Oh raspberries...it's been far too long since we have spent some time together! Before I left the UK my morning breakfast consisted of creamy coconut yoghurt dotted with scrummy raspberries! Unfortunately, because Vancouver has precisely 3 brands of yoghurts...all of which are fat free and therefore taste disgusting, my breakfast ritual has had to change! My days of creamy dreamy coconut yoghurt are a thing of the past (whilst my Mom can post me endless amounts of dairy milk and malteaster bunnies, it's a no go on the airmail yoghurt front!) and so I have to think of other ways to incorporate raspberries into my daily diet!
Considering this blog is about a person obsessed with cupcakes, there's been a distinct lack of cupcake baking going on around here! So I went crazy...bought some expensive Vancouver raspberries, and whipped up some chocolate and raspberry cupcakes!
I knew that I wanted my return to cupcakes to be big, so when you wanna go big...filled cupcakes are the way to do it!
I spent hours agonising over how I would fill them! Initially my first thought was with a nice dollop of raspberry jam...but then I remembered I live in Vancouver where jam = watery inedible liquid, no jokes! so then I thought about chocolate ganache but I wanted something lighter and creamier and then chocolate cream cheese filling dawned on me, so I whipped some up. As I was whipping it up I thought adding some raspberry puree could make it even tastier...and I was right so then I went all out and blended in a few whole raspberries so you got lovely little raspberry blasts throughout! I was eating it by the spoonful! It was oh so delish.
I then blended in the rest of the raspberry puree to the frosting to make some vibrant fresh raspberry frosting! Look how pink it turned! All natural baby. A fresh raspberry to finish it off, and these were some of the moistest, richest, most decadent cupcakes I've made for a long while!
I made them to take to a friend who just had a new baby, but since Valentine's is coming up and they tie in nicely you could make them for the one you love! Really though, these cupcakes are so delicious that you don't even need an excuse to make them!
Raspberry & Chocolate Filled Cupcakes:
From Cupcake Crazy Gem
For the cupcakes:
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/4 cup salted butter, firm but not cold
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda. Set aside.
In a separate large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed, whip together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy for about 3-4 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition until combined. Measure out buttermilk in a liquid measuring cup and add vanilla extract to milk, then whisk to combine. Working in 2 separate batches, add buttermilk mixture followed by flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing just unti combined after each addition (batter will be thick).
Fill cupcake cases 2/3 full. Bake in a preheated oven for 18-22 minutes, until a knife inserted into the middle of each cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in baking pan until transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the filling:
225g cream cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp raspberry puree (I blended fresh raspberries until liquid, and then sieved out the seeds)
1/4 cup whole fresh raspberries (about 7)
Blend cream cheese and unsalted butter together with an electric mixer until incorporated. Beat in the icing sugar and cocoa powder until combined. Stir in the raspberry puree and beat in the whole raspberries until only little fragments can be seen.
Using a knife, or a cupcake corer if you're fancy like that, cut a circular hole in the middle of the cupcakes. Remove the cake and cut the top circle part of the cut out cake off. Save this part for later.
Put your filling in a piping bag fitted with a nozzle. Pipe the filling into each cupcake hole, and then plug the top of the cupcake with the round cake disc you saved from earlier.
For the frosting:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup fresh raspberries, blended into puree
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
12 raspberries (for garnish)
Puree the raspberries in a blender. Pass them through a sieve into a bowl. It may take a little while but keep using a spoon to pat the raspberry liquid through the sieve until only seeds remain.
Mix the butter and half the sugar together in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Once they are well blended, add the remaining sugar. Beat together until smooth and creamy, about 4 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract and raspberry puree. I like to add the raspberry puree a few teaspoons at a time because it's a fine line when using fruit between when it's added a good amount of flavour or when it adds too much liquid to the frosting.
Taste it to see if it tastes raspberry enough, and see if the frosting is stiff enough. If it needs to be stiffer, add more sugar, if it needs to be more flavourful then add more puree.
Frost each cupcake, and add a single fresh raspberry on top. You could also drizzle with chocolate for extra decadence...because everything looks better with drizzle! I was intending to, but then I realised it was 1 minute until our bus was due to leave to take the cupcakes to our friend so they had to be snapped quick and go without drizzle this time around!
P.S Please note I am coming up to my 6 month mark as an ex pat in Vancouver. As ex pats go, your first 3 months are the honeymoon phase when everything is amazing and exciting and new. Apparently once you pass that mark you progress into the rejection phase where you start deciding everything was actually much better where you came from. I feel like I'm in that phase so bear with me! Cream and yoghurt frustrations aside and ignoring the incessant rain for a minute, I have a feeling with spring around the corner I'll enter into a new phase soon where I'm back to appreciating the endless supply of root beer and graham crackers and the fact I have to say 'bangs' instead of fringe and 'pants' instead of trousers will not irritate me quite so much! but for right now just let me dwell in my rejection phase for a moment, okay?