Saturday, July 27, 2013

Lemon Baby Cakes with Fresh Raspberry Buttercream

The day my two friends came over for dinner, I asked them what their favorite types of desserts are.  I got answers that included lemon and berries - which just sounded so summer and perfect that I decided to put them together.  A quick Google search brought me to lemon baby cakes with fresh raspberry buttercream.  Baby cakes are basically mini cupcakes, but how much more adorable do they sound when you call them baby cakes?  

The cake itself is lemon-flavored thanks to a whopping 5 tablespoons of lemon juice, not to mention 2 more of lemon zest.  Each little cake is also housing a little surprise: one whole fresh raspberry that's been baked inside!

The most amazing part of the cupcakes - and the cake itself is pretty spectacular - is the frosting.  This isn't your average buttercream.  And, thus, it's a bit more in depth, but still totally doable!  Basically you have to cook down some frozen raspberries until it has made a sauce, and then you use cheesecloth (cheesecloth! so exciting!) and a strainer to strain out all the seeds (I know some people - Alex for example - who hate berries because of all the seeds, so this frosting was basically made for him).  Once you strain the juice, you cook it down a bit more, and use that in the buttercream frosting.  It not only gives the frosting a very raspberry-y flavor, it also dyes it the most beautiful shade of dark pink.  Natural food coloring, people!

The recipe ended up making a whopping 75 mini cupcakes, although the recipe said it would make 50. I think maybe my mini cupcake pan is extra small?  So they did take me a while, since I have only one pan I had to rotate, not to mention the rather in-depth creation of the frosting.  However, I think everyone who tasted a baby cake would agree that they were worth it.  Besides being adorable, they are delicious: a perfect blend of summery lemon cake and bright, berry-flavored frosting.  Pretty and tasty, and with an adorable name: what's not to love?


lemon baby cakes with fresh raspberry buttercream
from A Farm Girl Dabbles
yield: 50 -75 mini cupcakes, depending on the size of your pan!


for the lemon baby cakes:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2  1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2  1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
1  1/2 cups buttermilk
about 50 fresh raspberries

for the fresh raspberry buttercream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
12 oz. raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3  1/2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of kosher salt
1 to 2 tablespoons milk, if needed to thin out the frosting


1) Preheat oven to 350°.

2) Make cupcakes: Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat to blend. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then the lemon juice, lemon peel, and food coloring. Batter may look curdled, but that's just fine. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, in 3 additions. Place about 1 tablespoon of batter into bottom of each cupcake hole. Place 1 fresh raspberry on top of the batter, in the center. Cover raspberry with more batter, about 3/4 full. Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan. Cool completely before adding frosting.
3) Make frosting: Cook the raspberries in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until the raspberries are broken down into a sauce. Set up a fine mesh strainer lined with 2 layers of cheese cloth. Pour the raspberry sauce over the cheese cloth to remove the seeds. Gather up the ends of the cheese cloth and gently press out all the raspberry juice. Pour the raspberry juice back in the pot. Simmer until the juice reduces to a 1/4 cup. It will be a very rich red and concentrated sauce. Set aside to cool completely.
4) With a mixer, cream the butter with a paddle attachment on medium high speed about 2 minutes, until lightened in color and a bit fluffy. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, the 1/4 cup of cooled raspberry sauce, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Mix until smooth. Add another 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth. If you want the frosting less stiff, add some milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. 
5) Fit a pastry bag with a medium star tip and pipe the frosting onto your baby cakes (or use a knife like we did!)

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