Blackberry, Lemon, Vanilla Cupcakes21

Posted by chockylit in Berries, Citrus, Vanilla (Wednesday July 27, 2011 at 9:17 pm)

blackberry lemon cupcake

Summer equals berries in this house. Even if summer also equals fog. (There is something refreshing about walking to work in a cool drizzle in July.) The three of us go through containers of blackberries on a regular basis – we heart blackberries. I was itching to mash some up and make a cupcake out of them. But things are hectic these days and I was having trouble committing. I think I purchased one or two ingredients every shopping trip over two weeks until finally on the way home Tuesday night I stopped at the corner store and thought, “I will see if they have lemons and blackberries”. And they did! Organic, too!

But was fear of rotting fruit going to be enough to get me out of my cupcake funk? I walked the ingredients home with wavering intentions… it was already getting late, I had dinner to cook, work to do, a child to hug! But I new if I got the ingredients measured out, I could get them done in no time.

Ok, maybe it wasn’t that easy (I woke up early to finish them), but they got done and they were yummy! With this combo you can’t go wrong. I like the creaminess of the curd and the looseness of the blackberry mash (I didn’t want to thicken it with too much starch). It made the cupcakes messy, but I just asked everyone to eat them with a spoon. No one seemed to mind.

Vanilla Cupcakes
12 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
5. Measure out milk and vanilla together.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the milk/vanilla mixture and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full.
10. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Return the cupcake top

Lemon Curd

2 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons powdered sugar

1. Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and lemon juice in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes.
2. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in butter, piece by piece. Cover with plastic wrap, and cool in the refrigerator.
3. By hand, whip together cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form.
4. Fold cream into the chilled curd.

Add lemon curd

Blackberry Mash

6 ounce blackberries
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean

1. Heat blackberries, water, and sugar over medium heat until boiling.
2. Mash with a potato masher.
3. Add cornstarch and vanilla bean and cook for a few minutes until thick.
4. Remove from heat and cool.

Cupcake is filled and looking yummy

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces or 1 package of Philly cream cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2-3 cups sifted powdered sugar
seeds from 1/4 of a vanilla bean
vanilla extract to taste

1. Bring cheese and butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours
2. Beat butter until soft and creamy.
3. Add cream cheese and beat until combined.
4. Add half of the sugar and the vanilla bean. Beat until creamy.
5. Gradually add remaining sugar (more if you have to) until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.
6. Add vanilla extract to taste if the seeds aren’t enough adding in 1/2 teaspoon increments.

Assemble
1. Fill the cupcakes with the lemon curd and blackberry mash using the cone method. This post has step by step photos of the method.
2. Frost.
3. Top with a blackberry.

blackberry lemon cupcake

Orange Cupcakes with Jasmine Petal Jelly18

Posted by chockylit in Citrus, Herbs & Flowers (Sunday March 14, 2010 at 9:41 am)

orange cupcake with jasmine petal jelly and vanilla cream cheese frosting

My daughter inspired this cupcake. I asked her what color and flavor cupcake she wanted and she said orange. So, orange it was. I mulled over what to pair it with. I am not a huge fan of orange with chocolate and I wanted to keep the orange bright tasting – so no spices. A lunchtime trip to the Ferry Building resulted in the purchase of some jellied jasmine flowers. Sounded like a good combo to me.

The cupcakes have a nice and noticeable orange flavor. The jasmine flower jelly doesn’t provide much of a flavor hit, but the sweetness is a nice addition. The vanilla cream cheese frosting provides that anyway in addition to a luscious creaminess. In other words, don’t rush out and by jasmine petal jelly…

I think the orange cupcake is a great foundation to go in a lot of directions – definitely chocolate for those who like that combination, I can see something nutty working well, berries, etc. There are lots of ideas on the Cupcake blog facebook page from readers… They all sound wonderful.

I made some candied kumquats using this method but abbreviated as a topper.

