Sunday, August 8, 2010

Don't Mess With The Love-Goddess...

It's Cupcake Hero time again! This time, last month's winner Amy has chosen the theme - and it's Raspberry! I was very excited about this, as I LOVE raspberries (my only gripe with them is that I can't get them fresh this time of year, and that when I can, they're like $8 for a small punnet. Grrr. Still - that's what the miracle of frozen goods is for, right?)

Anyhow, I couldn't get out of my head a piece of interesting information I recently discovered... It turns out raspberries are in the same family as roses! So naturally I was rather keen to try them out as a flavour combination. Finally, as both raspberries and roses are traditionally considered aphrodisiacs, I thought I'd throw a third love-drug (chocolate) in and call these

Aphrodite Cupcakes

Named, obviously, after the Greek Goddess of beauty and love. A decadently rich chocolate cupcake studded with tart juicy berries, topped with a silky rose buttercream and with vanilla foam clinging to its shapely curves - what's not to love?

(and yes, this is what Cupcake Hero has driven me to - art directing cupcakes in The Muffin's sandpit, on account of Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" painting - Aphrodite (or Venus, if one subscribes to the Roman view of things) having been "born" from sea-foam and borne to the shore on a scallop shell).

My first attempt at these were a disaster. They looked okay, but tasted extremely ordinary. I had decided to be clever and mess about with a vanilla cupcake recipe to change it into a rich chocolate one, as I thought the berries would sink to the bottom in my usual (rather runny) chocolate mixture. I also decided to drastically change my buttercream in an attempt to make it lighter and airier. The result was a beautiful-looking but dry and not-very-chocolatey cupcake, and buttercream that was way too sweet with a very strange texture. Unfortunately, they were the cupcakes I took to a family party. Sorry, relatives! Annoyed, I chucked those recipes and came up with this one, which involves less drastic changes to both my usual chocolate cake and buttercream.
My advice? When dealing with the Goddess of Love, don't muck her around!!
Enough prattle - here's the recipe.
110g butter
110g dark chocolate
80 mL water
2 eggs
65g plain flour
65g self raising flour
25g cocoa
1/4 tsp baking powder
240g caster sugar
20 mL oil
60 mL milk
1/2 tsp lemon juice
100g frozen (or fresh if you can get them!) raspberries
Modus Operandi
Pick out the 12-18 best looking raspberries and set aside for the garnish. Melt butter and chocolate with water in a saucepan, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir in sugar. Mix eggs and oil together, and while chocolate mixture is still warm but not hot, add egg mixture to it, stirring vigorously until all combined and smooth. The mixture will have thickened due to the eggs becoming partially cooked in the warm chocolate (if your chocolate mixture has gone cold, it won't thicken. This doesn't really matter, but I find it easier to deal with if it's not so runny. Also your raspberries might sink). Add the chocolate mixture, milk and lemon juice to the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Spoon into cupcake cases and push 2 or 3 raspberries into the centre of each cupcake.
This method of adding the raspberries does mean your cupcakes will not have a rounded dome - they'll rise around the berries, creating a dent in the top. If this is an issue for you, just half-fill the cases, add the berries, then cover them with more mixture. That way you'll get a dome. But for this recipe, I feel the first method works, firstly because there's something rather sexy about having the raspberries peeking out of their chocolate bed at you, and secondly it gives the foam somewhere to sit, rather than running down the side of the wrapper.
Besides, how awesome does this look in the oven??

Bake cupcakes at 160 degrees Celsius until they test cleanish with a toothpick (around 15 to 18 minutes). When cool, top with rose buttercream, raspberry, and vanilla foam (in that order). The foam must be put on immediately before serving.

Rose Buttercream
Cream 125g unsalted butter with 110g icing sugar. When very pale and fluffy, add 1 drop pink food colouring, 30 mL milk, and rosewater essence to taste. Note: generally I would say go easy on the rosewater essence, as noone likes to feel they've just licked an air freshener. However, for this recipe I would advise using just a little more rose flavour than you'd normally like, as the rich chocolate cupcake drowns it out a bit. So when tasting your buttercream, I would advise you find your happy place rose-flavour-wise, and then add another two drops. Pipe slightly off-centre mounds onto cupcakes.
Vanilla Foam
Add a little vanilla extract to some milk, and froth using whatever method you would for a cappuccino. Spoon a teaspoonful onto each cupcake just before serving.



C&C Cakery said...

This cupcake is amazing - the foam puts it over the edge. Absolutely beautiful!

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

These look delicious and I'm glad they turned out on the second try. I tried rose in baking for the first time with this challenge too, but now I'm curious to taste it together with chocolate.

Sugary Flower said...

Thanks guys for your lovely comments!
Xiaolu - I love using rose. It's beautiful in macaron filling too. This is the first time I've paired it with chocolate, and it actually worked really well - you just have to make the rose flavour a little stronger than usual so that the chocolate doesn't overpower it.

A.Part said...

These look so beautiful and delicious - I was definitely rooting for you to be in finals. Great job with this cupcake. If I ever get the chance to try making them, I will, because they are so delightfully creative!

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