Hidden Raspberries


Yes, the fresh fruit atop today’s offering sets the marker for raspberries, but do you really expect to encounter a perfect ribbon of sweet berry preserves when biting into the soft vanilla cake, past the creamy lemon frosting?  Well, you do now, but before reading this paragraph and seeing today’s picture, it would’ve been quite the pleasant surprise, wouldn’t it?

Discovery or not, the latest treat features a double dose of early summer’s splendid archetype, the raspberry, as well as silky lemon curd that compliments its sweet tartness perfectly.  All this is housed in a soft vanilla cake that contributes just the right amount of sweetness and wraps the package in a nice bow..

Pastry chef Bill Yosses developed the variety for his New York shop, and the July 2004 issue of Food & Wine reported on the effort.  Yosses surprises his patrons with a vibrant reservoir of raspberry preserves laid in when the top is cut away then is covered again with the excavated cupcake.  Evidence of the project is then obscured beneath a creamy pour of lemony tartness.  Very neat, very crafty.  Hey, this is the way we take care of business in New York.  You got a problem with that?

Of course, the berries adorning each cupcake advertise the fruit’s presence, but the uninitiated may not be prepared for the exuberant burst of summery celebration lurking just below the surface.  Even those familiar with the arrangement  may not remember the experience being quite so…intense.

Naturally, frozen raspberries are available year-round now and are quite creditable, but they still lack the beautiful range of flavors berries bring when first burst forth on bushes.  This is summer’s gift to eaters, reminding them of just what they’ve been missing for eleven months, now back triumphantly.

*****

Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Cream and Raspberries

For the lemon cream:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon finely-grated lemon zest (*1)
  • 1 stick, plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • pinch of salt

For the cupcakes:

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup milk, divided
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 and 3/4 cups, plus two tablespoons, cake flour
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 stick, plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  •  1 cup, plus two tablespoon, sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves
  • fresh raspberries, for garnish

Start by making the lemon curd.  In a small saucepan, whisk the eggs with the sugar, lemon juice and zest.  Place the saucepan over a medium flame and whisk constantly until the sauce thickens, but still is pourable, about six minutes.

Transfer to a blender and let cool for five minutes.  Add the butter and salt and blend until smooth, about a minute.  Transfer the cream to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Move on to the cupcakes.  First, preheat an oven to 350°.  Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.  In a small bowl, whisk together the egg whites with two tablespoons of the milk and the vanilla.  Whisk in the remaining milk.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and the baking powder.  In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter, sugar and salt until fluffy.  Reduce the motor speed to low, then add the dry ingredients in two batches, following each addition with half the wet ingredients.  Increase the speed back to medium for a moment, until the batter is just combined.

Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, until each is 4/5 of the way full.  Bake for twenty minutes until golden.  Let cool on a rack for five minutes, then move individual cupcakes to the rack to finish cooling by themselves.

Slice the top off each cupcake, a section about 2/3 of the cupcake’s diameter. (*2)  Spread with about a tablespoon of the raspberry preserves, then replace the “lid.”  Pour a little of the lemon curd over each cupcake, until the seam is covered.  This way, nobody sees what we just did, right?  Garnish with fresh raspberries and serve.

NOTES:

1 – For the zest and juice, I’d suggest using Meyer lemons, as their mild taste profile still retains its lemony vigor, yet is delightful.

2 – Instead, I cut a “cone” into the top of each cupcake, going to a diameter and depth of about half the cupcake.  This way, the preserves lace the cupcake much more deeply and fully and it’s not all “lost” in the first bite or two.

50 thoughts on “Hidden Raspberries

  1. wow Keith you have excelled yourself! They look and sound mouth watering delicious … a couple of dozen please? YUM

    They will keep in the freezer, oops I dont have one … well just a couple will do for the taste test thanks 🙂 Fresh fruit in the season is always the best but nowadays we do have access to most things in the frozen or tinned form so this could be an all year round treat 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Much appreciated, Kate! The lemon curd has a mellow sweetness that sets the glittering raspberries amidst velvet.