Orange Cupcakes
~28 regular cupcakes / 375 degree oven

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup orange juice/pulp from one orange
2 teaspoons orange extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of one half orange

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
5. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.
6. Add the orange juice, orange extract, vanilla extract and orange zest, beat to combine.
7. Scoop into cupcake papers about half full.
8. Place cupcakes in the oven and turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

jasmine petal jelly
jasmine petal jelly

jasmine petal jelly filling
filling the cupcakes

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Beat butter at medium speed until creamy.
2. Add cream cheese and beat until combined.
3. Sift 3 cups of the powdered sugar into the butter and cream cheese. Add the vanilla extract. Beat until combined.
4. Add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like. I used 4 cups.

candied kumquats
candied kumquats

Assemble
1. Fill the cooled cupcakes using the cone method.
2. Frost.
3. Top off with candied kumquats or whatever suits you.

cone of frosting
cone of frosting

Lemon Cupcakes with Bitters, Sorrel, and Toasted Meringue25

Posted by in Citrus, Drink-Inspired, Experimental Recipe, Herbs & Flowers (Sunday January 6, 2008 at 3:59 pm)

Lemon Cupcakes with Bitters, Sorrel, and Toasted Meringue

January and citrus are a natural pair when it comes to me and cupcakes. As is typical, I ate too much chocolate and too many sweets over the holidays and really had to dig deep to find the motivation to even think of baking. But dig deep I did… Well, actually, I perused the latest issue of Imbibe (I will admit I have a recipe and photo featured in an article about cooking with tea) and stumbled on many a drink recipe that provided just the inspiration I needed.

I settled quickly on bitters as a way to counteract my overindulgence in sweets. I love bitters. Likely because I love(d) to drink Manhattans. This combination came from a couple different drink recipes (both by Lance J. Mayhew of Meriwether’s in Portland, Oregon). The bitterness and tartness of bitters and lemon appealed to my post-holiday’s sensibilities. I decided on a lemon chiffon cake to keep it light and meringue for the same reason. The end result is a pillow of sweet/bitter/tartness that is quite sophisticated (especially for a cupcake). This recipe likely won’t be for everyone and I will be interested to see how they go over at work tomorrow. I was pleased with the experience though.

Lemon Cupcakes
~20 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1-1/2 cups flour (cake if you have it, otherwise all-purpose)
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup grape seed oil or vegetable oil
4 egg yolks (approximately 3 ounces)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon extract, all natural
grated rind from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon bitters
5 egg whites (approximately 5 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/4 cup sugar

1. Sift flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2. In a medium bowl, combine oil, egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon extract, lemon rind, and bitters. Stir to combine.
3. On a low setting, start to beat the dry mixture and slowly add the wet. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until incorporated.
4. Transfer mixture to another bowl. Wash and dry mixer bowl.
5. Whip egg whites with whip attachment on medium-high speed until foamy. With the mixer on medium speed, add cream of tarter and slowly add sugar. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.
6. Scoop a cupful of the stiff egg whites into the batter and stir to combine. This should lighten up the batter.
7. Transfer the batter to the egg whites and gently fold until there are no more streaks of egg white.
8. Scoop into cupcake cups about 2/3s full and bake at 350 F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

batter & egg whites
step 6

lemon cupcakes with bitters
baked cupcakes

Sorrel Simple Syrup

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon chopped Sorrel

1. Add sugar and water to a small saucepan set over medium high heat.
2. Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until fairly thick, about 2 minutes
3. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in Sorrel and set aside to cool.

Sorrel Meringue Frosting

1/2 cup sugar
3 egg whites
Sorrel simple syrup
Splash of Bitters

1. Whisk the egg whites and sugar over a water bath in the standing mixer bowl until it reaches a temperature of 110 degrees Fahrenheit. This only takes only a few of minutes.
2. Transfer to standing mixer and whisk using whisk attachment at high speed until soft peaks form.
3. With the mixer on medium speed, drizzle sorrel syrup into the mixer. Splash in a bit of bitters. Beat on high until stiff peaks form.

bitters
bitters

Assemble
1. Pipe meringue frosting.
2. Toast with a culinary or blow torch.

piping meringue

Pine Nut and Candied Orange Peel Cupcakes with Christmas Spice Buttercream Frosting13

Posted by in Citrus, Experimental Recipe, Italian-Inspired, Seeds, Spices (Wednesday December 19, 2007 at 2:35 pm)

pine nut and candied orange peel cupcake with christmas spice buttercream

I will be frank. I am not a fan of pine nuts. They fell out of favor with me back in the 90’s or whenever it was that every restaurant was serving them in their dishes. They are new to my husband however and, go figure, he likes them. So, when he rushed off to be with family leaving me with a container of pine nuts that were bound to spoil, I thought, “time for pine nut cupcakes.”

