The stars have aligned.  Instead of pulling out yet another bill or a credit card application from the mailbox, I pulled out a “150 Best Cupcake Recipes” cookbook by Julie Hasson.  It happened to be my grandfather’s birthday this week, so to celebrate, I decided to bake him a batch of cupcakes (and save a few for myself and friends).

Picking out a flavor was challenging: the book has an impressive array of 150 recipes ranging from simple to gourmet.  The book is organized by section (chocolate, fruit, nuts, adults only, kids’ corner, spice it up, new twists, vegan, and frostings, glazes and fillings) and also has decorating tips and techniques.

Paging through the book, I stopped on a color photo of a Raspberry Vanilla Cupcake.  Scanning through the recipe, I decided to make a few adjustments and use a variation of the book’s Cream Cheese Frosting recipe.  A quick trip to the store and I was ready to bake Vanilla Raspberry “Surprise” Cupcakes with Raspberry Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting.

You can use your favorite jam to substitute for raspberry.  If you do choose to follow the recipe, I suggest using a seedless raspberry jam.  Feel free to garnish the cupcakes with fresh raspberries, especially if you are baking these in the summer.


Vanilla Raspberry “Surprise” Cupcakes with Raspberry Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting


Ingredients

For the Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam


For the Frosting


4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

pinch of salt

2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam

zest of 1 lemon

Directions


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin pan with cupcake paper liners.


2.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

3.  Whisk together sugar, oil, and vanilla until smooth.

4.  Combine flour mixture, milk, and sugar and oil mixture in intervals, mixing until smooth.

5.  Scoop cupcake batter into the bottom of each paper liner, about two tablespoons.

6.  Drop a spoonful of raspberry jam and cover with the remaining cupcake batter.

7.  Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes are golden brown.

8.  Cool cupcakes on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the muffin pan and cool completely.

9.  Beat together cream cheese, butter, and salt until creamy.

10.  Beat in confectioner’s sugar to the cream cheese mixture on low speed, adding a little bit of sugar at a time.

11.  Increase speed and beat in raspberry jam and lemon zest until fluffy.

12.  Pipe frosting on top of cooled cupcakes.

13.  Eat immediately or refrigerate until ready.  Remove from refrigerator and allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before eating.  Garnish with fresh raspberries.

Final thoughts:
The cupcakes were a success with the grandparents and the rest of the family.

My “surprise” element of raspberry jam inside the cupcake needs some work.  I envisioned the jam staying suspended in the center of the cupcake, but, unfortunately, it sunk to the bottom.  Apparently, my brother was not disappointed, and instead, loved this happy accident.  His response to the cupcake was: “Whoa! There was like a surprise on the bottom!

Next time, in addition to figuring out how to keep raspberry jam in the center of the cupcake, I would also add lemon zest and perhaps even lemon oil to the cupcake batter, and use more lemon in the frosting.



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