Vanilla Cupcakes with Rose Pink Pomegranate Buttercream

Vanilla Cupcakes with Rose Pink Pomegranate Buttercream

  Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means it’s the perfect time to bake something pink and adorn it with pretty flowers! So, I broke out my seldom used muffin tin and put my rusty cupcake frosting skills to work and made these vanilla cupcakes with rose pink pomegranate buttercream. It’s been quite some time since I last made cupcakes or just a plain, yellow cake for that matter. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever come up with a yellow vanilla cake for the blog, so this is probably a first. After two failures and thirty cornbread (they literally looked like cornbread, thanks, chickens!) cupcakes later, I finally got my ratios right. The outcome was a soft, moist, and not too custardy-tasting cupcake. The frosting came out smooth, and not too sweet; with a pleasant tang and rosy pink hue from the pomegranate juice. I was originally going to use a fresh pomegranate but found it was much easier to use the bottled juice instead. 

  Then came the recollection of why I don’t like making cupcakes in the first place: frosting cupcakes. You would think it easy compared to a layer cake, but damn it’s difficult to get these things looking good! Seriously though, it’s an art and it takes lots of practice. Out of twelve cupcakes, I was only able to frost five. FIVE. The rest I may or may not have stabbed with the frosting spatula and angrily ate. In the end, it was nothing a few mini-roses and baby’s breath couldn’t fix. Overall, I’m quite happy with how these cupcakes turned out, even if it was just five that made the cut.


Vanilla Cupcakes with Rose Pink Pomegranate Buttercream

  ingredients: makes about 15 cupcakes

180 grams (1 1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour

64 grams (1/2 cup) cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

226 grams (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

196 grams (1 cup) sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

1 large egg, room temp. 

3 large egg whites, room temp.

107 grams (1/2 cup) coconut milk (preferably the brand ‘So Delicious Dairy Free Original Coconut Milk’), room temp.

  frosting:

339 grams (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temp.

3 cups powdered sugar

2/3 cups pomegranate juice, room temp.

2 tablespoons coconut milk, room temp.

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt (use more if needed)


  method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F / 177° C. Prepare a muffin tin with paper baking cups.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract on high speed until pale and fluffy; about 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl half-way through. Add the whole egg and beat on low until combined. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg whites. Beat on low until combined. With the mixer still on low, add half the flour and half the coconut milk to the creamed mixture; once just combined, add the remaining 1/2 of the flour and milk. Beat until the flour is just incorporated(don’t over mix!). Using an ice cream scoop, spoon the batter into the baking cups, filling them half-way full. Use a spoon to spread them around until they’re even in the cups. Bake 17-19 minutes, checking for doneness at the 17-minute mark. If not done, bake for two more minutes. Immediately remove the cupcakes (carefully) from the muffin tin and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely. 
  3. Meanwhile, beat together the butter, powdered sugar, and salt until smooth. Scrape down the bowl and add the vanilla, coconut milk, and pomegranate juice. Beat on high speed for 4-5 minutes until voluminous, smooth, and light. Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, frost then decorate with fresh flowers if desired.

SPICED APPLE CUPCAKES WITH WHIPPED CHOCOLATE BOURBON GANACHE

  Ah, September, you came so quickly.  Where did summer go?  I find myself asking this almost every year.  Summer passes by quite swiftly as you grow older.  As a child, I felt as if summer would go on forever(in a good way), even after I moved away from a state where words such as “Fall” and “Winter” were practically non-existent and so were the seasons that matched them.  My favorite seasons have always been spring and summer.  I don’t mind autumn, except when it becomes winter.  This year is different, though; I’m taking the change of seasons quite nicely and actually looking forward to autumn.  At the same time, I can’t help but be a little heartbroken that summer has to end as well.  

  Though the month of September has just begun, I have already felt a change in the air and surroundings.  Most the trees and grass have faded into a different color green over August; they’ve lost their bright euphoria and are on the verge of putting on their autumnal display.  Just today I was able to open all the windows in the house as the weather was beautiful.  As I was standing looking out the kitchen door, a cool breeze swept through the house and outside displayed a shower of yellow leaves falling, like gold, from the black walnut trees surrounding our home.  Here in Northern Virginia, the walnut trees are the last to put on their summer foliage and the first to lose them once late August and September comes around.  It got me giddy about all things fall-ish I will say.