The pine nut idea morphed quickly and easily into an Italian-style fruit cake concept. I started and ended with candied orange peel. I was so close to throwing in some more dried or candied fruits, but feared venturing too far into fruit cake territory. I am also not a fan of fruit cake. The resulting was interesting. Its hard for me to be objective here as the cake tasted very pine nutty and like I said… don’t like ‘em. Anyway, husband returned and he gave them his seal of approval. So, if you or someone you know likes pine nuts, give the recipe a try.

I topped them with a small amount of very spicy buttercream. I liked the buttercream very much. While sweet and intense in flavor , it definitely said “holidays” to me.

Well, the Porro family is traveling over the holidays. I will be baking cupcakes at my destination, but I am not sure if I will be posting. Never the less, you will see me back in the new year with more cupcake recipes and a follow up frosting post (hopefully with video)!

Happy New Year!

Cupcakes
~15 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3/4 cup pine nuts
1 stick butter, unsalted/room temp
1/4 light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, large/room temp
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup candied orange peel, roughly chopped (see below)

1. Toast pine nuts at 350 for 7 minutes. Grind pine nuts with in a food processor. I removed some of the nuts (about 1/4) while they were still chunky then ground the rest up a bit more. Pine nuts are oily so they never get very fine and they will start to clump up.
2. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
3. Add the brown sugar and regular sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated.
5. Add the ground pine nuts. Beat to combine.
6. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
7. Measure out orange juice and vanilla together.
8. Add about a third of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
9. Add all of the juice/vanilla mixture and beat until combined.
10. Add another third of the flour mixture and beat to combine.
11. Add the ricotta cheese and beat to combine.
12. Add the rest of the flour and beat to combine. Mix in the orange peel.
13. Scoop into cupcake papers about three-quarters full. Note that these cupcakes will shrink slightly when they cool.
14. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Christmas Spice Buttercream

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground clove

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Sift sugar into the butter. Add vanilla and spices and beat to combine.
3. Add more powdered sugar to arrive at the consistency and sweetness you like. 2 cups worked for me.

Note: This is a very spicy buttercream. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you add half the amount of spices to start with. I liked its holiday flavor-intensity.

christmas spice mix

Assemble
1. Top cooled cupcakes with the frosting.
2. Top with a decoration, chopped orange peel, or whatever you have.

Candied Orange Peel
Why reinvent the wheel? Nic over at the Baking Sheet has already gone and posted a recipe for candied orange peel. I have used this recipe in the past and used it again this time around.

candied orange peel
tossing peel in sugar

Lemony Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes with Lavender and Rose Frosting28

Posted by chockylit in Citrus, Experimental Recipe, Herbs & Flowers (Wednesday August 1, 2007 at 6:45 pm)

Lemony Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes with Lavender and Rose Frosting

The last time I did ice cream cone cupcakes I took a traditional chocolate and vanilla approach. These cupcakes were tailored for a garden brunch hence the lavender and rose frostings. I used a simple syrup to flavor the frosting. This technique can be used with any herb, spice, or edible flower and you can use any leftover simple syrup to make cocktails… a very handy technique with a great upside.

Just how far to fill the cone is very dependent on the recipe. The last time I made them I had some overflow. So, this time I was conservative and ended up with some extra room. So fill at your own risk. I recommend just over the ridge for the recipe below.

My take on ice cream cone cupcakes is this. They are very cute, no doubt, but not practical when it comes to eating. It is near impossible to get frosting and cake in the same bite without ending up with a bunch of frosting on your nose. The cone also ends up on the chewy side. So while they make a great presentation, I will stick to regular cupcakes when taste matters.

Lemon Cupcakes
12 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup milk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
zest of one lemon

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Measure out milk and vanilla.
5. Add flour mixture and milk alternatively, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
6. Mix in lemon juice.
7. Fill the ice cream cones about 1/2 inch from the top (just over the lower ridge). Tap the cones to ensure the batter fills the bottom. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: The batter makes 12 regular cupcakes or 12 ice cream cone cupcakes plus about 4 regular cupcakes. (I had one package of 12 cones with some batter left over for regular cupcakes.)

ice cream cones supported by cupcake papers
I used the sturdy cupcake papers as holders for the ice cream cones. While they stand on their own, it is a bit easier to transfer into the oven with the cupcake papers. Simple flip the papers and cut an X into the bottom. Stick the cone into the X.

