Tag Archives: raspberries

Butterfly Cupcakes with Raspberry Swiss Meringue Icing

Butterfly Cupcakes 001

For bookgroup this month, we read Proof of Heaven, by Eben Alexander. It is an autobiographical account of neurosurgeon Dr. Alexander’s experience while he was in a coma. It is an interesting glimpse into his vision of the afterlife and how the experience changes him when he returns. We were meeting at my house this month and I wanted to tie our dessert into the book. So I decided to recreate the butterfly on the book cover which plays a roll in Dr. Alexander’s experience.

______Proof of Heaven   Butterfly Cupcakes 004

I ran out of steam (and time) after making 11 butterflies, so the rest I just topped with a fresh raspberry. I love these cupcake liners that look like a field of grass.

Butterfly Cupcakes 002

The cupcakes are made from a simple doctored white cake mix and are filled with a raspberry filling in the center. The icing is a Swiss Meringue Buttercream into which I beat some of the raspberry filling. No food coloring, just thickened raspberry puree.

Here is a picture of similar white cupcakes with raspberry filling (before I replaced their little cake caps that I cut out to make holes):

Raspberry Filling

I first made these chocolate butterflies on cupcakes for Little J’s 6th birthday three years ago. Here is a link to a tutorial on making the butterflies:

HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE BUTTERFLIES

Butterfly Cupcakes 001

RECIPES:

White Cupcakes

Butterfly Cupcakes 002

White Cupcakes
  (from Our Best Bites)

1 box white cake mix (Duncan Hines)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
¾ tsp salt
4 egg whites (or 3 whole eggs if you don’t need it perfectly white)
1 1/3 cups water
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract (use clear vanilla if you want a pure white cake)
1 tsp almond extract

Mix all dry ingredients with a whisk, then add wet ingredients. Beat with a mixer for two minutes until fluffy.

To make a round layer cake: Pour into greased, floured pans (fills two 8 or 9″ rounds) and bake according to cake package directions.

Tip:  When cakes come out, cool for 5 minutes on wire rack, then wrap securely with two sheets of plastic wrap (in a “+” sign). Allow to cool all wrapped up (keeps the moisture from evaporating out) then pop in freezer on a cutting board to keep them flat. Once they are frozen, they are super easy to frost and defrost in about half an hour.

To make cupcakes: fill paper liners ¾ full and bake according to box directions.  Makes 36 regular sized cupcakes.

Raspberry Filling

  • Servings: Makes about 1 ¾ cups filling (without seeds)
  • Print

Raspberry Filling

12 oz raspberries, fresh or frozen (about 2 ½ cups of not-crushed berries)
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
½ Tbs lemon juice
2-3 Tbs ClearJel or cornstarch
¼ cup cold water

In a heavy saucepan, combine raspberries, ½ cup water, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, crushing berries slightly with the back of a spoon. For a seedless sauce: strain the berries through a fine sieve, pushing the pulp through the sieve with the back of a spoon. Return seedless puree to the saucepan (rinse saucepan first if there are seeds clinging to the sides). Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl; stir into puree in the saucepan. Return mixture to a boil; lower heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly thickened and no longer cloudy. Chill before using.

Yield: about 1 ¾ cups filling (without seeds)

Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing

  • Servings: Frosting for 24 cupcakes or one 2-layer round cake
  • Print

Butterfly Cupcakes 002

1 cup egg whites (about 8 large egg whites, or use “Just Whites” carton of egg whites)
1 ½ cups sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups unsalted butter (4 sticks), at room temperature**
2 tsp vanilla extract (or use small amounts of other flavored extracts)
about 1 cup Raspberry filling (see recipe above)

In the top of a double boiler, stir together  egg whites, sugar and salt. Bring water in bottom of double boiler to a low simmer; cook until the temperature of the egg whites reaches 160°F and sugar is completely dissolved (rub mixture between fingertips-it should not feel gritty). Mixture will be foamy and not a uniform consistency.

Transfer the egg white mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip until meringue is completely cooled and glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. DO NOT ADD BUTTER UNTIL BOTH THE BOWL AND FROSTING ARE COMPLETELY COOL. Switch mixer attachment from the whisk to paddles. Add butter 1-2 Tablespoons at a time until incorporated. Mixture may appear curdled at times. Continue beating until butter is fully incorporated and frosting is fluffy and smooth.  This will take about 10 minutes.  Add vanilla and beat smooth. Add raspberry filling and beat until frosting is a uniform color (start with about ¾ cup filling, beat, and then add more if you want a more pronounced raspberry flavor).

