raspberry lemonade cupcakes

dsc_1181

Recently, I made some lemon cupcakes complete with raspberry buttercream icing. When you decide to work with your buttercream, there is always the possibility of it going horribly awry. I knew I wanted to work with raspberries, I didn’t want to use any artificial colours, and that I couldn’t live with any seed material in my frosting. As much as it would offer a sense of authenticity, it would completely destroy the smooth consistency of my recently mastered buttercream icing.
Fast forward past a few days of Internet research and discussions at home and I ended up making myself a raspberry reduction from frozen raspberries and adding it to my buttercream atop lemon cupcakes.
While I think the buttercream could of had a touch more raspberry in it for both flavour and colour, I would still consider this round successful. The Raspberry Lemonade cupcakes were all well-received and thoroughly enjoyed. The surprisingly refreshing raspberry flavor matched well with the lemon cupcake. Granted, I would like to repeat this whole recipe. As I said, I would have liked to have been left with more raspberry reduction and I used all purpose flour in my cupcakes. The gluten content wasn’t quite correct. Wile delicious, it was a heavier cupcake than I would have liked.
I’ve decided the recipe into icing and cupcake. I would, however, recommend starting this process with the raspberry reduction. If you start the process with the reduction, you will have plenty of time for it to cool while you prepare the cupcakes and complete the first steps of the icing preparation.

Special Equipment

  • Hand mixer with whisk attachment or stand mixer with whisk attachment and paddle attachment
  • Icing bags with large star icing tip
  • Fine mesh Sieve
  • Cupcake Papers (foil preferred)

Raspberry icing

Ingredients

  • Salted Butter – 1/2 cup (115g)dsc_1186
  • Shortening – 1/2 cup (95g)
  • Icing Sugar – 4 cups (480g)
  • Milk – 2-3 tbsp (30 -45 ml)*
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Frozen Raspberries- 2 cups**
  • Lemon Juice – 3 tbsp

*I used lactose-free milk and you can use water in substitute.
**I used 1.5 cups of frozen raspberries.

Method

  1. Add lemon juice and raspberries to sauce pan. Heat while constantly stirring, breaking raspberries up. Reduce by approximately 80%.
  2. Pass raspberry reduction through a sieve to remove any seed material. Should yield approximately 1/4 cup of reduction.
  3. Cool reduction to room temperature. (Hint – if you make the reduction in advance of the cupcakes, your reduction will have plenty of time to cool)
  4. Combine butter and shortening with mixer until smooth.
  5. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, continue mixing until smooth.
  6. Add vanilla extract and measured to milk and mix until smooth.
  7. Add fully cooled raspberry reduction from steps 1 -3
  8. Add remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix. The mixture will be smooth, but heavy.
  9. Add additional milk/water by the tablespoon while mixing until desired consistency is achieved. Mix each tablespoon before adding any additional liquid.*

*I added about 3 tablespoons of milk.

Lemon cupcakes

Ingredients

  • Cake Flour – 1.5 cups + 2 tbsp
  • Baking Powder – 1 1/4 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Sour Cream (Full Fat) – 1/2 cup
  • Milk – 1/2 cup*
  • Eggs – 2 large (room temperature)
  • Unsalted Butter – 1 stick (4 ounces) (melted)
  • Granulated Sugar – 1 cup
  • Zest of 1 medium lemon
  • Juice of one medium lemon (aprox 2.5 tbsp)

*I used 2% lactose-free milk.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 (F)/ 177 (C)
  2. In a small bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest. Rub zest into sugar until combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Set aside.
  4. In a large measuring cup or batter bowl, combine sour cream, milk, and egg. Mix well. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl or stand mixer (using paddle attachment) beat sugar from step 2 with melted butter until well combined. (apron. 2 minutes) Add lemon juice and mix for another minute at medium speed.
  6. Slowly add flour mixture from step 3 to combination from step 5. Beat until just combined.
  7. Add dairy and egg mixture from step 4 to mixture from step 6. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix.
  8. Divide cupcake batter evenly into lined cupcake pan. Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted and removed clean.
  9. Allow cupcakes to cool on a cooling rack and ice with raspberry icing when completely cool.
Advertisements