Lavender Simple Syrup

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon lavender flowers

1. Add sugar and water to a small saucepan set over medium high heat.
2. Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
3. Stir in lavender and let the mixture sit over the heat, undisturbed for 3 minutes or until thick and syrupy.

Rose Simple Syrup

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon crushed rose petals

1. Add sugar and water to a small saucepan set over medium high heat.
2. Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
3. Stir in rose petals and let the mixture sit over the heat, undisturbed for 3 minutes or until thick and syrupy.

Lavender and Rose Meringue Frosting

1 cup sugar
4 egg whites
lavender and rose simple syrups

1. Whisk the egg whites and sugar over a water bath in the standing mixer bowl until it reaches a temperature of 110 degrees fahrenheit. This only takes only a couple of minutes.
2. Transfer to standing mixer and whisk using whisk attachment at high speed until soft peaks form.
3. Remove half of the mixture and set aside.
4. With the mixer on medium speed, drizzle lavender syrup into the mixer. Beat on high until stiff peaks form. Add food coloring, if desired. Remove from the mixer bowl and set aside.
5. Return the other half of the mixture. With the mixer on medium speed, drizzle rose syrup into the mixer. Beat on high until stiff peaks form. Add food coloring, if desired.

Assembly
1. Frost cooled cupcakes with a large star tip.
2. Top with sprinkles.

pink sprinkles

Alfajore Cupcakes or Peruvian Caramel Filled Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream and Coconut41

Posted by chockylit in Berries, Citrus, Peruvian-Inspired (Monday February 26, 2007 at 7:49 pm)

Alfajore Cupcake or Peruvian Caramel Filled Lemon Cupcake with Raspberry Buttercream and Coconut

There is a Peruvian restaurant just a few blocks from my house, Mi Lindo Peru on Mission Street in San Francisco, where I go when I must have Lomo Saltado now! Lomo Saltado is yummy strips of beef cooked with onion and tomato all poured over french fries and rice! Yum. We usually get take out from Mi Lindo Peru, as the atmosphere isn’t all that, and go to Fresca or Limon when we want to pay a little extra for nice lighting and whatnot. Anyway, given my love for Lomo Saltado, I figured it was time to pay my respects to Peru in the form of a cupcake.

I am familiar with custard-type Peruvian desserts, but was looking for something a bit different. The Alfajore cookie appeared to have “cupcake conversion” potential – milky caramel, sandwiched between lemony cookies, rolled in coconut. All sounds very good. I was also in the mood for something pink (not sure why) and thought a light raspberry buttercream would pair with the flavors quite well.

The cake by itself was slightly disappointing. While it had a nice lemon flavor it was also a bit too dense. But paired with the filling and the frosting, the end result was very tasty – sweet, but not too sweet and a coherent combination of flavors. I ran into some trouble with the frosting, because I was being impatient. I made notes where I failed so you won’t. But other than being a bit runny, the frosting was delicious.

Lemon Cupcakes
12 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
1¾ cups sugar
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon salt
2½ teaspoons baking powder
3 cups flour
1 cup milk
1/3 cup lemon juice, from 2 medium lemons
zest of two medium lemons

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
5. Add to mixer bowl. Add the milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix to combine.
6. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to two-thirds full (depending on whether you want flat or domed cupcakes).
7. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Peruvian Caramel or Manjar Blanco

1 8 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1. Immerse closed can on its side in a pot of boiling water.
2. Leave on a simmer or light boil for 2 hours topping off with water as needed. Be careful and don’t let the water dry out.
2. Remove from heat and let cool thoroughly before opening can. Condensed milk should be thick and a nice caramel color. Don’t open the can while its still hot, I hear that can be very, very messy.

Raspberry Meringue Buttercream

2 large egg whites
½ cup sugar
1 sticks (½ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup seedless raspberry preserves

1. Set the bowl of your electric mixer over a pan of simmering water. Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl and whisk until sugar has dissolved and mixture is at least 160° which will kill any bacteria present. This should only take a few minutes.
2. Take the bowl off the heat and attach to the mixer along with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff peaks. Continue beating on medium-low speed until the mixture is cooled, about 6 minutes. This step is important. If you don’t beat to stiff peaks and allow the mixture to cool, the frosting will end up runny.
3. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low speed, add butter one tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Beat in vanilla.
5. Measure out preserves into a small bowl and whisk to soften. Fold preserves into the frosting with a rubber spatula until smooth.

