Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Berry Rush

What do you do when Costco is selling 6 half pints of raspberries for $8.99?

You buy them without a second thought. When one half pint can run from $5 to $7 ordinarily, I pounced on the opportunity to eat an obscene amount of these pricey berries.

It's a gluttonous luxury to have so many raspberries. What to do with them? That many half pints means I can snack on them with reckless abandon AND bake. For dinner with AAACS (minus one A who is away for the summer), I made the prettiest cupcakes that have ever emerged from my oven.
Full disclosure, I did not make these from scratch. I used cake mix and couldn't have been happier with my results, thank you very much.
I prepared a french vanilla cake mix for my base and layering the berries in the batter and the icing. Before I touched anything else, I made a puree with one half pint:

Of course you must remove the seeds (crunchy seedy cupcakes? um no thank you).
Mmmm, soupy fresh raspberries. I could just eat this with a spoon. Resistance is good though.
I added a bit of puree to the batter before baking, stirring it in gingerly so it stays a little separate.
Is that enough?
No? How about a whole raspberry in the middle?
The whole berries sink during baking, but you have a soft and sweet berry center in each cake.
The icing is a classic cream cheese with raspberry puree added.
Another whole berry to crown the top, and you have a pretty perfect cuppycake.
The packaged cake mix makes 24 cupcakes or 2 8-inch cakes. I have one 12-cupcake pan, so I made 12 cupcakes and one 8-inch cake. Of course make one or the other if you are properly equipped. I served the cupcakes after dinner and the cake is wrapped in the freezer until Sunday when she'll be dressed for Father's Day.

Raspberry Cupcakes
24 servings

1 French Vanilla cake mix + 1 1/4 cup water, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 3 eggs
2 half pints fresh raspberries, washed and drained
half a block cream cheese, room temperature
half a stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces powdered sugar
1/4 cup fresh raspberry puree

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cupcake pans with paper liners and spray cake pans with baker's spray.
Place one half pint of raspberries in a bowl and puree with a stick blender (or in the food processor). Place a fine sieve colander over a bowl and pour the puree into the sieve. Smoosh the puree through the sieve until all the liquid goes through and the seeds remain in the sieve. Discard the seeds and set the puree aside.

Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions, mixing the mix with the water, vegetable oil and eggs for 2-3 minutes with an electric mixer. Pour cake mix into pans (2/3 full for cupcakes). Using a small spoon, dollop a small amount of raspberry puree in the middle of each cupcake and gently swirl into the batter. For cake, scatter a larger amount across the top and gently swirl. Gently press a whole raspberry (from the second half pint) in the middle of each cupcake and throughout cakes.
Bake cupcakes for 22-24 minutes, cake for 28-30 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack for 10 minutes before removing from the pans. Cool completely before icing.

While the cakes cool, make the icing by whipping the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and raspberry puree until smooth and fluffy. Apply using a flat spatula or knife and garnish with the remaining berries.


1 comment:

Erica said...

LOVE berries. And I get so excited when they're inexpensive...its so easy to fly through a single pint. The cupcakes turned out just beautiful. And the single raspberry on top is perfect. Hope you're feeling/doing well. Same old over here... blah!