Chocolate Cupcakes filled with Raspberry and Chocolate Ganache Topped with Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
So my real true love in the kitchen is baking cupcakes. I love to come up with different flavor combinations of cakes, fillings and frostings. For Valentine's Day this year I created my Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes. This is a simple cupcake recipe, using my gussied up boxed cake mix, filled with a raspberry ganache and a fresh raspberry and topped with a raspberry Swiss meringue buttercream.
I do make cupcakes from scratch, but when I'm feeling a little lazy, or if I'm going to spend a lot of time on fillings and a more complicated frosting, I will take a quick shortcut and use a cake mix. But I have doctored up the recipe so that it takes like a made from scratch cake!
Right around the same time I was creating these cupcakes, I discovered The Vine. Vine is similar to Instagram, except you post quick, 6 second videos that play on loop. I had a lot of fun making some videos for this recipe and its processes. I think Vine still needs some updates and some reworking, but it doesn't stop me from having fun posting videos!
Lately I've been pretty obsessed with Swiss Meringue Buttercreams. I was very intimidated at first, but since I've done it a few times I find myself always making it to top my cupcakes instead of the ol' buttercream. Here is a QUICK video on how I do it. I will be more thorough in my recipe... :)
Now, part of my job on a day to day basis is teaching cake decorating for a national franchised company. But I find myself never getting too intricate on my decorating for cupcakes. I love a classic swirl or rosette with tip 2D or 1M and some SPRINKLES!. My collection of sprinkles grows each and every time I go to the store and find some new ones. I just can't resist buying them! Perhaps I will share my collection with you one day!
I look forward to finally sharing recipes for my weekend baking projects with everyone, I hope you enjoy the first of many!
Doctored Up Cake Mix Recipe
Makes 24 cupcakes
This recipe can be used with any flavor cake mix to make it taste like it's from scratch! Do not follow the recipe on the back... Instead...
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners.
1 box chocolate cake mix- Use a good quality one.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup water or other liquid for flavor- I like to use coffee in my chocolate cupcakes. For other flavors, I've tried coconut water, champagne, etc... Be creative!
Mix all ingredients together. I use my KitchenAid stand mixer (I would die without it!) and the paddle attachment. Mix on low for 1 minute and on medium-high for 1 minute, until the batter is nice and light. Be careful not to over mix, or your cupcakes will fall.
Fill cupcake liner 2/3 full, I like to use a scooper to keep things consistent. Bake on the middle rack of the oven. Once the cupcakes are in the oven, reduce the heat to 325 and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. I find that by reducing the heat I get a cupcake that doesn't fall as much after baking. Cool on a wire rack.
Chocolate Raspberry Ganache and Filling
2-3 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, or bakers chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
24 fresh raspberries
Melt all ingredients except raspberries on the stovetop in a double boiler until smooth. Be sure that the simmering water under the ganache is not touching the bowl.
Remove bowl from heat and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. You want the ganache to be firm enough to hold its shape, but still soft enough so that you can pipe it out of a bag.
Don't do anything with the fresh raspberries yet. That will come later!
Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 egg whites
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
2 cups butter
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
pink food coloring
Remove butter from refrigerator, cut into 1/4 inch slices or cubes and allow to come up to temperature while you prepare the rest of the frosting. The timing works out great this way, you do not want your butter to be too soft.
Prepare a double boiler, be sure that all bowls and utensils used in making the meringue are very clean and not greasy. I like to use my KitchenAid mixer bowl over my simmering water so that I don't have to transfer the meringue to another bowl before I whip it.
Combine the egg whites and sugar in a bowl and place over the simmering water. Whisk for about 5 minutes. You want this mixture to come to about 150 degrees to ensure that the eggs will be cooked enough. If you don't have a thermometer, a great way to tell is to rub some of the liquid between two fingers and ensure that the sugar is completely dissolved, you should not feel any graininess.
Place on mixer with the wire whip/whisk attachment. Whip on high speed for about 10-15 minutes, until stiff peaks form and the mixing bowl has cooled to ambient temperature. Change to paddle attachment and mix on medium speed adding cubes of butter one at a time, being sure that it is completely mixed in before adding another. This will take some time, be patient. Also, your meringue may get to the point where it starts to deflate or separate and look chunky. DON'T WORRY, YOU CAN RECOVER! Once you've added all of the butter and if you are still deflated or separated, pop the bowl in the fridge for 15 minutes or so and bring it back out and mix it on the mixer again. After you have a fabulous base frosting, its time to add the flavor. In this case, add the raspberry jam and mix until blended, add food coloring until you reach desired color, remember, a little goes a long way!
Assembling the Cupcakes
To hollow out the cooled cupcakes, you can use a knife to cut a hole and dig out the center or use a large piping tip to cut and remove the center. They also make actual cupcake corers, I have one, but I have yet to use it because my Williams-Sonama strawberry huller does the trick for me. Once you've cored the cupcakes, prepare the ganache in a piping bag with a small tip or use a ziplock bag with a small cut in the corner to fill the hole about 3/4 full. Place a fresh raspberry in each hole with the top end of the raspberry facing up. Fill the center of the raspberry with ganache as well. (See picture above)
When it comes to frosting your cupcakes, you can do whatever you are comfortable with. One option would be to spread it on with a spatula or knife. Swiss meringue buttercream can look a little air bubbly when not piped out of a bag, so I would suggest piping, it will come out looking silky smooth. I fit a large pastry bag with tip number 2D or 1M, a large star tip, and pipe standard swirls or rosettes.
I topped mine with Valentine's sprinkles, a fresh raspberry would look nice as well.
Stay tuned for future posts where I will give you tips and tricks for decorating!