Alfajore Cupcake or Peruvian Caramel Filled Lemon Cupcake with Raspberry Buttercream and Coconut

Assembly
1. Using a small pairing knife, cut off the top of the cupcake in the shape of a cone. Flip the top over and cut off the cone.
2. Fill the cavity with the caramel.
3. Replace the top of the cone.
4. Scoop a tablespoon of buttercream on top of each cupcake.
5. Sprinkle with coconut.

Pomegranate-Grapefruit Cupcakes31

Posted by chockylit in Cheese, Citrus, Other Fruits, Step-by-Step Photos (Saturday December 16, 2006 at 1:11 pm)

pomegranate-grapefruit cupcake

Pomegranates fascinate me. I think it’s their vibrant color and their elusiveness. I will admit, the thought of de-seeding a pomegranate deters me from eating them often. This is indeed a shame as they are tasty and apparently very good for you.

I managed to catch an episode of Martha Stewart over the Thanksgiving holiday in which she pleasantly showed us all how to “easily” and cleanly do the de-seeding. While her method of scoring, breaking open, and banging out the seeds over a bowl did direct most of the juice into one area and not all over the counter, it was still time consuming and I was quickly bored after getting through 3 or so of them. Still, what else are you going to do!

After toying with the idea of making a pomegranate filling, I opted to just mix the seeds in the cupcake batter. I actually liked the way this turned out. The seeds didn’t really affect the taste of the batter, but they retained their integrity. So when you bit into the seeds, they were all juicy and flavorful. The one thing I will note is that I couldn’t really taste the grapefruit. The cake part was very delicious, but not grapefruity. This could be good or bad, depending on how you feel about grapefruit. Next time around I would double the zest and see how that turns out. I might also flavor the cream cheese frosting with some zest and juice, but that is up to you.

Grapefruit-Pomegranate Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grapefruit pulp/juice
2 teaspoons grapefruit zest
2/3 cup (4 ounces) pomegranate seeds, from 1-1/2 medium sized pomegranates

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
5. Measure out milk and grapefruit juice together. Add zest.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the milk/juice mixture and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Mix in pomegranate seeds.
10. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to two-thirds full (depending on whether you want flat or domed cupcakes).
11. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: These cupcakes tend to rise quite a bit and will overflow if you put too much batter in the cupcake paper. Keep it under two-thirds full.

Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Bring cheese and butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours
2. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment
3. Beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy
4. Add half of the sugar and the vanilla. Beat until combined
5. Gradually add remaining sugar (more if you have to) until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like

finished pomegranate jellies
pomegranate jellies

Pomegranate Jellies adapted from epicurious.com

1-1/2 cup (12 ounces) pomegranate seeds, from 3-1/2 medium sized pomegranates
1/2 cup water
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 (3-oz) packages Certo liquid pectin (not powdered)

1. Bring pomegranate seeds, water, sugar, and butter to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally.
2. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
3. Transfer about half the mixture into a blender and carefully blend for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl then blend remaining.
4. Force the blended mixture through a medium-mesh sieve back into same pot, pressing on solids with back of a spoon. Throw away the solids.
5. Put an empty plate in freezer to chill.
6. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat and add pectin. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until it starts to thicken, about 45 minutes. To test, remove from heat, then drop a teaspoonful on the chilled plate and chill in the freezer for 1 minute. Tilt plate the plate. The mixture should remain in a firm mound and not run. If mixture runs, continue cooking and stirring and repeat the test every 5 minutes.
7. Remove from the heat and immediately pour mixture into a pan lined with plastic wrap. Gently tap the pan to eliminate any air bubbles.
8. Cool to room temperature, at least 1 hour, then cover surface directly with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 1 week.
9. Remove from the pan and cut into desired shapes. Toss shapes in granulated sugar.

Assemble
1. Frost cooled cupcakes.
2. Top with a jelly.

scoring the pomegranate
scoring pomegranate

removing pomegranate seeds
banging out seeds

cutting a pomegranate jelly
cutting the jelly

tossing a pomegranate jelly in sugar
tossing in sugar

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