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  I was so sad that I never made it to a peach orchard this year, then on the first of September, I stumbled across an orchard just South of me and about an hour’s drive away.  They had just announced that their gala apples were coming in nicely and were ready for picking, so I took the day off and went apple picking.  Though peaches are almost out of season here, there were still quite a few trees chalked with the delicious fruit.  Of course, I couldn’t leave without picking a few as there’s nothing like a peach straight from the tree.  Just from being there I had recipe ideas pouring out of each side of my brain, so you may be seeing more from my trip to the orchard next week!   

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  Now, let me talk a little about these cupcakes.  They’re a bit addictive!  I could eat them sans frosting because they’re just as good.  The addition of fresh applesauce made them really moist and tender and they pull away from the paper nicely as well.  My favorite part is the top of the cupcake, of course.  It’s chocolate ganache with bourbon, then whipped for a few short minutes with some cocoa powder.  As you’ll see in other places on my blog, I like to use bourbon when chocolate is involved.  That and rum(which you may be seeing soon in another recipe!) are two of my favorite alcohols to bake with.  The ganache piped exceptionally well, you just have to be careful not to have them somewhere hot and rather humid as it will start to soften and may even melt.  

  Can you believe this was my first time ever piping frosting onto a cupcake?  Out of sixteen, just these three made my photo-worthy list.  It really is harder  than it looks, depending on the style you want.  

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*Please read through the instruction and ingredients list thoroughly before you commence baking.  I recommend beginning with the ganache first to give it time to stiffen, which can take close to two hours sometimes; then the applesauce, and lastly the cupcakes.

SPICED APPLE CUPCAKES WITH WHIPPED CHOCOLATE BOURBON GANACHE

Makes 16 normal sized cupcakes

cupcakes:

95 grams unsalted butter, room temperature

185 grams granulated sugar

3 fresh eggs, room temperature

112 mL milk, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla

200 grams all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup fresh applesauce, room temperature (recipe below)

applesauce:

3 small to medium sized apples ( I used gala)

1 large cinnamon stick

1/4 cup water

whipped chocolate bourbon ganache:

16 ounces heavy cream

14 ounces bittersweet chocolate

3 tablespoons of good bourbon

pinch of salt

METHOD

for the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.  Prepare two muffin/cupcake tins by adding sixteen paper baking cups.

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon.  Set aside.
  2. In an electric mixer with beaters attached, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the vanilla, half of the milk, and half of the flour.  Beat on medium speed till just combined, the beat in the remaining halves of milk and flour.  Gently stir in the applesauce with a spatula.  Spoon the batter into prepared muffin/cupcake tin(s) until 2/3 of the way full.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.  Check for doneness at 18 minutes with a toothpick, if it comes out clean it’s done; if not clean, bake two more minutes.  Once done, cool in pans for five minutes, then gently transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.

for the applesauce:

  1. Peel, core, and cut apples into quarters.  Add to a medium-sized saucepan along with the cinnamon stick and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low; cover and cook apples for 10 minutes until tender.  Once done, drain juices and then mash the apples till slightly chunky.  Spread out onto a plate and bring to room temperature (or put in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes for a quick cool).  Make the applesauce before cupcakes

for the whipped ganache:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil over medium-high heat.  Meanwhile, chop the bittersweet chocolate into fine chunks and add to a large heatproof bowl.  Once the cream has reached boiling, pour over the chopped chocolate.  Let it sit 10 minutes, then stir till smooth.  Stir in the bourbon and pinch of salt.  Refrigerate until it has become thick(like a paste), but not completely hard.  Before whipping, I added about a tablespoon of cocoa powder for stability.  Using an electric hand beater, beat the ganache and cocoa powder till it becomes thick enough to pipe onto the cupcakes, about a minute or so.  Pipe the ganache onto cooled cupcakes and decorate with flaky sea salt (optional).