grape cupcakes

I made these cupcakes specifically to celebrate the launch of a product at work — code named “Grape”. That’s all I needed, an excuse to make grape cupcakes. I knew at the outset I didn’t want these to be cloyingly sweet. I also would have preferred to make them in the fall when I could maybe get my hands on some fresh concord grapes. But the timing was such that these were getting done in the spring and I settled with a combination of organic, unsweetened concord grape juice and black seedless grapes. I started with a simple vanilla bean cupcake, filled it with the tart grape filling, and topped it off with a nicely sweet cream cheese frosting spiked with a touch of grape syrup for color and flavor.

It’s a nice combination and was a hit. The filling is quite tart and I am glad I skipped both adding too much sugar or using any kind of thickener in the filling. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of grapes, you might like this recipe.

Am I back? I am not sure. I know that the new site didn’t inspire me to action like I had hoped. I also know that the demands of work, a toddler, and what not make it difficult to come up with recipes on a regular basis. But as I have them, I will post new recipes for your enjoyment.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
26 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 flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

1. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined.
3. Measure the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Measure out the milk and vanilla and stir to combine. Scrape out the vanilla bean seeds into the milk.
5. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk/vanilla and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.
6. Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 2/3’s full. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake cupcakes for about 22-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

grape cupcake cross section

Tart Grape Filling

10 ounces concord grape juice, unsweetened
6 ounces grapes, black and seedless
2 teaspoons sugar

1. Add juice and grapes to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the sugar.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer.
3. After 10 minutes mash the grapes in the pot with a potato masher.
4. Continue to simmer until almost all the liquid is reduced about 20 minutes.
5. Cover and refrigerate until cool about 2 hours.

Grape Cream Cheese Frosting

3/4 cup concord grape juice, unsweetened
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
1 package of Philly cream cheese
3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar

1. Bring juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Allow to boil until reduced to a syrup about 15 minutes.
2. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy.
3. Sift 3 cups of the powdered sugar into the butter and cream cheese. Add the grape syrup. Beat until combined.
4. Add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like. I used 4 cups.

grape cupcake cross section

1. Fill the cooled cupcakes using the cone method.
2. Frost.
3. Top off with a grape, a grape jelly, or whatever decoration you have on hand. Chopped, salted peanuts might also be nice.

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