The cupcake craze of the nineties is long over and replaced with macarons, naked cakes, and the like. However, once in a while, it is perfectly harmless to enjoy a dainty colorful cupcake with good friends over a good pot of mint tea. These gorgeous cupcakes are completely natural, where the vivid frosting color comes from freeze dried raspberries. The cupcake itself is pistachio.
I adapted the recipe, which originally called for a meager three-quarter cup of pistachio. It was sort of bland and you can't taste the nuts. I upped to 2 cups, and might even consider 3 cups the next time I make this. I also used freeze dried raspberries because I like their tang, but freeze dried strawberries will yield a sweeter frosting and a dreamier paler pink.
Ingredients: makes 24 cupcakes
2 cups unsalted shelled pistachios
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cornflour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup sour cream at room temperature
1/2 cup milk at room temperature
optional: 1 tiny drop green food coloring
1 cup freeze-dried raspberries
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
Pulse the pistachios in a food processor until coarsely ground. Make the cupcakes: Whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pistachio crumbs together.
Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy - about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together, scraping as needed. Add the egg whites, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat on medium-high speed until combined, then beat in the sour cream, scraping again as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the milk until combined. Do not over-mix. The batter will be slightly thick.
Pour/spoon the batter into the liners - fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting: Using a blender or food processor, process the freeze-dried raspberries into a powdery crumb. You should have around 1/2 cup. In a large bowl using a mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, raspberry powder, cream, and vanilla. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Taste. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
Frost cooled cupcakes and decorate with fresh raspberries.
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