      Certainly, I prefer using fresh fruit and veg when they’re available, but when they’re not, frozen offers a surprisingly worthy alternative. Perhaps more so than my inner food snob is willing to admit. After all, the food companies have equipment that flash-freezes greens and such, thus preserving much of their excellence.

      Our home-based freezers take forever to do the job, doing damage to the plants’ structures, robbing them of some of their vitality. Fresh is best, but amidst winter’s scarcity, when all but citrus have abandoned us, a surprisingly good option is the supermarket freezer case.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I worked in Germany a while and the family had a cellar that kept oranges and apples right thru a heavy winter … probably wine too but as I don’t drink I really can’t remember 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah, the cellar! Humanity’s storage miracle before we invented refrigerators. Refreshingly cool in the summer, and beyond frost’s reach come winter. As you witnessed, used intelligently, it can keep fruits and veg (some of them at least) good until new seedlings grow to replace them in the spring.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Nor is the bounty limited to the continent. About a year ago I ordered some finger limes from Oz, courtesy of Melissa’s (a purveyor of “exotic” fruits here in the States). Quite impressive. Yes, positively so.

        It doesn’t hurt, too that you’re large subtropical, ranging at times to full-on jungle. Here, some of our most productive croplands are in the Great Plains, which burst with all manner of life in the summers, but which retreat to forty below months later. That’s -40 (C) or (F,) the one temperature that’s the same in both systems. Awfully cold, no matter how you look t it.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. our desert drops to minus 5-10 for two months of the year and that’s cold enough for me … I didn’t mind the 45 degrees each day!
        FInger limes are yum

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Scurvy is in the past? I suppose I never really thought about it before. Evidence, I suppose, of its obsolescence.

        Even so, better keep up on those limes, because you never can be too careful. Captain’s orders, and all.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. lol you would be hard put to stop me!

        They were always a favourite but after my double mastectomy one health freak friend recommended as much citrus and sweet potato as I could. Don’t need much encouragement, but limes are my favourite citrus 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! By the way, I appreciate that you commented on my recent posts. Unfortunately, I had a tech issue that required rewinding my site and it appears I lost some of them 😦

        At least the rewind fixed the issue. It was a bit frustrating as a fix though!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. More than “a bit frustrating,” I’d wager, Summer. The posts are lost, obviously, and you can’t reissue them at some point? Better, then, not to ponder too deeply what I’ve missed.

        While your blog offers something uniquely worthy, I fear its travails may not be unique. Of how many other internet friends do I think, “He hasn’t posted in a while,” or, “She never even “Liked” my comment. Did it go over that poorly?” True, perhaps, in some cases, but how much else have the internet gremlins hidden from view?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Speaking of my frustrations, I had a similar issue again this afternoon! I have not tossed my laptop out of the window just yet, but it is requiring a lot of patience at this point not to do so. lol

        My site backs itself up daily so I never lose whole posts or more than 24 hours but it is certainly an annoyance to lose a few hours every so often.

        By the way, I’m rethinking the whipped cream dispenser now. I think you are right, it’s not like I am going to be spraying it on turkey sandwiches or salads or whatever I usually eat. 😂 (Yup, my site ate your comment again. Sigh.)

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Definitely something odd, Summer, about the way my PC and your site interact.

        Aside, even, from getting stuck in oatmeal (and later, at times, on summer rolls), the site doesn’t seem to acknowledge my comments. Specifically, I’ll respond, only have the site report there are “0 comments.” Just when I despair my reply didn’t take, opening the article again reveals my comment and, often, other peoples’ too. The main page, though, still shows, “0 comments.”

        Finally, it’s been a while since WordPress told me about you responding to any of my comments, either. Used to inform me all the time, but now there’s been nothing since April.

        All the above isn’t meant to worry you, Summer, but rather, it is intended to show how just much I enjoy your site. Even all of THIS won’t keep me away. If the site requires convolutions, convolutions it shall have.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I know it is frustrating and you deserve a big thank you for your perserverence! I noticed the zero comments as well. Also, I could see that the homepage stopped updating at some point but I was only able to see the freeze from an incognito window.

