Posts Tagged With: raspberry

Chocolate Chunk Scones with Raspberry Swirl

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7:30am.  The alarm goes off.  “BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP” followed by “bebebeBEEP bebebeBEEP bebebeBEEP bebebebebebeBEEEEEEP” and then the humming of my roommate’s generic iphone guitar strum and then, finally my little dumbphone’s contribution to the matinal symphony: BUZZZZZ…BUZZZZZ…BUZZZZZ….(love meeeee, says the Envy2 LOVE MEEEEEEE).  Banging these devices any number of times, I open my eyes and proceed to poke the top mattress of our bunk bed. “wakey wakeyyy meowww…” poke poke poke.

Roommate is not nearly as amused by the morning cacophony as I am.  I’m greeted with a groan. “Noooooooooo” goes the grumpy cat.

Mornings are rough.

As she finally scrambled down from her perch on high, I began the process of getting up out of bed and making the most exciting decision of the morning: breakfast !

It’s Saturday and I don’t want cereal.  Or a bagel.  Toast is a definite no.  Don’t even think about oatmeal.  Definitely not having yogurt.

I want a real, old-time, well-prepared, rejoice-in-the-fact-it’s-Saturday breakfast. That means baked goods AND, upon examining the dwindling supply of groceries…something creative.  I saw chocolate chunks.  I saw baking goods.  I had some raspberry jam in the fridge.  Put it all together and…scones had to be the answer.  After a little googling, I settled on this recipe from The Joy of Baking, one of my favorite baking websites.  I’ve added some spices and substituted jam for fresh berries (the grand scheme all along, of course), but the recipe is mostly intact and, after having devoured two in rapid succession, provides a delicious breakfast dish.  I paired it with some cheesy grits and a fried egg, but all the loving these scones need is a cup of something warm and an open weekend morning…that doesn’t need to begin as early as mine did.  Happy nibbling !

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Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (if using salted butter, skip added salt)
6 tbsp butter, cold and chopped
1/2 cup chocolate chunks (more are fine 🙂 )
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
4 tbsp raspberry jam
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg, beaten
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg

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In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices and stir to incorporate.  I really enjoy cinnamon and nutmeg with flavors like chocolate, but adding these is not obligatory in any fashion.

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Add the cold butter to the flour.  Using a pastry blender (or your hands – either works fine), work the butter into the flour.  This will take a little bit of time, but be patient.  If you are using your hands, make sure you start with really cold butter.  The warmth of your hands will affect how much flour the butter is able to “absorb,” so to speak.  If the butter absorbs too much flour, the consistency of the final product will be slightly off…no real harm done (whew !) but if you want a “true” scone consistency, don’t work that buttah too much, honey.   The final product should have the texture of crumble – if you squish it, it will keep a basic shape, but upon touching it again will crumble into DUST.  POOF !

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To this mixture, add the chocolate chunks.  Give them a good stir to coat them in the crumble combination.  Once coated, make a chasm (that word has such presence…I definitely need a deep voice to deliver it with full force) in the flour mixture.

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In another bowl, combine the yogurt, egg, and vanilla.  Whisk well to combine.

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Pour the egg mixture into the hole made in the flour.  Stir with a fork to incorporate, somewhat.  Add the jam and stir until the dough just comes together – the mixture will be thick – that’s okay.  You don’t want to mix it too much or the dough will be chewy and tough.

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Once the batter just holds together, turn it out onto a well-floured surface.   Form the dough into a circle and cut the circle into triangles to place upon a prepared baking sheet.

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Cook for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Mine are a little more than golden brown BECAUSE my broiler is a little wonky.  If desired, you may dust the scones with powdered sugar and broil them for about 10 seconds to give them a nice crust.  Mine stayed in a touch too long but are none the worse for wear (or taste) !

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Enjoy with a cup of java or tea or simply with your breakfast.  Bon appétit ! 🙂

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Oh crêpe !

