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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Ricotta Raspberry Almond Cupcakes with Citrus Meringue Frosting

I made these ricotta raspberry almond cupcakes for "ladies night". My aunt was having a bunch of overnight guests and I wanted to make an adult-tasting dessert that matched the Italianesque meal of roasted chicken. I also wanted the cupcakes to be fun, as I knew we wouldn't be digging into them until after many martinis.

The cupcakes were what I hoped. Moist, sweet, and subtle almond flavor, balanced with the tartness of the raspberry. The ricotta gave it moistness and heartiness that I liked. The addition of the burnt butter almonds lended a crunchy texture, but I would say that they are definitely optional. The meringue frosting had a touch of citrus and was fairly sweet. At the end of it, many of us ended up with sticky pink frosting clinging to our faces.

~18 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

7 ounces almond paste (not marzipan)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 stick butter, unsalted/room temp
4 eggs, large/room temp
2/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup raspberries

1. beat almond paste at low speed to loosen up, about 30 seconds
2. gradually add sugar while beating at low speed
3. continue to beat at low speed for 1 minute or so
4. add the ricotta and beat to combine
5. while beating at low speed, add a tablespoon of butter at a time, waiting for the butter to incorporate until adding the next pat
6. stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, beat at medium for about 2 minutes until fluffy
7. crack eggs into a bowl and break up with a fork
8. at low speed gradually add eggs about a tablespoon at a time, waiting for the eggs to incorporate until adding the next bit
9. beat again at medium speed for about 2 minutes
10. measure out flour, salt, and baking powder into a bowl and whisk to combine
11. with a rubber spatula, fold flour mixture into the cake batter until combined
12. fold in raspberries
13. scoop batter into cupcake liners, fill about 1/2 inch from the top (3/4 full)
14. bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean

[optional] Burnt Butter Almonds

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 cup almond slices

1. toast almond slices on a cookie sheet in a 350 degrees oven for about 10 minutes or until brown, stir almonds around occasionally, remove from oven and let cool
2. add butter to a skillet over medium heat
3. melt butter, let foam subside
4. add brown sugar and stir to combine
5. let mixture cook for about 3-5 minutes, it should be thick and sticky looking
6. add toasted almond slices and stir to coat

Citrus Meringue Frosting

1 cup egg whites (from approximately 7-8 eggs)
2 cups sugar
3 drops orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest, finely chopped

1. combine egg whites and sugar into the mixing bowl of your stand mixer and set over a bain marie (water bath)
2. whisk by hand for a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved or preferably until the mixture reaches 110 degrees fahrenheit
3. transfer bowl to electric mixer, beat on medium speed for 10 minutes
4. add orange juice, zest, and a drop of red gel food coloring
5. beat on high speed until stiff glossy peaks form, about 2 to 5 minutes more

1. spoon some almonds onto each cooled cupcake
2. dollop a heaping tablespoon of meringue on top of that
3. using your finger pull the meringue down to cover the top of the cupcake, the frosting is very sticky and you want it to basically attach itself to the cupcake liner
4. using your finger poke the top of frosting to make a nice shape and some interesting peaks
5. using a blow torch, brown the meringue.

If I was feeling especially ambitious, which I wasn't because I was out all day and got home kind of late, I would have made homemade almond paste and homemade ricotta cheese. I would expect that substituting homemade ingredients would provide a more delicate outcome.


Blogger Chan said...

Those cupcakes are so beautiful! I love your photography! Very beautiful site!! Cheers to you!

9/12/2005 3:39 AM  
Blogger Chloe said...

How cute are those... I love the photography too... BEAUTIFUL! :)

I love almond tasting desserts... YUMMY!

9/12/2005 6:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

those photos came out nice. where ever did you get the great idea of making almond cupcakes?

9/12/2005 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your cup cakes look fantastic! I also like the ice cream cone cup cakes from the post below...I'v got to try that :) You've got such a charming blog!

9/14/2005 7:29 AM  
Blogger Shauna said...

Wow! Those look so festive. I can't stop reading your site, even thought I can't eat gluten or the photos. No matter--it's just fun to watch your passion on these pages.

9/15/2005 6:16 PM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Thanks for the compliments!

Hay PuppyChulo - actually, my husband was talking about some burnt butter almond thing his grandmother used to make. That was my initial inspiration, that and italian ricotta cake.

Shauna - That is the irony of all this, isn't it... we can't share each others creations! I am always inspired by your blog however. And I guess that's the real point.

9/15/2005 6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chockylit--Can't imagine how wonderful these must have tasted...almonds and ricotta and raspberries...oh my. Yes!

11/12/2005 4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Chockylit - I fell in love with your beautiful cupcakes, such a wonderful site! Your pictures are really gorgeous too. I'm sure you've been asked this before, but where do you get those lovely paper moulds? I bet I can't get them here in the UK... Keep up the great work.

2/19/2006 6:11 AM  

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