Raspberry Ripple Cupcakes

Last week I took a mini road trip which of course meant I had to bake some yummy treats for the drive. I didn’t want to make anything that could possibly spoil so I settled on trying a cupcake recipe that didn’t call for the cupcakes to be frosted – mini Raspberry Ripple Cupcakes. I’ve wondered whether an unfrosted cupcake would qualify as being a muffin and after a few Google searches I haven’t been able to get a concrete answer on that one. Do you guys have any ideas on that?

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To begin, I lightly mashed a cup of fresh raspberries with a fork.

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I then sifted flour, baking powder, and cornstarch into the bowl of my stand mixer.

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Following that I added in softened butter, sugar, eggs and almond extract (I knew these cupcakes would be delicious once I saw this final ingredient.)

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I then beat all of the ingredients together until the mixture was smooth.

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And finally I folded in the mashed raspberries. And that was it… Sometimes you have to relish those recipes that are super quick to put together!

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After dividing the batter among paper lined mini muffin tins I baked them in a 375 F preheated oven for about 20 minutes.

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Once I removed them from the oven I transferred the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

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And of course I had to try a few before heading out on said road trip and they were super delicious… Moist and fluffy bursting with the flavors of almond and raspberries. Yum!

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To go along with these cupcakes I also made a batch of rugelach. Both of which were a hit with my fellow road trippers… We came back with empty tins!

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Raspberry Ripple Cupcakes*

Makes 32 mini cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup superfine sugar

3 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup fresh raspberries

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Put 32 paper liners into shallow muffin tins.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and cornstarch into a large bowl and add the butter, sugar, eggs and almond extract. Beat well until the mixture is smooth. Mash the raspberries lightly with a fork, then fold into the mix.

3. Divide the mixture among the paper liners. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until risen, firm and golden brown. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool.

*Unfortunately I cannot tell you the origin of the recipe as I ripped it out of a book (I know not so nice, but, my bookshelf was getting a little overloaded) and didn’t make note of which one.

Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th on Friday and that the rest of your holiday weekend was good. As for me, the 4th was a bit of a washout due to rain but the rest of the weekend was beautiful which meant I was able to do some yard work. The rain wasn’t all that bad though, it gave me the perfect excuse to stay in and bake some patriotic themed cupcakes. I settled on making Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. I should note that the recipe for the Lemon Buttermilk was originally for a loaf cake, but, I decided to turn it into cupcakes and add some frosting.  
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I began by whisking together the dry ingredients -flour, baking powder and salt – in one bowl and the wet ingredients – oil, sugar, buttermilk, eggs, lemon zest and juice – in another.
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After whisking those ingredients together by hand I opted to use my hand mixer to whisk all of the ingredients together.
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I then used an ice cream scoop – I find it’s always the perfect size for scooping cupcake batter – to fill patriotic themed cupcake liners.
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I then baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for 20 minutes – rotating the tins halfway through. After letting the cupcakes cool for a few minutes in the pan I removed them and let them cool completely on a wire rack.
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I then whipped up a batch of Cream Cheese Frosting and used a large open star tip to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.
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And since these were patriotic themed cupcakes I added some red and blue with stars and stripes sprinkles, blueberries and strawberries and blueberries and raspberries.
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Final verdict… Lemon & Cream Cheese are a winning combination!
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Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes – adapted from here

Makes 14 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup canola oil

2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, buttermilk, eggs, lemon zest and juice. Add to the dry ingredients.

4. Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes, rotating the tins halfway through.

5. Cool the cupcakes in the tins on a wire rack for a few minutes and then remove them and let them cool completely on the wire rack.

6. Frost and enjoy!

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

8oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups Confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Cream together the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer

2. With the mixer on low speed add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time until smooth and creamy

3. Beat in the vanilla extract

Lemon, Berries & Cream… Oh My!