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I know in America, we use the beginning of February as an excuse to kick a groundhog out of his home and either 1) scare him upon the sight of his shadow or 2) leave him complacent with no shadow to scurry back into his burrow.  This isn’t the only holiday happening at the end of January…it’s also Candlemas !

I realize this isn’t a common exclamation.  My roommates cocked their heads in wonder as I uttered such words.

Candlemas isn’t really much to celebrate for anglophones, but the French tradition is actually pretty “chouette.”  Known as the fête de la chandeleur – otherwise known as crêpe day – it’s a grand excuse to eat these thin pancakes with any number of fillings while sipping on hard cider, a drink once extremely popular in the USA (more popular than milk…and the #1 beverage in Massachusetts) but now less well known.  The origins of such a culinary combination are dubious, but many say the crêpe symbolizes the sun, and the celebration of la chandeleur falls on a pagan day recognizing the return of longer, sunnier days – rather like the solstice.  Legend has it that if you can flip the crêpe with one hand, holding a coin in the other, you will be financially blessed for the coming year.  (We didn’t try that combination, but I managed to half-flip my crêpe once…)

In order to properly devour lots of crêpes, we invited friends over (and a few Frenchies – Laurent and Jérôme) to celebrate en masse the “end” of winter.  Potluck-style, I supplied the crêpes while the guests were asked to bring cider or fillings.  Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, caramel, speculoos, nutella and ice cream graced our kitchen table…as did four saladiers worth of crepes !

In a final twist, I made a “bananas foster” crepe complete with stewed bananas in a bourbon caramel sauce.  Oh the spontaneous accidents that happen in a happy kitchen !

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Crêpes take all of five minutes to whip together and they cook just as fast – serve them as a savory meal (filled with potatoes and cheese and salmon and herbs….or ham and cheese…or anything really) or as a nice breakfast or even as dessert.  You can’t go wrong with this simple pancake as your canvas.

Crêpe batter :

2 1/4 cups flour
2 cups milk
2 eggs
3 GENEROUS tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Oil for the pan (we used a little veggie oil)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, and vanilla and whisk well.  Add the sugar (if you want – it’s not required) and the flour and whisk until the batter is smooth and without lumps.  Let the batter sit for about 10 minutes.  We didn’t REALLY have the time to let it rest (hungry people must be fed !) but in theory it’s wise to let the ingredients mingle. I think this removes some of the bubbles from the batter (allows them to rise to the top) so that one doesn’t have air pockets in their crepes.

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Pour the batter into the center of a round pan, tilting the pan in order to make an even, thin crepe.  Be sure to use a spatula to gently lift the crepe from the bottom of the pan in order to prevent further sticking. You can try your hand at flipping without a spatula…or you can just use a spatula because that’s a foolproof way !  Flip the pancake and let those little brown pockmarks form – it’s better if they have a little brown on ’em (adds some flava !)

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Put on a plate and cover with whatever you want – I like speculoos – and either ROLL like a cylinder or fold into quarters.  If it’s very full, folding is the wisest choice.  If you have a thick filling, like nutella, then rolling will suit you just fine.

Devour in between swigs of cider !

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Bon appétit ! 🙂

Categories: English | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Raspberry Oatmeal Squares

Raspberry squares...mmm

Happy New Year everyone !  After a harrowing finals season and then the holiday recovery period (during which I managed to LEAVE my CAMERA CORD at SCHOOL hence no posts), I am back and alive on scratchbatch with lots of new items to share.  Since the time of eating truly decadent sweets has passed, I’m just going to put a simple little everyday recipe up here that is easy to make and delicious as a dessert, a snack, or a companion to tea.

What could be so versatile ?

Raspberry squares, of course !  I used to love choosing these when my mom and I would go to Concord Teacakes (in West Concord, MA – right near the commuter rail station).  I like the use of jam, because it’s one less item to make, and the presence of the oatmeal lends a chewiness to the bar that is nothing less than satisfying. Rather than using a shortbread bottom, this recipe actually uses a basic oatmeal cookie base, so the butter content IS [slightly] lessened.  You will want to use a square brownie pan for this recipe.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup (roundabout) raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Butter (or spray) the brownie pan (mine was 9×9) and don’t be stingy on the grease around the edges, as the jam may boil, turn chewy, and therefore become difficult to remove.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and add the brown sugar, beating until light and fluffy.  The color of the mixture should lighten as you are beating it.

