I don’t like sappy romantic comedies. I’m not into greeting cards. I don’t want a heart-shaped box of chocolates. I think giving someone red roses on Valentine’s Day is a cop-out (I’ll take peonies or tulips, thanks). The fact that they’re bringing Titanic back in 3-D makes me want to injure several people.
But I do like Valentine’s Day. Kinda.
I guess what I really like is an old-fashioned kids version of Valentine’s Day. The version where everyone wears pink and/or red, you make cute mailboxes and valentines out of construction paper and cheap candy, and everyone has to be nice to everyone — even the weird kid. Everyone gets a valentine. And there are lots of hearts and baked goods.
So for the next few days, I’m going to be posting a lot of Valentine’s Day-inspired desserts. This is the first one, and it actually isn’t super sweet or overly cutesy. It doesn’t require any food coloring, which is kinda cool. And it doesn’t involve chocolate.
What it does involve is gorgeous raspberry puree and the juice of two beautiful blood oranges.
The fruit and juice will make the cupcakes and frosting pretty, but if you want to really amp them up, try adding some red and/or purple food coloring. That could be really cool.
Now, no one will blame you if you bake up a batch of red velvet cupcakes and throw some hearts on top. But if you’re looking for something different, give these a try. I promise they’re better than a heart-shaped box of cheap chocolates.
Raspberry cupcakes (Makes 2 dozen cupcakes)
10-ounce bag frozen raspberries
1 1/4 stick (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups sugar (depending on how sweet the raspberries are)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
Thaw frozen raspberries overnight in the fridge (or set out on the counter for about 30 minutes). Puree the thawed (or partially thawed) raspberries in a blender.
Preheat the oven to 350 and fill the cups of a cupcake pan with paper liners.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth, then continue beating while gradually adding the sugar. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition, then add the vanilla extract and raspberry puree and mix well. (If you’re using food coloring, add it now)
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into the raspberry mixture (by hand) in three additions, alternating with the milk. Stir just until combined.
Fill each of the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way with the batter, then bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.
Allow to cool before frosting.
Blood orange buttercream
1-2 blood oranges
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1-2 pounds powdered sugar
Squeeze blood oranges (either use a juicer or strain the juice to remove pulp and seeds) until you have 1/2 cup juice. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat well. Add 1/4 cup of the juice and mix well.
Continue adding powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition, until mixture is thick. Add additional juice, if desired, and additional powdered sugar if necessary until frosting is desired consistency.