Well well well. Guess what this month’s Cupcake Hero theme is. Could it be…my recently admitted least favorite berry? Yes, yes it could. But guess what. I remembered a totally awesome uncommon flavor combination that I really enjoy and was able to translate it well into a fittingly assembled cupcake.
Can you guess what it is?
You’d probably guess that’s chocolate cake, but you’d be wrong. There’s not a bit of chocolate anywhere in that cupcake. Think fragrant, roasted, strong, caffeinated…
Yes, these are raspberry coffee cupcakes. And they are ridiculously delicious.
You’ve never had coffee and raspberry before? You’re missing out. Ever had a cup of espresso with a particularly fruity finish? Imagine if that finish kept going into full berry flavor territory…
Early on I decided that I HAD to make the cake itself coffee flavored. I luckily came upon a great recipe fairly quickly in my search. It results in soft, fragrant little cakes that are sturdy enough for even thick fillings…we’ll get to that in a minute.
In keeping with the coffee theme I decided to top the cupcakes with a simple raspberry foam frosting and a dusting of instant espresso powder. It’s almost marshmallowy and smells incredible. I figured a buttercream would be too rich and I really love the cloudlike, organic swirls of simple meringues.
Now back to that filling. It’s stupid easy. All you need is a heaping cup of really nice raspberries (preferably from a farmer’s market, or even wild if you can find them) and a cup of sugar. Simple small-batch jam is one of my favorite summer cupcake fillings and this one REALLY delivers. The best part is, there’s no pitting, cutting or pureeing involved, since raspberries are so naturally delicate. In fact these cupcakes are shockingly easy and simple to make – the hardest part is making sure you have the aforementioned tasty berries and some nice instant espresso.
Raspberry Coffee Cupcakes
First, Make the Filling:
- 1 heaping cup fresh or frozen raspberries
- 1 cup sugar
Place the berries in a tall-sided medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the berries start getting juicy and bubbling slightly, mix in the sugar, mashing up the berries roughly, and bring up to a low boil. Keep boiling for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a silicone spatula or other heatproof instrument. Meanwhile, place a small white plate in the freezer. Once the 5 minutes of boiling have elapsed, place a small blob of the jam on the chilled plate. Once the jam on the plate is cool, poke it to see if it’s jelled or if it’s still liquidy. Repeat the cold plate test once every couple of minutes until the jam is sufficiently jelled. (If you happen to overcook it and make it too thick, you can always thin it out with a little hot water.) Remove the hot jam from the saucepan to a heatproof container and chill in a small ice bath to room temperature or cooler, then keep chilled in the refrigerator until needed.
Next, Make the Cakes:
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/3 cup instant espresso (use something reasonably ok, not like instant Folger’s or something; I used some freshly-bought Medaglio D’Oro)
- 8 oz butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups AP flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the milk and espresso in a small saucepan and heat until just steaming, stirring to dissolve the espresso. Set aside to cool. Cream together the butter and sugar in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer. Gradually add the eggs and vanilla, scraping down the bowl between additions. Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the batter alternately with the espresso milk, in 3 additions each, scraping down the bowl often and being careful not to overmix. Once everything is incorporated, bake in lined muffin tins for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into any of the cakes comes out clean. Cool completely before filling and frosting.
To fill the cakes as neatly as possible (tutorial coming soon!), freeze them solid once they are cool. Use a small circle cutter to remove the center of each and trim the “lid” of each cupcake to 1/2″ thick, reserving each alongside its cupcake. Fill the holes with the raspberry jam almost up to the top, then replace the lids and keep chilled until ready to frost.
When Your Filling is In, You Can Make the Frosting!:
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 3 Tbsp raspberry juice (extracted from about 1/3 cup raspberries, strained of any seeds or chunks of fruit)
- 1 tsp instant espresso
Place the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over simmering water (make sure that the bowl doesn’t actually tough the water) and whisk often. Once the bowl’s contents are hot to the touch, begin whipping to soft peaks, then turn the mixer to medium speed and drizzle in the raspberry juice. Continue whipping to stiff peaks. Dollop onto filled cupcakes, sprinkling with instant espresso. Keep chilled. Makes 20.