And so, when man friend decided to upgrade his stationary bike trainer, I proffered pake as a bribe so I, too, could start my long road to cycling geekdom. Or rather, he told me his bribe of choice was pake. But I was thwarted by the limitations of my current baking pans. I had a large pie pan but no cake pan. What to do? I eyed my mini-muffin tin and regular muffin tins with interest, recalling a link my friend had sent me of a a mini-pie baked into a cupcake. The large bags of purple raspberries I had picked last summer were just waiting for a purpose.
And... so.... drumroll please... best... idea... ever... the Purple Raspberry Dark Chocolate Cup-Pake with Raspberry Buttercream Frosting was born.
I spent an inordinate amount of time researching recipes, and then ended up throwing all caution to the wind and modifying them based on what I had on hand at the time, and barely measuring anything. For the crust, I decided specifically not to use the perfect flaky buttery crust recipe I had discovered before because its (a) time consuming, and (b) time consuming. So decided to cut together the following:
- handful of powdered pecans (basically, throw 'em in the blender and pulverize into dust)
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 stick of chilled regular butter
- some half-and-half and a couple splashes of cold seltzer water (mostly because that was what I was drinking at the time)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- a dash of cinnamon
The filling was super easy and its delicousness will depend on the quality of the berries you are using. Luckily, my penchant for delicious raspberries means I go raspberry picking several times when they are in season at a local farm. And so I took a package of beautiful frozen purple raspberries (approximately 2 cups), drained off about 1 tablespoon of the dark rich juices to add to the frosting, and then mixed it with 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of pulverized tapioca pearls and two tablespoons of corn starch. That's it. Easy. Delicious. Easy. Did I say it was easy? I baked the pies at 400F for about 10 minutes and then reduced the temperature to 350F for about 20 minutes. I feel like I could have pulled the pies out earlier, but I was concerned that the filling wouldn't set. All in all, they look and taste pretty good, I let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then popped 'em out to cool on a rack.
I decided that I wanted to do the cupcake batter from scratch and have a dense dark chocolate blanket for my muffins. I think the combination of dark chocolate... not too sweet... with a sweet buttercream frosting is the best. Everything is about balance. The recipe was easy enough and I mixed together all the dry ingredients first and then slowly added the wet ingredients:
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Giardhelli)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup regular butter, softened
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 1/2 cups sugar in the raw
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup half-and-half
- 1/2 cup seltzer water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Anyway, pop these bad boys in the oven for about 12 or 13 minutes at 375F. Let cool just long enough that you can pop them out without burning your hands. Of course, I had to test one to make sure there was proper cup-pake action going on. Besides, I had made these the night before the man friend was due to come over for dinner so that they would have time to cool all the way before frosting (need at least an hour so the frosting doesn't melt all over the place).
And finally, it was time to do the frosting. I decided to get a little fancy, and creamed together the following:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar (about an entire box)
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon half-and-half
- 2 tablespoons raspberry juice
Given the richness of both the pie and the dense cupcake, and the creaminess of the buttercream frosting, vanilla bean ice cream served as the perfect complement.