I looooooo-ooooove the color pink. I love it even more than trashy TV, and I love some good trashy TV. (No, that is not an oxymoron.) Not too long ago while while watching the home of trashy TV, TLC, I discovered a new trashy program to love: “My Crazy Obsession.” Basically, it’s a show that exploits people with bizarre “obsessions” in order to turn a cheap buck, all while making you feel like less of a weirdo for your own crazy collection of collectible plates or wooden spoons or old dictionaries. I mean what? Who would ever collect old dictionaries?!
So anyhoo, one episode of “My Crazy Obsession” followed a woman who literally is obsessed with the color pink. Everything she wears is pink, everything in her house is pink, her dog is pink, she even rides around in a pink car. Some people call it an obsession, I just call it good fashion sense that I can’t partake because of that whole “being a professional” thing. At any rate, it inspired me to make an all-pink cupcake.
Oh my gawd, you’re probably saying, she made another !$!#$%$% cupcake. Yes, but this cupcake tops all the others I’ve made flavor-wise. I took most of them into work, and apparently they were so good that they inspired one coworker to tell me that if I decided to run away from the professional world and start my own cup cakery, I’d have a loyal following. Now that’s high praise. And the cupcake is completely pink! You can’t go wrong there.
So here it is: my best cupcake to date, an almond cupcake filled with raspberry preserves and frosted with raspberry champagne buttercream frosting. Excuse me, a pink almond cupcake filled with raspberry preserves and frosted with raspberry champagne buttercream frosting. The pink is optional. Well, not for me. Pink is a necessity for me.
Almond Cupcakes with Raspberry Preserve Filling
- 1 3/4 cups sour cream (I use reduced fat), at room temperature
- 1/2 pound or two sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup roasted, unsalted almonds, ground (a little more than 2/3 cup whole almonds)
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Several drops red food coloring (optional)
Mix together 1 cup of the sour cream and the butter using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer at low to medium-low speed. Make sure the butter and sour cream are at room temperature, or the butter will clump up when mixed with the sour cream. After the butter and sour cream are blended, switch to the whisk attachment and whisk at medium-low to medium speed for 2 or 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, pulse the whole almonds in a food processor until they are well ground. Measure 2/3 cup of the ground almonds for the cupcakes (or, if you’re like me and you love almond flavor, you can use a little more than 2/3 cup ground). Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in another bowl. Stir in the sugar and ground almonds.
After the sour cream and butter is well mixed and whisked, switch back to the paddle attachment and add approximately 1/3 of the dry ingredients at a time to the creamed sour cream and butter mixture, mixing well after each addition. In another bowl, mix together the eggs, the remaining 3/4 cup of sour cream, and the almond and vanilla extract. (If you want pink cupcakes, add the red food dye to the egg mixture–you’ll need quite a bit for a nice, light pink.) Add the egg mixture to the batter one third at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Insert liners into two 12-cupcake tins. Fill each liner three-quarters full. Bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan.
When the cupcakes have cooled, core the center of each cupcake with either a cupcake corer or a teaspoon. Fill each cored center with raspberry preserves. (I prefer preserves to jam or jelly because they are thicker, have a more complicated flavor profile, and less sugar…it’s easy to overdue the sugar in a cupcake!) Now you’re ready for frosting!
Raspberry Champagne Buttercream Frosting
- 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3-5 tbsp champagne
- 4 1/2 – 6 cups powdered sugar
- 2-3 tbsp raspberry preserves
Using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, beat the shortening and butter together until well combined; the mixture should be satiny smooth. Add 3 tbsp of the champagne. Add 4 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar approximately one cup at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Add the raspberry preserves to taste, and more powdered sugar and champagne if necessary to reach the desired consistency/taste. (I ended up using about 5 tbsp of champagne and 5 1/2 cups of powdered sugar.) Slap your favorite decorating tip onto an icing bag, frost away, and prepare to enjoy the most delicious cupcake ever!