**BUTTER NOTE: butter should be room temperature soft, but not at the point of melting. If the butter is too cold, it will not incorporate well into the meringue, and you will have butter chunks. If the butter is over-soft, it will cause the icing to curdle while beating-this is okay, it isn’t ruined: it will just take longer (more beating) for the frosting to become smooth. If icing still won’t set, place in the fridge for 20 minutes, and then beat again.

Storage:  Store frosted cake at room temperature (frosted cake will be fine at room temp for several days).  This is a great icing that does not get “crusty” like a regular buttercream. To store leftover icing: store in a covered container in the refrigerator.  When ready to use, bring to room temperature and beat until light and fluffy.

Yield: frosting for a two-layer round cake or about 24 cupcakes

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under Desserts

Raspberry Cheesecake

RaspberryCheesecake (8)-3

One of the treats that we made to go with our berry-picking haul was this raspberry topped cheesecake. A simple creamy vanilla cheesecake topped with fresh raspberries and a raspberry sauce. For me, dessert doesn’t get much better than this.

For a more in-depth look at cooking a cheesecake in a water bath, click HERE.

The leftover raspberry sauce (I made a double batch)  has been great on ice cream and homemade waffles.

RECIPE:

RaspberryCheesecake (8)-3

Creamy Vanilla Cheesecake

Almond Shortbread Crust (or try this recipe for a graham cracker crust):
1 cup crushed shortbread cookies or Vanilla Wafer cookies
1 cup whole raw almonds
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter (omit salt if using salted butter)

Filling:
3 (8 oz each) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar or Stevia equivalent (about 1/4 tsp powdered or 3/4 tsp liquid)
2 Tbs flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs

Topping (optional):
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbs sugar or pinch Stevia
1/2 Tbs lemon juice (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract

For crust:
Combine cookies and almonds in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely ground. Add melted butter and pulse just until mixed. Press onto  the bottom of a 9″ springform pan. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Cool. Wrap springform pan in a double layer of foil, or one layer of foil and then place in an oven bag (like the kind used for turkeys) or a crock-pot liner. Place springform pan in a larger roasting pan.

For filling:
In a large mixing bowl, combine all filling ingredients except the eggs; beat with a mixer until smooth. Add eggs and beat again, just until smooth (do not overbeat). Pour filling over crust.  Fill roasting pan (not springform pan!) with very hot (almost boiling) water to about 2-inches deep.

Bake cheesecake in the water bath for about 60 minutes at 350°F. The cheesecake will have puffed significantly, and the middle will still be slightly jiggly. Remove pan from water bath and run a sharp knife around the sides, but do not remove ring.

For topping (sour cream topping is optional):
While cheesecake is baking, combine sour cream, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour over hot (cooked) cheesecake and let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes. Cover cheesecake pan (do not remove sides) with plastic wrap, taking care not to touch the surface of the cheesecake. Chill for at least four hours or overnight.

To serve:
Remove plastic wrap and remove the outer edge of the spring form pan. If desired, slide a sharp knife under the crust and slide the cheesecake off the spring form base and onto a cake stand or serving platter. Serve cheesecake alone, or topped with fresh berries or Raspberry Sauce.

Raspberry Sauce

12 oz raspberries, fresh or frozen (about 2 1/2 cups of not crushed fresh berries)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs ClearJel or cornstarch
2 Tbs cold water

In a heavy saucepan, combine raspberries, 1/2 cup water, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, crushing berries slightly with the back of a spoon. For a seedless sauce: strain the berries through a fine sieve, pushing the pulp through the sieve with the back of a spoon. Return seedless puree to the saucepan (rinse saucepan first if there are seeds clinging to the sides). Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl; stir into puree in the saucepan. Return mixture to a boil; lower heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly thickened and no longer cloudy. Serve warm or cold. The sauce will thicken more as it cools.

Yield: 2 cups sauce (with seeds) or 1 3/4 cup sauce (without seeds)

To make a Raspberry Filling (for filling cakes/cupcakes/pastries): use 2-3 Tbs cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water to thicken puree. Chill filling until cold before using.

 

13 Comments

Filed under Condiments/Sauces, Desserts

Birthday Trifle, Lyme Disease and Baseball

Pirates Game 006-1

Last week was a week of highs and lows for our Little A. After contracting Lyme disease last month (and a long month before a definitive diagnosis), he had some unexpected complications on Monday which landed us in Children’s Hospital for the next few days. He was released just in time to celebrate his 9th birthday on Friday: a day full of Pirates baseball (GO BUCS! Who are not only over 500 for the first time in almost 20 years, but are leading their division!) and a family celebration with one of Little A’s favorite desserts: English Trifle. A birthday party with friends on Saturday helped to erase the not-so-fun start to the week.

