White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

One of my favorite cheesecake flavors is White Chocolate Raspberry. One day I got to thinking what about a cupcake that incorporated those flavors, just without the cheesecake part. I knew I wanted the frosting to be white chocolate, but I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to incorporate raspberry into the cupcakes. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to fold fresh raspberries into the batter or make the cupcakes with a raspberry swirl. Ultimately, I decided to make a true raspberry cupcake by incorporating a fresh raspberry puree and raspberry powder – made from freeze-dried raspberries – into my batter. 

To make the raspberry puree and the raspberry powder I used my food processor to process the fresh raspberries and freeze-dried raspberries and then used a fine mesh sieve to sift the seeds out of the raspberry powder and pressed the raspberry puree through the sieve to separate it from the seeds. A quick tip, I processed the freeze-dried raspberries first and then the fresh raspberries afterwards so I wouldn’t have to clean my food processor in between. If you are wondering where you can get freeze dried raspberries from, I found mine at my local Target. And while you could make these cupcakes without the raspberry powder, adding it really enhances the raspberry flavor, especially if you end up with a batch of raspberries that aren’t incredibly sweet. The powder also intensifies the color of the cupcakes without having to use food coloring to get a nice pink color reminiscent of raspberries.

Once the raspberry powder and puree was ready, I incorporated the puree into my wet ingredients and the powder into my dry ingredients and then mixed the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients alternating with milk. When filling my cupcake liners, I erred on the side of caution when filling them since I wasn’t sure how much they would rise. As you can see, I filled them about 3/4 quarters of the way…

Once they were baked though I noticed that they didn’t rise that much and I could have filled them just about to the top. And I have to mention that the smell of these cupcakes is pure raspberries. There was no doubt what the flavor was going to be.

After letting them cool in the pan for 15 minutes I transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once they were cooled it was time to make the frosting.   

Now, for the white chocolate frosting you may be tempted to and they are easier to come by, but don’t use white chips for it. With most brands, white chips do not contain cocoa butter and thus cannot be called chocolate. If you do use them, your frosting will not be smooth, but instead will have chunks of the chips in it even after melting and beating it into your frosting (I speak from experience). It’s best to buy white chocolate in bar form and check the ingredient list to make sure it does contain cocoa butter. For this recipe I used two Lindt White Chocolate bars that you can find in the candy aisle or you can use Ghirardelli White Chocolate Bars that are normally found in the baking aisle.

I started by melting and cooling the chocolate and then I gradually beat it into butter that I had already beaten. I opted to make the frosting in my stand mixer so I could keep it running constantly while adding in the ingredients. Once the chocolate was incorporated, I then gradually added in confectioners’ sugar and finally vanilla extract and heavy whipping cream. Adding the whipping cream helps to make the frosting light and fluffy. And in case you are wondering, even with the chocolate and confectioners’ sugar the frosting is not overly sweet. I transferred the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and piped swirls on each of the cupcakes and topped some with a fresh raspberry for a final touch.

Raspberry Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 Cupcakes
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Ingredients:

6oz. (1 1/4 cups) fresh raspberries

1/4 cup freeze dried raspberries,

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake pan with liners and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor add the freeze-dried raspberries. Pulse a few times until they become a powder. Sift the powder through a fine mesh sieve to eliminate the seeds. Set aside.

Add the fresh raspberries to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until the raspberries until they have broken down. Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl to separate the seeds from the puree. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and raspberry powder and set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter on medium speed until cream. Add the sugar and continue beating until light & fluffy.

Add the eggs 1 at a time, then the vanilla extract and finally the raspberry puree until just incorporated.

Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk on low speed. Raise the speed to medium until just combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

White Chocolate Frosting

  • Servings: About 2 cups
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Ingredients:

8oz. white chocolate

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Chop the white chocolate and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until completely smooth. Let cool for 15 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer) beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Reduce the speed to love and gradually add in the cooled melted chocolate.

Still on low speed, gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar.

Add in the vanilla extract and salt increase the speed to medium and then finally add in the heavy cream and beat for another minute or so.

Holiday Baking… Six Hits and A Miss

What would the holidays be without some yummy homemade treats? Every year a day or two before Christmas Eve I bake about four or five different types of cookies. This year was no different, although this year baking didn’t seem as stressful as year’s past- probably because I was able to bake on the weekend as opposed to a weekday. Every year I get the idea to bake up actual Christmas cookies with frosting and decorations, but, it never happens. Instead my holiday cookies look more like this…

An assortment that includes Rugelach, Peanut Butter, Malted Chocolate Chip, Lemon and Fudgy Chocolate Cookies.

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I also decided to bake a cake for a friend’s Christmas Eve dinner. I wanted to try something new so I went with a recipe that I saw in the December 2012 issue of Food Network Magazine, an Almond Layer Cake with White Chocolate Frosting.

First things first, I got together all of my ingredients together.

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To start off I essentially created a variation of pure almond flour by pulsing together cake flour, baking powder, salt and almonds until the almonds were finely ground down.

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Next up I whisked together egg whites, milk, vanilla and almond extract. While there are almonds in the flour component of the batter, the almond extract is what truly gives this cake its almond taste and scent.

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And finally, what cake would be complete without creaming together butter and sugar.

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I then incorporated all three of these components to create the batter for the cake.

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And then divided the batter among my two prepared pans and popped them into the oven.

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After about twenty-five minutes my cakes were ready to come out of the oven and cool down.

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While I had no doubt that the cake would taste good I was a bit doubtful that the frosting would be as good. I have never been partial to white chocolate so I wasn’t sure how I would like white chocolate frosting. Also, I couldn’t imagine the almond flavor actually tasting good with it. But, I was wrong. The frosting actually leaned more towards a cream cheese flavor than a white chocolate flavor which was a good match for the almond flavor.

The frosting was super simple to make. Basically I made a cream cheese frosting and then incorporated melted white chocolate into it. For the white chocolate I opted to use two Ghirardelli white chocolate baking bars.

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To start frosting I used about a cup of frosting in between the two layers and then covered the cake in a crumb coat and placed it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

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I then used the remaining frosting to finish covering the cake. Once that was done I covered the cake in some red sparkles I had bought to give it a festive feel.

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This cake was a HIT! One of my friends said it was like eating a Good Humor Toasted Almond ice cream bar!

Unfortunately everything can’t always be a success. I tried making Rainbow Cookies a few years and I wasn’t too happy with the end result. While they tasted good I wasn’t pleased with the way they looked. I decided to try this year after coming across a recipe in a recent issue of Food Network magazine that seemed flawless enough. Once again though, there wasn’t a pot of gold at the end of my rainbow. I’m not sure if I waited too long to slice them or something went wrong while mixing and baking but they weren’t too appetizing looking. While I could overlook that, I couldn’t overlook the fact that they didn’t have much of a taste. All I could taste was the chocolate and not much of anything else.  After failing twice to get these cookies to somewhat near perfection I doubt I will try again. Sometimes you don’t need three strikes to be out!

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They looked great prior to and after being covered with chocolate, but, as you can see that was short-lived once I started slicing them. Oh well!