Creamed butter and brown sugar.  Used to be my favorite part of baking, tasting that combo.  Om nom.

Add the egg and vanilla and mix well to incorporate.  The batter will look nice and smooth.

One lonely egg in a sea of butter - put my heart into a flutter ! IMG_8401

In a separate container, such as the measuring cup, mix together all the dry ingredients – the flour, salt, and baking soda – and add it slowly to the batter.  Stir in 1 3/4 cups oats.

Crumble bumble.

Press 2/3 of the dough into the pan and make it nice and smooth.

Like a blank canvas, no ?

Smother this in jam – I like a good, thick layer of raspberry goodness, so more than a cup of jam may be necessary.  I always find that with quantities for items like jam or chocolate, recipes are simply guidelines.

bam bam jam jam

Add the remaining 1/4 cup of oats to the leftover batter and mix with your hands until crumbly.

Hands-on experience ;)

A rare photo of the kid in the kitchen...

Sprinkle evenly over the jam until well covered.  Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Sprinkle evenly.  Speckle.  Spot.

Heat up a cup of tea and enjoy !  Bon appétit ! 🙂

All done EAT 'EM UP.

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Chocolate Raspberry Crunch

My sibling loves chocolate.  In fact, I think she loves chocolate more than anything else on the face of the planet.  Except for stuffed animals.  And Doctor Who.  Maybe.   In any case, she celebrated her birthday just the other day and I was (naturally) in charge of the cake.  She told me she wanted chocolate and raspberry to be involved…but other than that, I had free reign.

In all honestly, I was just going to make a straight-up double-chocolate cake with raspberries on top.  You know, chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream, raspberries.  BOOM.

But…then I got to thinking.  I could make a raspberry filling.  Hmm.  And all that chocolate needs some variation.  Maybe I could make a feuilletine-type layer, with a little crunch for “texture,” as they say on all of those fancy cooking shows (that I adore watching).

And we were off to the races.  I ended up making two round layer cakes of regular chocolate cake.  I cut each layer in half and put a different filling on each layer, one being a chocolate cookie crunch (feuilletine), a raspberry buttercream, and a dark chocolate raspberry ganache, finally smothering the entire gateau in chocolate buttercream. And lining it in fresh raspberries.

Yes.  I know.

Need I add that it was about 90F outside and there is no AC here in da kitchen.  The chocolate melted all on its own….

I don’t really have a name for this cake…so “Chocolate Raspberry Crunch” is a working title.  Any suggestions are MORE THAN WELCOME .  Also, given the experimental nature of this cake, I do not have specific measurements for the fillings.  I’ve given approximations, but know that you may need to change the amounts if you (dare?) attempt this delicious, decadent and dangerous torte.

For the cake : look on the back of a Trader Joe’s cocoa box !

3 1/2 cups flour
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 1/3 cups cocoa
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
12 oz butter
3 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla

 Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare two 9-inch round cake pans.  Know that this cake does sometimes make extra batter – the pans I normally use are a little small, so I often have a little leftover.  If you use pans with a removable bottom (like I did this time), all the batter will fit.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl.  Cream together the EGGS and the SUGAR until you reach the ribbon stage.  For more information on ribboning, please scroll down to the Fraisier post.  🙂 Add the milk and vanilla and mix until smooth.
In medium pot, melt the butter and stir in the cocoa powder until it looks like velvet.  Yes, velvet.
Mix together the flour and the baking soda in a large bowl.  Add this to the egg mixture at the same time as the chocolate, as if you were making brownies.  Stir until uniform and incorporated – about 2 minutes.  TASTE:  It should taste like chocolate.  This is my one big critique of chocolate cake :  it often doesn’t take enough like chocolate, so I end up adding more cocoa…
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and place in oven.  Let cook for about 45 minutes or until springy to the touch.  Remove and let cool.