Trifle 022-1Happy Birthday to an amazing little boy, who was a great example of courage and patience this week.

Trifle 030.3

Late night photos do not do justice to this dessert. Layers of pound cake, fresh raspberries, strawberries and blueberries, and a homemade vanilla custard were the dessert of choice for my little guy that never eats anything made with chocolate.

Trifle 008-1Leftover Vanilla Custard

RECIPES:

Trifle 030.3

English Trifle **

½ – l loaf pound cake, cut into thin cubes (or ladyfingers or angel food cake)
1 quart strawberries, sliced
1 pint blueberries
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
½ cup raspberry jam
1-2 Tbs sugar or small pinch of Stevia extract
Vanilla Custard (see recipe below-or use boxed vanilla pudding)
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs powdered sugar or small pinch of Stevia extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
Toasted almonds, for garnish

Prepare Vanilla Custard or pudding. Cool completely. In a separate bowl, mix fruits, jam and sugar/Stevia.

Layer half of the cake slices, fruit and custard in a large glass serving bowl. Repeat layers. Whip cream with powdered sugar/Stevia and almond extract. Spread on top of the trifle layers. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time. Just before serving, sprinkle with toasted almonds.

**NOTE: The exact amounts of cake, fruit and custard that you use will depend on the size of your bowl. Leftovers make great individual parfaits!

Vanilla Custard

Trifle 008-1

3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbs cornstarch or ClearJel
1 vanilla bean, optional
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla extract (if not using vanilla bean)

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and vanilla bean (Split bean in half and scrape seeds into the saucepan. Place bean pod in the saucepan as well). Stir in milk and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat. While boiling, cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir 1 cup of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks. Return egg yolk mixture to the saucepan, stirring well. Return custard to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 2 additional minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla extract (if using) and remove vanilla bean pod. Pour into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard (to keep from developing a skin). Chill until cool. Do not stir while custard is cooling.

Makes 4-6 servings

 

1 Comment

Filed under Desserts, Uncategorized

Low-Sugar Seedless Raspberry Nectarine Jam

071311 068-1

One of the kids’ favorite jams from last year was this Raspberry Nectarine Freezer Jam. This year I played with the recipe a little, to reduce the sugar and to make it a regular canned jam (freezer space is precious!).
071311 071-1

Nectarines and raspberries are a great combination! Be sure to leave the nectarine peels on when cutting the nectarines. They help give the rich color to the jam. They will be strained out later with the raspberry seeds. Pressing pulp through a sieve to remove seeds is not my favorite thing to do. It is a lot of work, and it seems like such a waste to not use all of that good stuff. I don’t mind having raspberry seeds in things, so I save the seeds (and pulp that clings to them) in the fridge and add them to smoothies, or stir some into my oatmeal in the mornings. A little extra fiber is never a bad thing, right?!

RECIPE:

071311 068-1

Low-Sugar Seedless Raspberry Nectarine Jam

——————————–Yield: About 5 half-pint jars

3 cups chopped nectarines (do not peel)-about 4-5 nectarines
3 cups slightly crushed raspberries
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1 box no-sugar needed pectin
½ tsp powdered Stevia (or ¾ – 1 tsp liquid Stevia)**

Combine nectarines and raspberries in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Press through a fine sieve to remove seeds; discard seeds. Place fruit puree in a large saucepan with the lemon juice.

In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup sugar with pectin. Stir into fruit puree in the large saucepan. Bring to a hard boil (boiling doesn’t stop when stirred) over high heat. Stir in 1 C sugar and stevia. Return to hard boil; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/8” headspace. Wipe rims of jars. Place lids on jars.

Place in a boiling bath canner or steam canner. Return water to a gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Cool on a towel on kitchen counter for 24 hours. Check seal.

**My favorite is 1 tsp of Sweet Leaf brand Vanilla Crème liquid stevia

 

1 Comment

Filed under Canning/Freezing, Condiments/Sauces

Berry Picking and Raspberry Jams

071311 037-1

It is raspberry picking season here in western PA, and Little A & J helped me take full advantage of it last week. While older kids were off at youth camps, we spent a few days picking berries and making jams. And eating lots of berries on things like This:

071311 033-1

And This:

RaspberryCheesecake (8)-3

We also made three different raspberry jams, two regular raspberry ones that I will share today, and a seedless variety with nectarines for tomorrow’s post. The first jam is a low-sugar red raspberry jam. I love how the fresh fruit taste shines in low-sugar jams, but they do have more of a fruit-spread consistency than the jelled set of full sugar jams.

