Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lemon-raspberry mini cupcakes

Last weekend, instead of packing for my impending move, I spent a relaxing evening making lemon-raspberry mini cupcakes. I wanted to make cupcakes with a nice summery flavor (temperature in NYC remained steadily in the low 100s all last week) so I tweaked Magnolia's vanilla cupcake recipe (I ran out of cane sugar - the horror - and had to improvise nearly half the recipe's worth of sugar with confectioner's, which actually worked beautifully; also had no milk so I used my fat free half-and-half) then just randomly added muddled raspberries, seedless raspberry jam and lemon zest into the batter without any specific measurement. Same with the icing, which started out as a basic buttercream, then with raspberry jam and lemon zest. I topped each one with some candied lemon zest (just lemon zest with decorating sugar). Result: AMAZING how much fresh flavor is packed into such small, perfectly moist little bites. I need to get rid of these ASAP because I'm sure they're doing wonders for my body. Alas the quickest way of getting rid of them is by consumption...

Here is my complete version of the recipe, adapted from Allysa Torey (More From Magnolia: Recipes from the World-Famous Bakery and Allysa Torey's Home Kitchen).

Lemon-Raspberry Mini Cupcakes
Yields approximately 30 mini cupcakes.

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup cane sugar
1 cup confectioner's sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup half-and-half (fat free works fine)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 handfuls of fresh raspberries, slightly crushed
2 heaping spoonfuls of seedless raspberry jam
zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line mini muffin pans (2.5 pans) with cupcake papers.
In a bowl, combine the flours and sugars. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, and vanilla. Set aside.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Gradually add wet ingredients alternating with dry ingredients, small portions at a time. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overwork.
Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Add raspberry jam, crushed raspberries, and lemon zest, blend well with spatula.
Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Lemon-Raspberry Buttercream
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
2 tablespoons half-and-half or light cream (I tend to add a bit more just by eyeballing as I mix until I get the desired consistency)
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 heaping spoonfuls of seedless raspberry jam
zest of half a lemon

Cream butter with mixer at medium speed, add cream.
Gradually add powdered sugar in small amounts, continue to mix. Add additional cream if desired.
Add raspberry jam and lemon zest. Continue to mix until well incorporated.

Candied Lemon Zest
Combine zest of 1 lemon with equal amount of white decorating sugar. Keep refrigerated until use. Top each cupcake with small dollop.

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