wet. Continue beating the frosting for an additional 1-2 minutes.
Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a large tip. Swirl frosting onto cupcake and enjoy!
Pittsburgh area mom striving to provide clean, healthy, REAL food for her family!