The A to Z of Baking: R is for Raspberry Rainbow Cupcakes

My first attempt at the R of the baking challenge was a Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie that I intended to cut up into cute little pieces and serve at our very belated housewarming party a few weeks ago. I baked the cheesecake and brownie layer and all was going swimmingly until I tried to make the raspberry topping. It called for whipping cream and I didn’t know you could buy pots of whipping cream, so I just bought a tin of squirty cream and squirted it all out into the bowl. I think it was too wet so the topping didn’t set and the end result looked even more sloppy and shambolic than my Fondant Fancy Fail. I decided I definitely wouldn’t be displaying that monstrosity on the blog but ever the one to try not to waste food, I did still serve the little pieces of disaster at the party, apologising profusely to anyone who looked in the direction of the cakes. Needless to say, most of the pieces didn’t get eaten and the ones that did go were used as ammunition in a food fight that broke out amongst a couple of friends. Probably the best use for the little buggers.

So, I decided to attempt R again last weekend but instead of going for rainbow cake like I had half decided I would mix things up a little and go for rainbow cupcakes, after being inspired by some neon rainbow frosting in a YouTube video.

To make these cakes, I used a combination of two trusty Hummingbird Bakery recipes for the sponge and the frosting, and added in raspberry flavouring and a combination of food colouring pastes.

High points

The cupcakes look fun and it wasn’t as tricky to line a piping bag with three stripes of colour as I thought it would be.

Low points

The colours in the rainbow frosting just weren’t as vibrant as I hoped they would be! Maybe I need some different tones next time as mine appeared more pastel-like. Anyone have any recommendations for vibrant coloured pastes or gels?

For the cupcakes:

  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 240g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 240ml whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 large eggs
  • A dash of raspberry flavouring (I bought mine from Asda)
  • A small amount of bright pink food colouring gel or paste (I used Dr Oetker Fuschia gel)

For the vanilla frosting:

  • 250g icing sugar
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 25ml whole milk
  • A couple of drops of vanilla extract
  • A small amount of bright pink, bright yellow and bright blue food colouring paste (I used Dr Oetker Fuschia gel, Sugarflair Sky Blue paste and Sugarflair Daffodil Yellow paste)

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 190C (375F), gas mark 5 and line a muffin tray with muffin cases.
  • Beat together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on a slow speed until the ingredients are well mixed and resemble fine breadcrumbs.
  • In a jug whisk together the milk, vanilla essence and eggs by hand, then pour three-quarters of this into the dry ingredients, while mixing on a slow speed, and beat together, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are well incorporated. Add the remaining milk mixture and a little bit of pink food colouring paste (using the end of a cocktail stick to transfer the paste into the mixture) and beat again, on a medium speed, until the batter is smooth.
  • Divide the batter between the muffin cases, filling each one two-thirds full. Bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes or until the sponges bounce back when lightly pressed. Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin and placing on a wire rack to cool down fully.
  • To make the frosting, beat the icing sugar and butter together until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of spoonfuls at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.
  • Divide your frosting evenly between three bowls and then use a small amount of food colouring paste or gel on the end of a cocktail stick to place into your bowls, mixing until your colours look evenly mixed.

20160228_192600

  • Get a disposable piping bag with a standard star nozzle and carefully place the contents of one of your bowls down one side of the bag, making sure to try and get the frosting as close to the nozzle as you can. Repeat this on the other side of your piping bag with one of your other colours from another bowl and then place the final colour down the third section of the bag. It doesn’t matter if the colours begin to merge a little bit.

20160228_193654

  • Try a test pipe of your frosting on a plate until the frosting comes out with the full three colours displaying – now you’re good to go and frost your cakes, starting in the middle of each cupcake with your frosting and swirling it around to cover the top of the cupcake.

Have you tried making this creation? If so, let me know how you got on with it!

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