Red, White, & Blue Sangria Cupcakes

The 4th of July is such an excellent¬†holiday (and also an excellent opportunity to bake delicious cupcakes and make lots of new friends at BBQs and parties). When I was deciding what kind of sugary treats to make, I couldn’t think of a better drink than sangria to emulate in baked form. It’s the perfect summer drink. Of course, sangria originates in Spain/Portugal, so I had to throw in a little red, white, and blue in there for America ūüėČ

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The Cupcakes:
Strawberry white wine cake
Blueberry brandy compote filling
Chambord raspberry buttercream
Fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and apples

The recipe:

Strawberry white wine cake (yields about 20 cupcakes):
2 C cake flour (or 1 3/4 C all purpose flour)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 C sugar
2 egg whites
1/4 C milk (whole milk is best)
2 tbsp strawberry compound*
2/3 C white wine
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

(If you’re in Colorado or any other area above sea level, don’t forget to adjust for high altitude! Just send me a message and I can convert the recipe for you:) )

*Note: Strawberry compound isn’t a particularly common ingredient – my mom is a professional pastry chef and I was lucky enough to use her kitchen and baking ingredients this time around. You can easily sub in strawberry puree.

Blueberry brandy compote filling:
1 package (6 oz) fresh blueberries
2 tbsp sugar
3 tsp cornstarch
2-3 tbsp brandy

Chambord raspberry buttercream:
1 1/2 C sugar
1/3 C water
150 g egg whites (if you’re using eggs, use the whites from 4 eggs)
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb unsalted butter (room temperature)
3-4 tbsp Chambord

For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350¬ļF.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk and sift thoroughly into another bowl. Set aside.
3. Cream sugar and butter in stand mixer or with hand mixer until light and fluffy.
4. Add half of flour mixture to creamed butter mixture and mix. Add milk, egg whites, and strawberry compound to mixture and mix. Add rest of flour mixture and mix.
5. In a measuring glass, combine white wine with vanilla extract. Whisk well.
6. Add white wine mixture to batter in 3 increments, mixing on high speed for about a minute after adding each increment.
7. Line a cupcake or muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
8. Fill cupcake tins with batter (about 2/3 of the way full).
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until middle of cupcake is firm to touch.

For the blueberry brandy compote filling:
1. Mash blueberries.
2. Mix blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, and brandy together in a saucepan.
3. Bring ingredients to a boil over low heat while stirring routinely. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until thickened and remove from heat.
4. Cover and refrigerate until cool.
5. Once the filling is cool, you’re ready to fill.

For the Chambord raspberry buttercream:
1. Combine sugar and water in saucepan, heat on low until boiling.
2. While sugar mixture is heating, whip egg whites, Chambord, and vanilla with mixer until frothy.
3. Pour boiling sugar mixture into egg whites, Chambord, and vanilla while mixing.
4. Beat on high speed till cool and stiff. This is going to take several minutes.
5. Once the bowl feels cool, switch the mixer to low speed and add in butter in small chunks.
6. Beat for another few minutes on low until buttercream comes together. It will look like cottage cheese for awhile…this is completely normal and happens just before the buttercream pulls together so don’t panic.
7. You’re all ready to frost! Top iced cupcakes with the fresh fruit of your choice. I used a mini star cookie cutter to cut the stars out of granny smith apples (to keep from turning brown, soak the stars in a little lemon juice).

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

Chocolate Raspberry Smooch Cupcakes

Okay, so in complete honesty, Valentine’s Day doesn’t rank high on my list of favorite holidays. But it gives me an excellent excuse to make deliciously clever cupcakes, so I’m not complaining.

These cupcakes are alcohol-free (sorry to betray the name of my blog!). They were designed and baked with the help of my baking partner-in-crime, Alex David.

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We sort of improvised a lot when we were making these, so there were definitely some moments of crazy panic. But they turned out to be absolutely perfect.

The Cupcakes:
Chocolate cake
Raspberry creme filling
White chocolate Italian meringue buttercream
Raspberry drizzle
Chocolate hearts

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Here it is:

Chocolate cake (yields about 20 cupcakes):
2 1/4 C cake flour (or 2 C all purpose flour, if you don’t have cake flour)
1/3 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 C unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 2/3 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs (room temperature)
2/3 C cocoa powder
1 1/3 C cold water

For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350¬ļF.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk and sift thoroughly into another bowl. Set aside.
3. Cream sugar, butter, and vanilla in stand mixer or with hand mixer until light and fluffy.
4. Add 3 eggs to creamed butter mixture. Beat thoroughly.
5. In another bowl, combine cocoa powder and water. Whisk until well-mixed.
6. Alternatively add flour mixture and cocoa mixture to creamed butter mixture. Mix well between each addition. Start and end with flour mixture.
7. Line a cupcake or muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
8. Fill cupcake tins with batter (about 2/3 of the way full).
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until middle of cupcake is firm to touch.

chocolate

For the raspberry filling:
This is the part we completely made up. I’m not sure on amounts of anything, but basically we did a simple syrup (heat sugar and water together in a saucepan), blended frozen raspberries with heavy cream and raspberry extract, combined them, and beat in powdered sugar. We made it creamy but with a thick consistency so that it wouldn’t seep through the chocolate cake. If you’re feeling adventurous, feel free to replicate this. Or for a safer route, I would recommend just throwing together a raspberry mousse for the filling.

mixing

For the white chocolate buttercream (you’re gonna need a stand mixer or a hand mixer for this!):
1 1/2 C sugar
1/3 C water
150 g egg whites (if you’re using eggs, use the whites from 4 eggs)
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb unsalted butter (room temperature)
6 oz white chocolate

1. Combine sugar and water in saucepan, heat on low until boiling.
2. While sugar mixture is heating, whip egg whites and vanilla with mixer until frothy.
3. In a double boiler or in the microwave, melt white chocolate. If it’s kind of chunky when you melt it, mix in a little melted butter to smoothen it out.
4. Pour boiling sugar mixture into egg whites and vanilla while mixing. (Enlist a friend if you have a hand mixer! ūüôā )
5. Beat on high speed till cool and stiff. This is going to take several minutes, so if you have a hand mixer your arm is probably going to get tired. Just keep on keepin’ on!
6. Once the bowl feels cool, switch the mixer to low speed and add in butter in small chunks.
7. Beat for another few minutes on low until buttercream comes together. It will look like cottage cheese for awhile…this is completely normal and happens just before the buttercream pulls together so don’t panic.
8. Add melted white chocolate and beat on low until well-mixed.

assemblyline

For the raspberry drizzle:
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C water
a few frozen raspberries
1 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp raspberry extract
red food coloring

1. Combine sugar and water in saucepan, heat on low until just boiling.
2. Blend together raspberries, heavy cream, and raspberry extract.
3. Mix together sugar and raspberry mixtures.
4. Mix in a few drops of red food coloring.
5. To top cupcakes, we just used a fork and lightly drizzled over the buttercream.

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For the chocolate hearts:
6 oz semisweet chocolate
a little melted butter to smooth out the chocolate (if necessary)

1.¬†In a double boiler or in the microwave, melt chocolate. If it’s kind of chunky when you melt it, mix in a little melted butter to smoothen it out.
2. Pour chocolate into a parchment paper cone, with a small tip at the end for piping.
3. Pipe little hearts onto a tray lined with parchment paper. Get clever with the design!
4. Put tray in freezer until hearts are solid.

And there’s your recipe! These aphrodisiac cupcakes are sure to make your valentine happy, with the perfect flavor combination of chocolate and raspberry.

Love is sweet. Happy cupcake adventures.

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