With Valentine’s Day in sight, I wanted to get a head start on some themed cooking and baking. Originally, I was planning on making strawberry macaroons, as I’ve never tasted or made the cookie. However, I was in a lazy mood and didn’t feel like baking something that would demand too much effort.
I decided to bake cupcakes instead, especially since I had some adorable new liners that I’d been craving to use. I chose a Martha Stewart recipe for raspberry cupcakes with pink buttercream frosting and lacy chocolate hearts—primarily because they looked absolutely adorable in the photo that accompanied the recipe. I was unsure about making the chocolate hearts because of the tedious process, but am so glad I took the time to make them.
I substituted a few ingredients in the recipe and the cakes turned out moist and delicious. The finely chopped raspberries in the batter were a pleasant surprise when biting into the cupcake.
I topped the cupcakes with my reliable and fool-proof recipe for sweet and smooth buttercream frosting. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any leftover berries, but next time I would definitely add fresh raspberries to the frosting to give the cupcakes a little extra zing.
Oh, and I got to use my brand new, gorgeous Kitchen Aid professional mixer—definitely a wise investment. :)
Raspberry cupcake recipe:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 3/4 cup flour, plus 1/4 cup cornstarch (or 2 cups cake flour, not self-rising)
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup half & half
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 sticks, plus 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cup sugar
6 large eggs
2 6oz. containers fresh raspberries, 1 container pureed, 1 container coarsely chopped
Red food coloring, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir together milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add sugar in a slow, steady stream, and beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl, and beat until smooth.
Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with half & half, beginning and ending with flour. Fold in pureed and chopped raspberries and if desired, a small drop of food coloring.
Divide batter among baking cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks for 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes, and let cool completely. Decorate with pink buttercream and lacy chocolate hearts.
Chocolate filligree hearts recipe:
1 cups Nestle milk chocolate chips
Trace a heart-shaped cookie cutter onto parchment 30 times using a pencil. Flip parchment, and transfer to a baking sheet.
Melt milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan with simmering water at medium heat. Make sure water in pan does not touch bottom of the bowl. Heat until chocolate is smooth.
Let chocolate cool slightly, then transfer to a pastry bag.
Pipe chocolate into hearts, following outlines and filling in with squiggles (be sure squiggles are at least 1/4 inch thick so hearts won’t break when removed).
Freeze hearts until set, about 20 minutes. Remove hearts using an offset spatula. If not serving right away, keep chocolate hearts in fridge to avoid melting.
Buttercream frosting recipe:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3-5 cups confectioner’s sugar, depending on desired consistency
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2-4 tbsp. half & half, depending on desired consistency
Beat softened butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Add confectioner’s sugar and half & half until smooth and at desired consistency. Mix a few drops of red food coloring in frosting, until it reaches a light pink color.