For the feuilletine :

A handful of chocolate chips…
Some butter….
A bunch of butter cookies (shortbread, waffle cookies – anything crunchy with a vanilla-type flavor.)

Prepare a jelly roll pan by covering it with tin foil (or parchment, or wax paper…whatever you prefer).  I placed mine in the freezer to cool it off.

Put the cookies in a small plastic bag and beat with the back of a spoon until nice and crushed.

In a separate pan, melt the butter and the chocolate chips, stirring until smooth.  Pour the cookie crumbles into the pan and stir until they are covered in chocolate.

Pour the chocolate mixture on top of the jelly roll pan and, using the back of a spoon, spread it until it is as thin as possible.  I made mine into a circle, guestimating the size of the 9” pan.  Place this in the freezer to chill/set.

For the raspberry buttercream :

Raspberry syrup (seedless)
Butter, soft
Confectioner’s sugar

In a large bowl, cream the butter.  Add the raspberry syrup and taste for raspberry flavor.  Add sugar until the butter taste has diminished.  Set aside.

For the dark chocolate raspberry ganache :

Another handful of chocolate chips
Cream
Raspberry syrup

In an effort to minimize dirty dishes, I re-used the pan in which I melted the chocolate for the crunch layer.  If you do the same, start by adding the raspberry syrup and whisking over high heat.

Bring that syrup to a boil.  Add 1 tbsp cream and continue whisking.  When hot hot hot, remove from heat and add the chocolate chips.  Let sit 1 minute before whisking together to combine.  Add another tbsp cream and taste.  It should taste like a lindt raspberry truffle.

Add more chocolate or raspberry or cream to adjust the flavor as you like it.  The mixture of the syrup and chocolate is surprisingly forgiving and can take a fair bit of variation.  Let cool in the fridge.

For the chocolate buttercream:

1 1/2 sticks butter, soft
1 1/3 cups cocoa
Powdered sugar
Cream (for texture)

In a large bowl, whisk the butter until light and creamy.  Add the cocoa and whisk again.  Add sugar until the frosting is as sweet as you like.

I make a very bitter frosting – I really like the deep and strong flavor of cocoa powder, so I avoid adding a lot of sugar.  In fact, little note for everyone : when recipes state how much powdered sugar to add, I usually halve it.  Too sweet !

Assembly:

This is a little tricky.  First, cut both layer cakes in half.  Place the bottom layer of one of the cakes on a large, flat cake plate.  Get the crunchy layer out of the freezer and (bring to room temperature if possible.  I didn’t have to wait long given the suffocating temperature of the kitchen) and place the empty cake pan overtop.  Cut the feuilletine down to size, nibbling the leftovers.  Place the chocolate layer on top of the cake and then peel the foil (or paper) off. Place the second cake layer on top.

Grab that raspberry buttercream and spread that on top of the next layer.  Leave a border without frosting – it will leak out as you put the other layers on.  Cover with the third cake layer.

Remove the ganache from the fridge and bring to room temperature – though highly viscous, it should still flow.  Pour overtop the third layer of cake, again leaving a little border by the edge so that it will ooze properly.  Cover with the final layer of cake.

Get the chocolate buttercream and cover the cake, being sure to spread overtop the sides before adding more to the top.  Decorate with raspberries.

CUT AND SERVE, preferably with a glass of ice cold milk OR fresh-brewed coffee.

Bon appétit !

Categories: English | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Flag Cake (for lack of a better title…)

For the Americans poking around my blog, yesterday was Independence Day – a moment where the USA likes to tout its freedom and principles and set off fireworks (which is pretty entertaining).  I’m not hugely patriotic and therefore am not entirely invested in this national holiday HOWEVER when my sister brought this cake to my attention, I couldn’t say no.  It’s an ordinary, white, frosted cake on the outside…but a rockin’ STARS AND STRIPES (well..no stars…details details) gâteau on the inside !

