Sunday, August 16, 2015

Raspberry Lager Cupcakes

Red velvet cupcakes are always ranked as one of the favorites when it comes to baking contests.  Something about the color and that touch of cocoa really appeals to the majority of cake and cupcake lovers. With that appeal, you run across numerous recipes that have been modified from the original.  One thing I have seen is the color change; blue velvet, green velvet...etc.

However, this is one twist that does not involve a change of color. This recipe is actually a red velvet recipe with a fruity, boozy twist. It incorporates raspberry beer. Even though raspberry and chocolate is a delicious combination, my first concern was about the raspberry flavor. I did not want it to taste "artificial", so I took some time to find a naturally flavored beer. I came across a Belgium beer, Lindeman's Frambois Lambic. Other than being naturally flavored, the size of the bottle (25 oz) was a benefit since the recipe calls for more than 12 oz of beer.

This recipe scored very high in flavor and texture. As you can see by the bottom picture, the cake was nice and moist. The brush of raspberry syrup on top gave them an extra pop of delicious fruit flavor. Also the obvious, but perfect, choice of topping is the cream cheese frosting.This recipe makes about 2 dozen cupcakes, but you may try 1 1/2 times the recipe if you are bringing this to a potluck or family get together. You definitely want to make sure no one is left out when it comes to eating one of these special cupcakes.....

Raspberry Lager Cupcakes
adapted from Just a Pinch website

1 tsp vanilla
1 oz red food coloring
2 eggs
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup raspberry beer
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup or 1 stick butter (room temp)
3/4 cup of regular flour
2 cups cake flour
3 tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

3-4 cups powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese (room temp)
8 oz butter (room temp)
1 tsp vanilla
24-30 fresh raspberries for garnish (optional)
1 crumbled cupcake for sprinkling

Ingredients/Soaking Syrup
1 1/2 cups raspberry beer
8-10 fresh raspberries, mashed

Start by making the soaking syrup.  Fill a saucepan with the beer and mashed raspberries.  Bring the mixture to a slow boil and stir. Let it cook down to about 1/2 of the original amount. This should take about 7-10 minutes.  Place strainer over a heat proof bowl and strain liquid. Use the back side of a spoon to separate the fruit from the seeds, scraping the inside of the strainer. Once strainer holds nothing more than seeds, set bowl of strained liquid aside to cool and discard seeds.

To make the cupcakes, begin by greasing the top edge of your cupcake cavities and insert paper liners for approximately 2 dozen cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix together raspberry beer and food coloring. Set aside. Then fill the bowl of a standard mixer with the oil, butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed, occasionally scraping down the sides, for about 3 minutes or until mixture is light and fluffy. Drop in one egg and beat for 30 seconds. Add the other egg and beat again. Pour in cider vinegar and vanilla extract and blend liquids into batter until incorporated.

Using a third bowl, sift together 2 types of flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Fold 1/3 of this mixture into the batter. Pour in 1/2 of the raspberry beer/food coloring liquid. Stir until thoroughly blended. Repeat this process, using 1/2 of the remaining dry ingredients and all of the liquid. Lastly, fold in the last bit of the dry ingredients.

Using a scoop, fill each lined cupcake cavity with batter. Fill to approx. 2/3 full. Place both pans in oven and bake for 10 minutes and rotate pans. Bake for an additional 7-10 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in pans about 5-7 minutes and then carefully transfer to cooling rack. Wait another 5 minutes and then brush lightly with soaking syrup. The brushing step will be in two sessions, about 3 minutes apart. This will give it time to soak in prior to the second session.

Cupcakes can be frosted once completely cooled.

For the frosting, add the cream cheese and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer. Then beat until no lumps remain and both ingredients are completely blended and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and beat again for about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl. Remove bowl from stand mixer and sift in 1 cup of powdered sugar. Place bowl back in stand mixer and beat until no dry ingredients remain. Continue with the process, adding the powdered sugar until frosting reaches the desired consistency.

Take one of the cooled cupcakes (preferably the ugliest, misshapen one) and place in mixer or food processor and process until you have fine crumbs.

Pipe frosting onto top of cupcakes and then sprinkle cupcake crumbs on top.  If desired, place 2 raspberries on center of top, just prior to serving.

Tips and Notes:
1. You will have some leftover soaking liquid.  Be sure not to "oversoak" your cupcakes, this will make them very fragile to handle and insure that they will fall apart when someone trys to eat them later.

2. How much food coloring or if you use any is personal preference.

3. The soaking liquid idea can be beneficial in instances where the flavor has baked right out of the cupcake for some reason. The recipe will need to be tweaked more, but you have a way to save these particular cupcakes from the error bin. Making a syrup with the flavoring and brushing on top will add back what was baked out.
                                       **Last Year: Citrus Syrup Tea Cakes***