Tuesday, December 6, 2011

White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes: Version One

While in the final push on Friday to finish up the previously mentioned cakes and cupcakes for my third bride, I received a call from the wedding assistant of Bride No. 2.  She liked the cupcakes I had done for Bride No. 2's wedding and wanted some for her birthday on December 15th.  When I first spoke with her, we agreed on two dozen pumpkin spice cupcakes.  The next time we talked, she asked if I could do white chocolate raspberry cupcakes.  I stammered for a moment because I've never before made white chocolate cake.

Okay, so let's get this out of the way before we go any further:  I know white "chocolate" technically isn't true chocolate, but for the sake of conversation it's easier.  However, when I do say "white chocolate" I mean the confection that's made with cocoa butter, sugar, milk and vanilla, not the sickly sweet "white baking chips" made with ingredients difficult to pronounce. 

That being established, my concern about white chocolate in cake was that it's a much more subtle flavor than it's darker counterparts so it could be a challenge to get the flavor to come through.  Then I had to think about the raspberry - would adding raspberry to the cupcake overpower the white chocolate completely?  You never know until you try.  So I did.  I left most of the cupcakes plain, but experimented with adding raspberry puree to a few of them.  (I hate the fact that "raspberry puree" has Prince's "Raspberry Beret" running through my head.)

Some I swirled in the puree, others just drizzled it on top.
The ones with the drizzle on top look like someone bled on them.
Kinda gross.

The cake recipe I began with is adapted from Cupcakes, a Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication that I found while waiting in the check out line at the grocery store some time ago.  Starting with their yellow cupcake recipe, I reduced the sugar and vanilla and added six ounces of melted white chocolate.  I think if you know there's white chocolate in the cupcakes you'll taste it, but otherwise it may be overlooked.  I'm pretty sure if I replace some of the butter in the recipe with culinary cocoa butter, I'll get the flavor I'm looking for.  If I can find culinary cocoa butter locally, I'll give it a try.  Not holding my breath on that, Plan B is to add chopped white chocolate chunks to the batter in addition to the six ounces of melted white chocolate.

The cupcakes with the raspberry puree weren't as texturally appealing as those without it.  There's a bit of a "raw dough" texture around the puree.  Not so appetizing.  You can see the difference on the inside between the cupcake I tried to swirl in the puree and the one that just had puree on top.  As for the flavor, it didn't really add much but enough to mask the white chocolate.  That's exactly what I thought may happen. 

Since I had plenty of raspberry puree left over, I decided to make raspberry buttercream and leave the cupcakes as the white chocolate component.  At least the buttercream didn't disappointment me.  Both the color and flavor stayed vibrant.  As the cupcakes are now, I still think the raspberry will overpower the white chocolate.  (I haven't tried this combination yet; my palate needs a break from sweet right now.)  But, I also made a litte bit of white chocolate ganache.  I'm thinking of piping a little star of ganache on top to get the white chocolate flavor mixed in with the raspberry flavor. 

In the meantime, I'll distribute these to a few taste testers tomorrow and see what kind of feedback I get.  Hopefully I'm on the right track.

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