        So today I went through and pretty ruthlessly deactivated all of the caching apps and plugins associated with my site. It looks like I can see your comments on my newest post, and I can see the updates to the homepage in incognito. I *think* I may have fixed things. Everything looks good from my son’s computer. Hopefully it has updated for you too.

        The downside of the change is that the site may load a little slower. I’m thinking a slower site is better than one that isn’t updating and functioning properly, so I guess that is the trade-off for now. I’ve learned through these experiences that having as few plug-ins as possible is the way to go. Plug-ins are not my friends. lol

        Liked by 1 person

      6. No, Summer, thank you for your patience, both in walking me through the processes, and for your overall indulgence of my seeming lack of reciprocity. The whole Oatmeal Ice Age lasted, what, a couple weeks? In that time, you were wonderfully generous in commenting here, yet I just ignored your site. Or so it seemed at the time.

        Did I not like your journal, all of the sudden? Or, worse yet, didn’t I care anymore? OK fine, Keith, to h*** with you…

        Oh, if your blog is “slower” now, I haven’t noticed. Remember, Summer, I actually can remember, from my childhood, dial-up. Want to view two paragraphs? Set the modem a-screeching, and seventeen hours later, there they be! Though you can forget about any sort of graphics to accompany. Let alone photos.

        To my twelve-year-old self, all of this would be quick beyond belief. Magic, actually. Poof of smoke, then Summer’s new entry. Ta-Da!

        Like

  2. I don’t even have much of a sweet tooth, but you had me at soft vanilla cake, silky lemon curd, and summer’s splendid archetype, the raspberry. Speaking of splendid, you sweet talked me right into this one, Keith.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Crystal! Quite a sales pitch, huh? So that’s what the diner waitress meant when she called me “Sugar.”

      Really, though, these things just sell themselves. Creaminess, tartness, even a fleeting glimpse of the savory. Yes, so much more to it than mere sweetness. The unrelieved sugar may have thrilled us when we were five, but our appreciations have grown since then, no?

      Like

      1. My, Crystal, these cupcakes got you all wound up, didn’t they? I think we’re going to have to pull the Saran Wrap back over them until you finish your dinner. Now eat your crab cakes and asparagus.

        Like

  3. That’s hitting below the belt. Since I’m not wearing a belt, you just knocked me off my feet, instead. I can’t resist sweets, especially those that look, and read, as scrumptious, as these. Sweet also get my mind refocused, away from Hannibal Lecter’s meat dishes. Watching the Hannibal series almost created a vegan, out of me. Ugh! I could definitely go for one of these muffins, right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s why you never will see fava beans or chianti on these pages, Tamara. Rest assured.

      Seriously. One dish just on the other side of the mist calls for fava beans. Huh-uh. I’ll substitute something else here.

      In the meantime, have a cupcake or two. Raspberries make you smarter, you know. Or so I’ve heard.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha, good to hear. Yes, I’m already on my second cupcake, and getting smarter, by the minute; others might refute this, but that’s just because they’re not eating enough raspberries. 😘

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Certainly, Tamara!

        The summer I wax twelve we had an exuberance of wild raspberries in the corner of our property. That season, I had to have eaten my weight in them. Lo these many years later, they led to this recipe, and to others like it, in those days yet to be. If that doesn’t testify to the power of berries, what does?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. They were, thanks so much, JoAnn!

      Of the original batch, many were gifted, and some went into the freezer. Not as good as fresh from the oven, of course, but still., they’ll be a welcome reminder, come November-time, of warm-weather extravagance!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So true, Deeksha, though positivity comes in handy at just about any time, don’t you think?

        Bake up a batch of vanilla-raspberry cupcakes now, and when the crisis passes. Bet they still will put a smile on your face then.

        See, told you!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course, my blabbing told the whole world (or at least the .0000001% of it present here) about the secret well of raspberry lusciousness awaiting discovery. Imagine the pleasant surprise that came to the friends and family who tried the cupcakes before reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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