Basil Cream and Mint Cream Filled Cupcakes with Raspberry Mousse Frosting34

Posted by chockylit in Advanced Techniques,Berries,Experimental Recipe,Herbs & Flowers (Saturday March 18, 2006 at 4:42 pm)

I have been very tempted to try a basil flavored cupcake. I made basil simple syrup a couple of weekends ago and picked up a selection of fruits to taste it with. My favorite match was most definitely basil and raspberry.

I finally got around to the cupcakes this weekend. I made a basic vanilla cupcakes, light and fresh raspberry mousse frosting, basil cream, and mint cream. I decided it would be easy enough to prepare fillings with basil and mint then see what combination I preferred.

The cupcakes turned out great, really fruity and fresh. I suggest serving them with some extra fruit… I wanted a raspberry with every bite. As it turns out, I prefer the mint. The taste was still herby like the basil, but not as distinct or distracting. It’s not that I didn’t like the basil. I did. I just feel like I would need to do something more, like find a third flavor to balance the two.

On a final note, I am looking forward to making a basil martini tonight with the left over syrup and some high quality vodka. Should be tasty…

Vanilla Cupcakes from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
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
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
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 baking soda 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 (depending on whether you want flat or domed cupcakes).
10. Bake for 20-22 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

baked cupcakes

Basil or Mint Cream

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
5 ounces basil or mint
1 cup heavy cream

1. Bring sugar and water to a boil, stir until sugar dissolves.
2. Chop basil or mint and add to the mixture.
3. Boil for 3 minutes.
4. Cool to room temperature.
5. Beat heavy cream on high until stiff peaks form add the five to six tablespoons of syrup to taste and beat until combined.

fresh basil

Raspberry Mousse Frosting

2 cups fresh raspberries, rinsed
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar

1. Combine raspberries and sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat.
2. Stir mixture until it is basically a liquid.
3. Stir in gelatin, continue to cook until dissolved.
4. Remove from heat and transfer to a medium sized bowl. Refrigerate overnight.
5. Beat heavy cream on high until stiff peaks form. Add the three tablespoons of sugar and beat until combined.
6. Mix about a third of the whipped cream into raspberry mixture until well combined.
7. Fold in remaining whipped cream.

1. Using a small 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 a teaspoon of basil or mint cream.
3. Replace the top of the cone.
4. Pipe on the raspberry mousse and decorate with fresh herb and/or raspberries.

Ricotta Raspberry Almond Cupcakes with Citrus Meringue Frosting11

Posted by chockylit in Berries,Cheese,Citrus,Italian-Inspired,Nuts (Sunday September 11, 2005 at 10:10 am)

I made these ricotta raspberry almond cupcakes for “ladies night”. My aunt was having a bunch of overnight guests and I wanted to make an adult-tasting dessert that matched the Italianesque meal of roasted chicken. I also wanted the cupcakes to be fun, as I knew we wouldn’t be digging into them until after many martinis.

The cupcakes were what I hoped. Moist, sweet, and subtle almond flavor, balanced with the tartness of the raspberry. The ricotta gave it moistness and heartiness that I liked. The addition of the burnt butter almonds lended a crunchy texture, but I would say that they are definitely optional. The meringue frosting had a touch of citrus and was fairly sweet. At the end of it, many of us ended up with sticky pink frosting clinging to our faces.

~18 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

7 ounces almond paste (not marzipan)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 stick butter, unsalted/room temp
4 eggs, large/room temp
2/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup raspberries

1. beat almond paste at low speed to loosen up, about 30 seconds
2. gradually add sugar while beating at low speed
3. continue to beat at low speed for 1 minute or so
4. add the ricotta and beat to combine
5. while beating at low speed, add a tablespoon of butter at a time, waiting for the butter to incorporate until adding the next pat
6. stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, beat at medium for about 2 minutes until fluffy
7. crack eggs into a bowl and break up with a fork
8. at low speed gradually add eggs about a tablespoon at a time, waiting for the eggs to incorporate until adding the next bit
9. beat again at medium speed for about 2 minutes
10. measure out flour, salt, and baking powder into a bowl and whisk to combine
11. with a rubber spatula, fold flour mixture into the cake batter until combined
12. fold in raspberries
13. scoop batter into cupcake liners, fill about 1/2 inch from the top (3/4 full)
14. bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean

[optional] Burnt Butter Almonds

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 cup almond slices

1. toast almond slices on a cookie sheet in a 350 degrees oven for about 10 minutes or until brown, stir almonds around occasionally, remove from oven and let cool
2. add butter to a skillet over medium heat
3. melt butter, let foam subside
4. add brown sugar and stir to combine
5. let mixture cook for about 3-5 minutes, it should be thick and sticky looking
6. add toasted almond slices and stir to coat

Citrus Meringue Frosting

1 cup egg whites (from approximately 7-8 eggs)
2 cups sugar
3 drops orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest, finely chopped

1. combine egg whites and sugar into the mixing bowl of your stand mixer and set over a bain marie (water bath)
2. whisk by hand for a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved or preferably until the mixture reaches 110 degrees fahrenheit
3. transfer bowl to electric mixer, beat on medium speed for 10 minutes
4. add orange juice, zest, and a drop of red gel food coloring
5. beat on high speed until stiff glossy peaks form, about 2 to 5 minutes more

1. spoon some almonds onto each cooled cupcake
2. dollop a heaping tablespoon of meringue on top of that
3. using your finger pull the meringue down to cover the top of the cupcake, the frosting is very sticky and you want it to basically attach itself to the cupcake liner
4. using your finger poke the top of frosting to make a nice shape and some interesting peaks
5. using a blow torch, brown the meringue.

If I was feeling especially ambitious, which I wasn’t because I was out all day and got home kind of late, I would have made homemade almond paste and homemade ricotta cheese. I would expect that substituting homemade ingredients would provide a more delicate outcome.


Posted by chockylit in Berries,Ingredients,Techniques,Themes (Thursday March 24, 2005 at 9:57 am)

I have a love for cupcakes. It’s undeniable. But I have been on a cupcake baking hiatus of sorts. It happens… I go through phases where I am either baking tons or not at all. I have been cooking a lot still – savory stuff – but I am feeling the urge to bake again. I attribute it to my discovery of the many other cupcake lovers out there. Its all so inspiring.

So, my plan for this weekend is Hummingbird Cupcakes, the perfect little bundles of sweetness to welcome spring.

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