071311 093-1

I make most of my jams with stevia as a sweetener. I use a little bit of sugar to help with the consistency and “sheen”, but most of the sugar I trade out for stevia. Stevia comes in many brands and forms (liquid: plain and flavored, powdered extract, “spoonable”, packets, crushed leaves), so you will need to do a little experimenting (i.e. tasting) to get the amounts just right.

I use the Sweet Leaf brand most of the time. In the past I have always used the powdered extract, which I highly recommend. This year I tried using their Vanilla Crème flavored liquid variety, and I really liked it. When making low-sugar jams, be sure to use the “no-sugar needed” pectin. For the SureJell brand, this is the pink box.

071311 027-1The second jam we made uses red, black and yellow raspberries. Black raspberries are smaller than the other colors, and have more a few more seeds. Their flavor also seems more concentrated. They make for good finger-staining when you are picking them! And teeth staining when you eat them. I actually prefer their taste over the red ones.

I made jam from just the black raspberries a few years ago, and it came out extremely thick (hold the spoon upside-down thick). So now I combine them with the red and yellow berries to get a better consistency.

071311 056-1

I don’t mind seeds in my raspberry jam, but if you prefer to make it seedless, start with about 1/2 cup more berries, and press through a sieve before adding pectin. If you want to make full-sugar jams, use the same amount of berries, regular pectin and 7 cups sugar (some recipes call for as much as 8 1/2 cups sugar).

RECIPES:

071311 093-1

Low-Sugar Red Raspberry Jam

——————–Yield: 5-6 half-pint jars

5 cups slightly crushed raspberries
1 ¼ cups sugar, divided
1 box no-sugar needed pectin
½ tsp powdered Stevia (or ¾ – 1 tsp liquid Stevia)**

In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup sugar with pectin. Stir into raspberries in a large saucepan. Bring to a hard boil (boiling doesn’t stop when stirred) over high heat. Stir in 1 cup sugar and stevia. Return to hard boil; boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/8” headspace. Wipe rims of jars. Place lids on jars.

Place in a boiling bath canner or steam canner. Return water to a gentle boil. Process for 10 minutes. Cool on a towel on kitchen counter for 24 hours. Check seal.

**My favorite is 1 tsp of Sweet Leaf brand Vanilla Crème liquid stevia

071311 056-1

Low-Sugar Triple Raspberry Jam

————————-Yield: 5-6 half-pint jars

5 cups slightly crushed raspberries (3C red, 1C black, 1C yellow)
1 ¼ cups sugar, divided
1 box no-sugar needed pectin
½ tsp powdered Stevia (or ¾ – 1 tsp liquid Stevia)**

In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup sugar with pectin. Stir into raspberries in a large saucepan. Bring to a hard boil (boiling doesn’t stop when stirred) over high heat. Stir in 1 cup sugar and stevia. Return to hard boil; boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/8” headspace. Wipe rims of jars. Place lids on jars.

Place in a boiling bath canner or steam canner. Return water to a gentle boil. Process for 10 minutes. Cool on a towel on kitchen counter for 24 hours. Check seal.

**My favorite is 1 tsp of Sweet Leaf brand Vanilla Crème liquid stevia

3 Comments

Filed under Canning/Freezing, Condiments/Sauces

Baking & Board Games: A Perfect Snow Day

View Snow Day Baking

Baking and Board Games:
What better way to spend a mid-week, school-canceled SNOW DAY!

View Snow Day Monopoly

With a little sledding, snow-fort making and hot chocolate sipping added to keep things balanced.

View SnowDayJan2011

080610 022-1Raspberry Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins (recipe below)

021910 095Our Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe HERE)

RECIPE:

080610 011-1

Raspberry Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins

recipe from Aimée at Simple Bites

**Prep Note: the oats need to soak in the milk for 1 hour before adding the rest of the ingredients.

1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 Tbs white vinegar or lemon juice)
1 cup rolled oats
1 large egg, at room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup raspberries or mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
½ cup dark chocolate chunks or chips

Combine buttermilk and oats in a large bowl and let stand for one hour. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

Stir the egg into the oat and milk mixture; add brown sugar and sugar; mix to combine. Stir in melted butter. In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, & spices. Gently fold into batter, taking care not to over mix. Gently stir in raspberries and chocolate.

Spoon batter into muffin tins. Bake until light brown and tops spring back when gently touched, about 15 minutes (they will take slightly longer if using frozen berries).

Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 12 medium muffins

 

2 Comments

Filed under Breads, Breakfast/Brunch, Cookies, Uncategorized