Raspberry + White Chocolate Cupcakes

I really wanted to make a pink cupcake.  I’m a little pink obsessed and that was the only goal I had in mind when I tried to come up with a cupcake recipe for this week.  I knew exactly how I wanted it to look before I knew what flavor it would be; a soft pink cupcake with a white buttercream.  Well, I failed.  Thankfully I’ve been on a lavender kick for the past few years, so when they came out lavender I wasn’t too bummed about it.

So working backwards from the vision I had in my head, and because it’s still summer time (and summer = fruit…in my mind at least), I thought “raspberry cupcake and a white chocolate buttercream!”  I try to make everything from scratch as much as possible and from fresh ingredients.  I hate using flavor extracts (minus vanilla of course) because they taste really shitty and artificial, or food coloring (unless I’m making red velvet).  Since I wanted the cake “pink” I decided to use raspberry puree for both flavor and color.  I was a little apprehensive because they are really acidic and I worried it would throw off the texture.  Rather than worry about it too much and do hours worth of Googling which would have likely resulted in my having to take a chemistry course at my local community college, I decided to just dive right in and hope for the best.  I took the same white cake recipe from my PB&J cupcakes but swapped out some of the sour cream for raspberry puree.  I think they came out ok for the most part.  They were moist and tasty, but the texture wasn’t as fine as I would have liked.

Raspberry + White Chocolate

Raspberry + White Chocolate Buttercream

Yields approx. 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Cake:
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 – 2 cups raspberries (enough to yield 3/4 cup puree) – fresh or thawed
1/4 cup sour cream – room temperature
4 large egg whites – room temperature
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter – room temperature

For the Buttercream:
3 sticks unsalted butter- room temperature
9 ounces white chocolate
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
6 tablespoons milk

Directions:

For the Cake:
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (330°F for a convection oven).  Line your cupcake pan with paper liners.

2. Dump your raspberries into a food processor and blend until you get a smooth puree.

3. Since there are about a million seeds in a raspberry, you’re going to want to strain the mixture. Pour the puree into a fine mesh sieve with a bowl underneath.  Take a spoon or spatula and stir the puree around in the sieve, pushing it through into the bowl.  You are going to want to end up with 3/4 cups of strained puree.  Set aside for later.

4. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine all of your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar and salt).  Mix on low speed with the paddle attachment for a few seconds to combine.

5. Cut the softened, room temperature butter into tablespoon-sized pieces.  Turn the stand mixer back on low speed, and add the butter one piece at a time.  Wait for the previous piece to be incorporated before adding the next.

6. In a medium bowl whisk together the egg whites, sour cream, and raspberry puree.  Once combined, add slowly (in thirds if you like) to the butter + dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer on low to medium speed until the mixture is homogenous.  Don’t forget to scrape the sides of your bowl as you go to make sure everything is incorporated evenly.

7. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the lined cupcake pan.  They should be about 2/3 of the way full.  Using a scoop will help keep the size consistent, but you can also spoon the batter into a piping bag, cut the tip off, and squeeze the batter into the liners.

8. Bake for 18 – 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  If using a convection oven, you should rotate the pan after 15 minutes and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.  As every oven is different, and until you get the hang of yours, you really want to do the toothpick test every minute or two when you come close to end of your baking time.  Just don’t open the oven too often, as you’ll loose heat quickly.  I have a convection oven, had the temp. at 330°F, and baked them for 22 minutes total.

For the Buttercream:
1. Melt your white chocolate in a double broiler by breaking/chopping the chocolate into smaller pieces and placing in a heat proof bowl.  Place that bowl over a pot of gently simmering water and stir until melted.  You can also do this in the microwave by placing the chocolate pieces in the a microwave safe bowl and nuking in 20 seconds bursts.  It should only take two 20 second bursts to melt the chocolate, depending on your microwave.  Make sure to stir the chocolate in between or it can burn.  Once the chocolate is melted, set it aside and let it cool for 5 – 10 minutes.  It should be just slightly warm and still pourable.

2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter for a few minutes on medium/high speed until the butter lightens in color and becomes light and fluffy.

3. Add the 6 tablespoons of room temperature milk to the bowl and continue creaming on medium/high for another 3 minutes.  If your milk it cold it will cause the butter to re-harden and appear curdled so make sure all of your ingredients are at the correct temperature.

4. Next pour the melted, but cooled, white chocolate into the butter + milk mixture and cream for 3 minutes.

5. After the white chocolate is combined and the buttercream is nice and fluffy, add the confectioner’s sugar slowly in 1/2 cup increments.  If your sugar is lumpy, sift before adding to the buttercream.

6. Pipe the buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes.  I used a large, round tip.  Top with a fresh raspberry (though you may be accused that your cupcakes look like boobs).

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