Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Raspberry Lemon Cupcakes

Max put in a custom cupcake request the other day - Raspberry Lemon. Bless him, because these might be my new favorites! I know, I said that last time - but seriously, I love these! They're a fluffy yellow lemon cake topped with raspberry meringue buttercream.

Now, I've had folks tell me that these recipes are too intimidating, but I promise they're well worth it! So I'm going to walk you through them with pictures! Also, while these are both way easier with a stand mixer, you can certainly accomplish them with a hand mixer. I'd go so far as to say even with just a whisk, but you'll have to have stronger arms than I! The plain recipes are down at the bottom for once you've got the hang of it.

Ingredients
Cake:
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 3/4 cups sugar 
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
3 large egg whites, room temperature


Frosting:
5 large egg whites, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon raspberry extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons raspberry juice (from a pint or so of raspberries)
raspberries to decorate 

And the how-to...

Step 1: Okay, the very first thing to do is take out a cup of buttermilk, 8 eggs, and at least 2 cups of unsalted butter. You're going to want all of those things at room temperature, so put them out right off, then go have a cup of coffee before you come back and prep everything else. They should all sit out at least 30 minutes, maybe an hour. 

Step 2: Right. Now preheat the stove to 350 degrees and line your muffin tins with those little papers. This recipe makes about 24 cupcakes, or about 5 dozen mini-cupcakes. I personally love the minis, but whatever you prefer!

Step 3: Mix the dry ingredients for the cake. In a large bowl whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar. Set aside. 

Step 4: In a medium bowl (I use my 4-cup measuring bowl), mix the melted butter, buttermilk, vegetable oil, lemon juice, extracts, and egg yolks. Note: when you're separating the eggs, make two bowls of 3 egg whites each. You'll save one bowl for the frosting. 

Step 5: In the bowl of your stand mixer (or another large bowl), whisk the egg whites (just 3!) until foamy. Then add the other 1/4 cup of sugar and whisk until stiff and glossy. Transfer to another bowl and set aside. 


Step 6: Now put all the flour mix in your mixer bowl, then with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the buttermilk mixture. Mix until just combined. 

Step 7: Add about 1/3 of the egg whites to the bowl and mix. 

Step 8: Remove bowl from mixer, fold in the rest of the egg whites. I know some folks get intimidated by folding something in, but don't. It's a lot like really slow stirring with a lot of bowl scraping. Here's a nice demo. Cut, fold, turn, repeat. It's worth doing! All that air in the egg whites is what makes these cupcakes so nice and light. 

Step 9: Scoop batter into prepared tins. I use an ice cream scoop or cookie scoop so they come out nice and even and I don't drip everywhere. 

Step 10: Bake on center rack at 350. Regular cupcakes take about 18 minutes, minis take about 10 minutes.  They're done when a toothpick comes out clean and the tops spring back when touched. Also, they'll look yummy and smell divine, so that's a good hint. Set aside to cool. 



Intermission: You want the cupcakes to be nice and cool before you frost them, so now's a great time for a break. You can speed things along with the refrigerator if needed, but I think it's best to just let them sit for a few hours. While you're waiting you can extract some raspberry juice. Put the pint of raspberries in a saucepan over medium heat. Mash them up a bit with a fork, and let them sweat for about 5 minutes. Strain the juice into a bowl. Just let it sit while you do other things. 



Step 11: On to the frosting! Once the cupcakes are about cool enough to frost you can get this part started. Put your 3 egg whites left over from step 4 in the bowl of your stand mixer, or other heat-proof bowl, along with 2 more egg whites (from the other eggs you pulled out back at step 1), and the sugar. Place the bowl over a simmering (not boiling!) pot of water. Whisk for about 3-5 minutes, until whites are warm to the touch and sugar is dissolved. It will look like soft marshmallow creme. 



Step 12: Remove bowl from heat and whisk until cool - about 5-10 minutes. Now it should look like a stiffer meringue, since that's what it is. This is when Max usually shows up to steal the beater. 



Step 13: Switch to the paddle attachment, then while on low speed, add the room temperature butter a tablespoon at a time, waiting while each is incorporated. The frosting will look kind of light yellow and deflated. Don't worry - that's supposed to happen. Once it's all in just keep beating and it should come back to nice smooth fluffy look. If it's looking too runny put it in to fridge for a few minutes, then beat again. If it's looking clotted or clumpy, put it back over the simmering water for a few minutes, then beat again. Don't give up!

Step 14: Now add in the extracts and raspberry juice slowly - no more than a tablespoon at a time. Wait until it's fully blended before adding more. 


Step 15: The home stretch! Put your beautiful frosting into a piping bag and frost those cupcakes! I think the raspberry on top is what really sells it, but that might be just me. 



Step 16: Taste test! Even if you're making these for an event you're robbing yourself if you don't at least try one. Yummy! Here's the kiddos helping out with this step...


I hope you try these and love them like I do! Let me know! Now here's just the recipes without all the extra instructions and pictures:

Fluffy Yellow Lemon Cake
Ingredients
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 3/4 cups sugar 
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
3 large egg whites, room temperature


Steps
1. In a large bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 1 1/2 cups sugar. 
2. In a separate bowl, mix melted butter, buttermilk, oil, lemon juice, extracts, and egg yolks. 
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk the egg whites and 1/4 cup sugar until stiff and glossy. Set aside. 
4. Pour the flour mixture into the stand mixture, pour in the milk mixture slowly while mixing on low. 
5. Mix in 1/3 of the egg whites until smooth. 
6. Fold in the remaining egg whites. 
7. Pour into paper lined muffin tins or mini muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees - 18 minutes for regulars, 10 minutes for minis. 

Raspberry Meringue Buttercream
Ingredients
5 large egg whites, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon raspberry extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons raspberry juice (from a pint or so of raspberries)

Steps
1. Place egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer. Place over simmering water and whisk for 3-5 minutes until whites are hot and the sugar is dissolved. 
2. Move to stand mixer and whisk until cool - 5-10 minutes. 
3. Switch to paddle attachment, set on low, and add in butter a tablespoon at a time. Continue mixing on low until smooth and fluffy. 
4. Add in liquid slowly, letting it mix in thoroughly.    

TTFN!
Cady

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