Raspberry Almond Cupcakes

Well, the day has finally come.  After years of threatening to quit life, move to Paris, and apprentice at a patisserie, I’ve finally decided it’s time to…compromise and start a baking blog instead.  Those darned student loans aren’t about to pay themselves off after all.  *sigh*

Anyway, I’ve decided to kick things off with one of my favorite filled cupcake recipes.  I’ve found that nothing quite ratchets up the wow factor on a cupcake like a surprise filling–whether it’s actually difficult to make or not, people are always impressed and delighted upon biting into what looks like a run-of-the-mill cupcake and discovering that beneath its plain exterior lies a secret pocket of extra deliciousness, be it caramel, chocolate ganache, or (as in the recipe below) layers of pastry cream and raspberry jam.

These guys do take a bit of extra effort and advanced planning, but I promise you they are most definitely worth it!  So, without further ado, here’s how to win your next Galentine’s Day, afternoon tea, baby shower, etc.:

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 ¼ cup sugar
4 large eggs (room temperature)
¾ cup greek yogurt (sour cream or buttermilk also work well here)
1 tsp almond extract

For the Buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature)
4-6 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp milk
approx. ¼ cup raspberry jam (or raspberry puree, if that floats your boat)

For the Pastry cream:
2 cups whole milk, heavy cream, or a combination of the two
4 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup flour or cornstarch
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp almond extract

Raspberry jam for filling

Directions:

Pastry Cream:
1. Start by making the pastry cream—that way you can chill it while you make the other cupcake components. Warm the milk/heavy cream in a medium saucepan over low heat until you start to see wisps of steam coming off the surface of the milk.  (Make sure not to let the milk/cream boil–if it’s too hot when you add it to the egg mixture, the eggs will cook and you’ll just end up with some weirdly sweet scrambled eggs.)
2. In a bowl, whisk sugar and egg yolks until combined. Sift in flour/cornstarch, add salt, and whisk until smooth. Slowly begin to pour the warm milk/cream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly as you pour. Once all of the milk/cream has been incorporated into egg mixture, pour the mixture back into the sauce pan.
3. Set the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. When it comes to a boil, whisk a few seconds more until the pastry cream thickens. (You can tell whether its thick enough by dipping a spoon into the custard–if it coats the back of the spoon, you’re good to go.)

4. Take the cream off the heat and add in the butter and almond extract, whisking until combined. Set a strainer over a heatproof bowl and pour the pastry cream through the strainer, stirring as necessary to push the cream through the strainer. Cover the pastry cream with a piece of plastic wrap pressed right up against the surface of the cream and put in fridge to chill.

Cupcakes:
5. Preheat oven to 325F. Line cupcake tins with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. (Or, if you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to have another bowl to clean, just measure out the dry ingredients and set them aside until you’re ready to add them to the batter.)
6. Cream together butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add almond extract, then add eggs one at a time, beating to combine and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add flour mixture in batches, alternating between adding the dry ingredients and the greek yogurt (or your preferred substitute), and beat until combined.
7. Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups, filling each approximately 2/3 to ¾ full (using a cookie scoop works well for this). Bake cupcakes approximately 25 minutes, rotating tins halfway through, until tops are golden brown and a toothpick or cake tester comes out clear. Transfer tins to a wire baking rack to cool for a 5-10 minutes before turning out cupcakes onto the rack to finish cooling.

Buttercream:
8. Beat butter until smooth. Begin adding powdered sugar in batches, beating between each batch and adding milk as needed (I usually add 2-3 cups of sugar to start, then continue in 1 cup increments until I get the desired consistency). After the first batch of powdered sugar, add 2-3 tbsp raspberry jam and taste. Continue to add jam between batches of powdered sugar until you achieve the desired flavor.

Assembly:
8. Now that you have all the components ready, it’s time to assemble the cupcakes. Start by cutting out a little crater in the center of each cupcake. The easiest way to do this is to use some sort of small circle cutter to get holes of consistent size/depth in each cupcake (I use the wide end of a medium-sized piping tip).  The extra cake bits can be saved for later to make cake balls/pops. Or, you know, you could just eat them as you go.  Not that I do that every time I make these or anything…

9. Once you’ve cratered all of the cupcakes, take the now-chilled pastry cream out of the fridge and scoop into a piping bag (you can use a large Ziploc with the corner cut off if you don’t have piping bags handy). Pipe an equal amount of cream into each cupcake, filling the center of each approximately ½ to 2/3 full.

10. Once all of the cupcakes have cream, top off the centers with a small dollop of your favorite raspberry jam. Finish the cupcakes by piping on the raspberry buttercream.

And there you have it–Raspberry Almond Cupcakes!

Raspberry Almond Cupcakes
Beneath a perfectly coifed cap of raspberry buttercream lies a delicious secret–a hidden compartment of almond pastry cream and raspberry jam sure to make your friends swoon.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Cathryn says:

    These look so good.

    Like

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