I am lucky enough to have a small mountain of home grown raspberries, thanks to my aunt who has quite a jungle of raspberry canes growing in her back garden. I think raspberries are a beautiful fruit, so unusually constructed with their plump little pockets of sweet juice surrounding tiny seeds and so pretty in colour. Another bonus is that they grow surrounded by flat greens leaves rather than the prickly thorns of blackberries meaning they are far more enjoyable to pick. I have frozen a few for future use and enjoyed some raw but I also wanted to use them in baking and these cupcakes were the result.
At first I planned to make raspberry muffins but I find raspberries can sometimes have quite large seeds which are not nice to chew on, so instead I decided to use one baked into the centre of a cupcake and then make a raspberry cream topping with the rest.
I used ground almonds in the cake mix which I find always gives a lovely moist texture and is a perfect flavour pairing with raspberries. The raspberry baked into the cakes centre is a nice surprise when bitten into and it seemed to have intensified in flavour. For the raspberry cream I used a base of an Italian style meringue but whisked it with the juice of lots of raspberries which I pureed first. I was worried that this would be too wet and I would end up with liquid goo but it actually whisked up to be wonderfully light and fluffy. I added some whipped cream to give it extra stability and this transformed it into a light and airy raspberry mousse which tasted divine. The sweetness of the meringue base really enhanced the raspberry flavour and it turned a lovely pretty pink colour and was so creamy and smooth In fact it was so good that I spooned the leftovers into little glasses and served it as a raspberry fool.
Topped with an extra raspberry they encompass the joys of fresh summer berries, now I just wish the weather would take the hint and stop being so cold and wet.
Raspberry & Almond Cupcakes
For the cake
100g self raising flour
115g caster sugar
25g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp almond extract
For the raspberry cream
2 egg whites
150g caster sugar
200ml double cream
Method – for the cake
Preheat the oven to 175C and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each one.
Add the ground almonds and almond extract. Sift over the flour and baking powder and mix well to combine.
Spoon a teaspoon of the almond batter into the base of each of the muffin cases. Place a whole raspberry in the centre of each spoonful of batter. Divide the remaining batter evenly between the muffin cases, covering each raspberry.
Bake in the oven for 22-25 minutes until risen and springy to the touch.
Transfer to a wire wrack to cool.
For the raspberry cream
Take 12 of the best raspberries and set to one side for decoration later. Then place the remaining raspberries in a pan along with the water and 50g of the caster sugar.
Heat until the raspberries are mushy and thick, then remove from the heat. Push the raspberry mush through a sieve, collecting the juice in a glass bowl. Discard the seeds.
Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and add the egg whites and rest of the sugar.
Whisk the mixture over the heat until it turns very fluffy and has tripled in volume, around 4 – 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and continue to beat for a few minutes more until nearly cold.
Whisk the double cream until it forms soft peaks and then whisk it into the raspberry mixture. It will turn creamy and deflate slightly, but this is ok. Whisk until thick and mousse like.
Chill in the fridge to firm up for at least two hours before spreading or piping onto the tops of the cooled cakes.
Top with the raspberries saved from earlier.
Makes 12 cupcakes