buttercream icing

dsc_1004

Baking is not something that happens often in the little kitchen. We’re not particularly skilled in that department. There are a couple of things I do well – pecan pie and tea biscuits mostly – but the rest I am painstakingly average at.There is a lemon meringue pie that was once made for Nick’s birthday. It will be remembered as an epic non-setting meltdown with really beautiful meringue made from a week of research on the subject. Also to be remembered by old friends is the marble cake meltdown of 2009.
While I’ve had a couple of meltdowns that have effectively ended my relationships with the instigating desserts, every now and then, I get on a baking kick and I get a little better at it. There’s also been some serious conversations about bread-making in the little kitchen recently as there is an upcoming Modernist Cuisine cookbook focusing on the subject. We’re really considering getting better at baking.
Most recently, I tackled the task of mastering buttercream icing. I’ve never enjoyed my own icing. I’ve always found something about it I dislike. But this works. It’s especially handy since I moved 30 hours away from my buttercream connection. I’m kind of on my own with icing now.
I discovered icing recipes often include lard. For my own health, I can’t be trusted to have the knowledge to make lard delicious. I sought a recipe that used an alternative to lard. The other popular option are shortening and butter, both of which leave you with taste and texture issues. Alas, I stumbled upon a post on Life, Love and Sugar and it’s exactly what I was looking for – half salted butter for the buttery taste and half shortening. Thankfully, somebody did the leg work to find the balance I was hoping for. #grateful I absolutely cannot wait to convert this to chocolate, mint, and all the other good extract flavours.

Special Equipment

  • Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer with whisk attachments

Ingredients

  • Salted Butter – 1/2 cup (115g)
  • Shortening – 1/2 cup (95g)
  • Icing Sugar – 4 cups (480g)
  • Milk – 2-3 tbsp (30 -45 ml)*
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp

*I used lactose-free milk and you can use water in substitute.

Method

  1. Combine butter and shortening with mixer until smooth.
  2. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, continue mixing until smooth.
  3. Add vanilla extract and measured to milk and mix until smooth.
  4. Add remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix. The mixture will be smooth, but heavy.
  5. Add additional milk/water by the tablespoon while mixing until desired consistency is achieved. Mix each tablespoon before adding any additional liquid.*

*At this stage, I also added the slightest touch of vanilla with the additional milk. I added about 3 tablespoons of milk.

Any additional icing should be stored in the fridge and can also be frozen for short periods of time.

 

lazy beans

There are  a lot of benefits to consuming beans. They’re a complex carb rich with fibre, antioxidants, and vitamins and they’re the cheapest source of protein you could possibly find. Why aren’t we all eating way more of these bad boys? I presume it has something to do with now knowing what to do with them. Honestly, what do you do with beans?
Often, I stare at the stash of canned and bagged whatevers we keep in the back hallway. The apocalyptic supply of legumes and various other items all awaiting the day when fresh food is no longer available. I wonder why we’re not eating those so-good-for-you beans. The rest, I am saving for the apocalypse. But the beans – why should those little gems go to waste? They last forever, but WHY am I just letting them collect dust when they are so good for me?
So we’ve committed to eating more beans.
Thus far, we bring you the two laziest bean ideas to have ever graced the internet. We have plans to engage you with more complicated beans. It’s a work in progress, here, so bare with us.

Lazy Brown Beans

dsc_0950

Ingredients:

  • Canned Brown Baked Beans – we have a  strong preference for the Bush’s Vegetarian because they don’t taste like syrup or pork.
  • Dry mustard

 

Instructions:

  1. Open can and empty into saucepan.
  2. Add dry mustard to taste.
  3. Revel at the remarkable improvement in a canned baked bean.

 

Less Lazy But Still Pretty Lazy Mixed Beans

dsc_0999

Ingredients:

  • Canned Mixed Beans (2 cups) – the 540 mL cans should do the trick!
  • Onions (2 whole)
  • Pepper (to taste)

 Instructions:

  1. Cut onions. Julienne is recommended.
  2. Caramelize onions (about 15 minutes)
  3. Add canned beans to caramelized onions. Reduce heat and warm beans for approximately 4-5 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with pepper.