Back in the fall I made a cake that I coined the Quintessential Fall Birthday Cake– an Apple Walnut Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (YUM!) – and recently I made a cake that could quite possibly be the Quintessential Summer Birthday Cake. A 4-tier lemon cake layered with pastry cream and topped with fresh berries (Delish!)
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Since the pastry cream needed to be refrigerated for at least 2 hours before using it I began this cake by cooking up 2 batches of it. I gathered up my ingredients (egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, salt, milk and vanilla extract) and whisked together the eggs yolks in one bowl and in another cooked the sugar, cornstarch, salt and milk until the mixture thickened and was bubbling. I then poured about a third of the milk mixture in with the eggs to temper them. Once the eggs were tempered I pour them back into the remaining milk mixture on the stove and whisked the mixture constantly until the cream came together. I removed the cream from the heat and added in the vanilla extract.
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Following that I strained the cream through a sieve and then placed a piece of parchment paper right on top of it prior to refrigerating it. I had never made pastry cream before and was concerned this wouldn’t come out well, especially with tempering the eggs, but, it came out perfectly and I probably could have easily eaten the whole bowl it was so good.
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While the pastry cream was chilling I began to work on the Lemon Cake – a 1-2-3-4 Lemon Cake. A 1-2-3-4 Cake is an old-fashioned cake that gets its name from the list of ingredients – one cup butter, two cups sugar, three cups flour and four eggs. First up I sifted together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. I actually sifted the flour twice as I first sifted it to get the 3 cups I needed and then sifted it again along with the other ingredients.
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In the bowl of my stand mixer I beat butter until it was softened and then gradually added in sugar until it was pale and fluffy.
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And then the eggs.
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Next up I added in the flour mixture in 3 batches alternating with 2 batches of buttermilk.
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And finally I beat in vanilla extract and lemon zest.
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I divided the batter evenly between two 8-inch pans – which I prepped with baking spray and parchment paper – and baked it for about 45 minutes in a 350 F preheated oven, rotating halfway through.
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After letting the cakes cool 15 minutes in the pans I then removed them and let them cool completely on wire racks.
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In preparation to assemble the cake I split the two cooled cakes into four with a cake leveler and then whisked together the chilled pastry cream.
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After assembling the cake – I spread about a cup of pastry cream between each layer – I chilled it in the refrigerator for about an hour so the pastry cream could set and so I wouldn’t end up with a cake that had layers sliding all over the place.
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While it chilled I rinsed and dried the berries I would be using – strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.
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To make sure the berries would stay put on top of the cake I spread a layer of pastry cream on the top tier and then placed the berries on top of it.
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This cake was delicious… The three flavors worked so well together and I can definitely see myself making it again before the cold weather begins to creep in in a few months.
 
Makes about 3 cups
Ingredients:
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt
2 cups milk
1 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions:
1. Whisk egg yolks until smooth in a large bowl. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan, and heat over medium. Stirring constantly, gradually ass milk in a slow, steady stream, and cook until mixture thickens and begins to bubble, about 5 minutes.
2. Whisking constantly, slowly pour one third of the milk mixture into egg yolks. Pour mixture into remaining milk mixture in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a full boil and is thick enough to hold its shape when lifted with a spoon, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.
3. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl. Cover with parchment paper or plastic wrap, pressing it directly on surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 2 hours (or up to 2 days.)
 
Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 2 lemons (I used one lemon so the cake wouldn’t be too “lemony”)
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter two 8-by-2 inch round cake pans; line with parchment rounds, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. (I used two 8-by-3 inch pans and used baking spray instead of butter and flour.) Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.
2. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add granulated sugar, and beat until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of bowl once or twice. Gradually add eggs; beat until incorporated after each addition, scraping down sides of bowl once or twice.
3. Slowly add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of buttermilk; beat until just combined. Beat in vanilla and lemon zest.
4. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake, rotating halfway though, until a cake tester comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks to cool 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks to cool completely.

Chocolate & Raspberries… Always A Good Combination

There’s nothing like a homemade birthday cake and whenever I bake one I usually let the honoree pick whatever they want – as was the case when I recently baked one for a friend’s mom. She had loved the Raspberry Cream Cheese frosting I used when I made the Lemon Cupcakes so I wanted to make a cake that would complement it and at the right moment I received an email from Real Simple with a Classic Chocolate Layer Cake recipe that sounded like the perfect match.

I started off by combining all of my dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking soda & salt) in a large bowl and whisking them together.

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I then combined two sticks of unsalted butter and a cup of water in a small saucepan and brought it to a boil.

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Once it boiled and the butter was completed melted I added it to the dry ingredients.

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Once it was combined I added in two eggs one at a time.

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Then sour cream.

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And finally vanilla extract.

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I then divided the batter between two 9-inch round pans and baked it in a 350 degrees preheated oven for 35 minutes.

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I let the cakes cool completely before frosting them.

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I whipped up a batch of Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting and folded in about a cup of fresh raspberries into half of the frosting and used it as the filling between the two cakes. I used the other half of the frosting to crumb coat the cake and then refrigerated it for about fifteen minutes so the filling and frosting could set. Meanwhile I made another batch of the frosting to cover and decorate the cake. I also used some fresh raspberries to decorate the cake and this was the final outcome…

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It looked and more importantly tasted delicious. Definitely something I’ll make again!

Classic Chocolate Layer Cake

Serves 8

Hands-On Time: 45m

Total Time: 2hr 00m

Ingredients

1  cup  unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into pieces, plus more for the pans

2  cups  all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

1 1/2  cups  granulated sugar

3/4  cup  unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2  cup  dark brown sugar

1  teaspoon  baking soda

1  teaspoon  kosher salt

2  large eggs

1/2  cup  sour cream

1  teaspoon  pure vanilla extract

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350º F. Butter two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each with a round of parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a small saucepan, combine the butter and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Add to the flour mixture and, using an electric mixer, mix until combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla.

4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

Directions

Begin by creaming the cream cheese and butter together and then add in the vanilla extract. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add in the confectioners’ sugar, once the sugar is incorporated add in the raspberry jam and continue mixing on medium speed.