Ah, the cupcake–a small cake that everyone, or almost everyone, loves; a treat with enough permutations to fulfill any celebration, culinary Kaffeeklatsch, or cultural event. When I needed to make a dessert with a quintessential Asian ingredient, I immediately thought of ginger cupcakes–the perfect finger dessert for a potluck.
The challenge though was to pack the maximum ginger flavor into a cupcake yet maintain the right balance–not too timid and not too harsh from the burning heat of the fresh ginger. I decided to throw in all three sources of ginger—ground ginger, fresh, and crystallized. Each by itself doesn’t provide enough ginger zing or the right kind of zing to make the cupcake come alive. A ginger collaboration, however, worked miracles.
For our Chinese New Year Potluck, raspberries were generously donated by Driscoll. So naturally, a bright colored Raspberry Frosting made with fresh raspberry puree made a great match for the Ginger Cupcakes. Folks at our potluck certainly enjoyed them—see how well ginger to the third power can work for you.
Triple Ginger Raspberry Cupcakes
make 30 cupcakes
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1-1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup crystalized ginger, finely chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1-3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons lime zest (optional)
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons ginger, freshly grated
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups buttermilk or whole milk
2 pint raspberries, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set baking rack in center location. Line 3 standard 12-cup cupcake pans with 10 cupcake liner in each pan; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, sift flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
3. Coat chopped crystalized ginger with 2 teaspoons of flour mixture, set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until pale in color, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and continue to beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined.
5. Add freshly grated ginger and vanilla until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition. Fold in raspberries and crystalized ginger.
6. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups so that each is about two-thirds full. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on wire racks.
7. Make Raspberry Meringue Buttercream and spread or pipe on top of each cupcake. Garnish with raspberries
Raspberry Meringue Buttercream
makes 5 cups
4 large egg whites
1-1/4 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons raspberry puree, about 1 pint of raspberries
1. In the heatproof bowl, combine egg whites and sugar; set over a saucepan of simmering water,. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch (about 140 degrees).
2. Pour egg-white mixture into mixing bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the mixture on high speed until it holds stiff peaks, fluffy and cooled, about 4-6 minutes.
3. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low speed, add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears to separate after all the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.) On lowest speed, add vanilla and raspberry puree, beat until frosting is smooth, about 2 minutes.