Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Raspberry Cream {Wedding Cake} Cupcakes

Three years ago today, I married my best friend, love of my life and lifelong baked goodies taste tester. One of the best parts of that day, besides marrying Dan, was the wedding cake. We chose our cake from It’s A Piece A Cake Bakery in San Diego and it was nothing short of fabulous.

The top and bottom tiers were French Bavarian – a scrumptious white cake with layers of vanilla cream and raspberry – and the middle tier was Chocolate Mousse – delicate chocolate cake filled with white chocolate mousse and macadamia nuts. The whole thing was covered in the best buttercream frosting I ever tasted. It was one hundred and twenty five servings of pure deliciousness.

Wedding Cake photo from the lovely Vickie Wade

I may or may not have indulged in the top tier that was hidden in our hotel mini fridge before we left for the honeymoon. Since we were traveling across the country for the wedding, freezing and saving the top tier for our anniversary wasn’t practical. The next summer, when we returned to southern California for a friend’s wedding a month before our first anniversary, I ordered a small version of that French Bavarian cake with vanilla buttercream to celebrate. It was just as good as I remembered from the wedding. If I still lived nearby, I would order one for every special occasion.

This year, I wanted to recreate that creamy, raspberry-y cake for our third anniversary in cupcake form. Who doesn't love cupcakes filled with creamy, fruity goodness, piled high with frosting?

I used my go-to vanilla cupcake recipe and whipped up vanilla pastry cream and quick raspberry sauce for the filling. Topped off with my favorite homemade buttercream frosting, these cupcakes were just about perfect.

Using the recipes below, you will likely have leftover raspberry filling and vanilla pastry cream. The raspberries would be delicious over ice cream, and the pastry cream is perfect for a fruit tart or banana cream pie. (Stay tuned!)

Raspberry Cream Cupcakes
Makes one dozen cupcakes

2 cups (7 ounces) sifted cake flour (I used all-purpose)
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup (5¼ ounces) sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup (3 ounces) sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a standard sized muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed until very light and fluffy. Beat the eggs and vanilla lightly in a small bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla a little bit at a time to the creamed butter and sugar mixture, mixing well between each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure the eggs, butter, and sugar are well mixed.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and the sour cream alternately, beginning with one third of the flour mixture and one half of the sour cream; repeat; then finish with the last of the flour mixture.

Distribute batter evenly among twelve muffin cups and bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool slightly in the pan. Transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before filling and frosting.

To fill the cupcakes:

After the cupcakes have cooled, use a melon baller or teaspoon to scoop out an approximate ¾ inch hole in the top of each cupcake. A sliver of each cutout piece of cupcake can be reserved to place over the filling, but this is probably unnecessary. Save the rest of the cutouts for snacking.

Scoop the cooled raspberry filling (recipe below; or use raspberry preserves) into a plastic bag and snip off the corner. Pipe a small amount of raspberry filling into each cupcake, filling the hole about halfway. Repeat the process with the vanilla pastry cream (recipe below), filling up the remainder of each hole. If desired, place a sliver of each cupcake cutout (if you haven’t eaten them all at this point) over the filling in each cupcake. Frost the cupcakes with vanilla buttercream (recipe below).

(Cupcake recipe adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet)

Raspberry Filling
Makes 1½ cups

2 cups fresh raspberries
1/3 cup water
2 inches lemon peel
½ teaspoon lemon juice
1½ tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon flour

Combine all ingredients except the flour in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. As the mixture cooks, mash the raspberries with a fork. Cook for 10 minutes, and then pour through a mesh strainer into a bowl to remove the seeds. Transfer the strained mixture back to the saucepan and add the flour, whisking to incorporate. Whisk for 3-4 minutes over medium heat until the mixture has thickened slightly. Transfer the raspberry filling to a bowl and place in the fridge to chill completely.

Vanilla Pastry Cream
Makes 2 cups

1½ cups (12 ounces) whole milk
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) sugar
¼ cup (1¼ ounces) all purpose flour
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) cold unsalted butter
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Fill a large bowl with ice and water and set aside. Use a bowl in which you can place another medium bowl in the ice water.

In a medium sauce pan, heat the milk until it steams and then remove from the heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks and sugar until smooth. Add the flour and whisk until the mixture is very smooth. Pour about ½ cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to temper the eggs. Slowly pour the egg mixture back into the hot milk (in the saucepan), whisking constantly.

Heat the mixture, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming until it reaches a boil. Continue to cook and whisk for one minute longer until the pastry cream is very thick. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and butter. Pour the pastry cream though a mesh strainer set over a medium bowl to remove any lumps.

Place a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream, to prevent formation of “skin”. Set the bowl into the large bowl of ice water to chill completely. If making ahead, simply place the bowl of pastry cream in the fridge to chill completely before using.

(Pastry Cream recipe adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet)

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Makes enough to frost one dozen cupcakes

¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup vegetable shortening (non hydrogenated), at room temperature
6 ounces powdered sugar (about 2½ cups), sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons whole milk

Place the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix the butter and shortening until very light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once. Add the powdered sugar, one fourth at a time, mixing until well incorporated after each addition. Add in the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk, and continue mixing for another minute or so. Add more milk if needed to smooth out the frosting.

Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a large pastry tip (or a gallon-sized freezer bag with one bottom corner snipped off) and frost the cupcakes generously.


  1. I bet it was delicious :) happy anniversary to one of the most fabulous couples I know! Love you kids.

    1. Thanks Stacy! You are pretty fabulous yourself!

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