The actual source site for this “flag cake” à l’américaine doesn’t list recipes, so I used my own creations listed below. Again, this cake requires some serious dedication – you have to WANT to sculpt and craft this dessert, spending much time cutting and placing before being able to actually devour the final product so don’t tackle this project at 8pm.  You’ll be busy until the wee hours of the morning.

A little note on the cakes :  The white and blue layers, both the same size, were made of the same base : a Lady Baltimore cake.  It’s a light, almond-flavored white cake that is easy to cut and handle given the egg whites.  The red layer was a raspberry yellow cake recipe – this way, we didn’t waste any part of the egg, utilizing the yolks in this cake recipe that remained from the Lady B cake.  I added Chambord and raspberry jam to help both with the color of the cake and give it that raspberry flavor.  The frosting is an almond buttercream.

For the RED CAKE : 

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
3 egg yolks
1-2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup jam
3 tbsp Chambord (raspberry liqueur)
LOTS OF FOOD DYE.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line two 9-inch pans.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Separate the yolks and whites of three eggs.

Add the vanilla, followed by the egg yolks.  Beat well after each addition until the batter is nice and…homogenous.

Add the milk and flour together, stirring until just combined.  Add the jam and the chambord and the food coloring, mixing until the red is well-distributed throughout the batter.

Pour into prepared pans and bake until springy to the touch – about 20 minutes.

For the WHITE and BLUE cake :  

1 stick butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup milk
3 egg whites (4 will make the cake rise more)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cream the butter and sugar until light in color.

Add the vanilla and almond extracts.  Mix in the flour, baking powder, and milk at the same time, being careful not to over mix.   Set this bowl aside.

In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.  You can add salt or cream of tartar to the whites in order to help them whip up…but I usually skip that part.

Fold the egg whites into the batter.

Fill the white cake pan with batter.  To the remaining batter, add LOTS AND LOTS OF BLUE FOOD DYE.

Mix until combined; pour the blue patter into the cake pan and place both pans in the oven.  Let cook until springy to the touch – about 20 – 25 minutes.

For the frosting :

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
about a whole bag of confectioners’ sugar (slightly less…leave about 1/3 cup in the 1 lb bag)
Vanilla (about 1 tsp)
Almond extract (to taste – probably about 1 tsp)

Beat the butter until nice and creamy.  Add the sugar, watching the consistency.  Throw in the extracts.  Taste LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS to make sure it isn’t too buttery/sugary/etc.  If you find it to be too thick, add some milk – about 1 tbsp.

Assembly :

This is the complicated part.  I had a hard time getting my mind around it…hence, my sister was the brains of the operation.  I just obeyed.  Here are her lovely orders :

1. Using the lid of a canister of oatmeal (a circle between 4 to 5 inches in diameter), cut the BLUE LAYER so the it looks like a doughnut.  Use this same circle to cut one of the RED LAYERS down to size.  This RED LAYER will fit inside the blue layer.

2. Cut the other red layer IN HALF – you can do this by using a wire like we did OR with a serrated knife.  It’s a little stressful, but these cakes are tolerant of cutting – yay eggs !

3. Cut the white layer in half, too.

4. Take ONE of the thin white layers and cut it to the size of the smaller circle.

5.  On the cake pan, lay the thin red layer first.  Spread a thin thin thin layer of frosting on the red layer.  Cover with the thing white layer and some frosting.  Then the red layer.  THEN THE BLUE DOUGHNUT, followed by the thin, small, white layer and then the small red layer.  Here are some photos to help you visualize all of this.

6. Ice the entire cake.  Yum.

We put some blueberries on the top for decoration, but it’s fine all on its own, too.  The layers of the cake work really well together and who doesn’t love a good surprise ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy (belated) Independence Day and bon appétit !

 

Categories: English | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lemon cupcakes with raspberry filling

I think the cupcake craze has finally hit me.  I know, it’s a litttttle late for that, but I’ve made three batches of cupcakes in the past…two weeks (?) and I’m having far too much fun in the kitchen.  Flour.  Everywhere.

Or in this case…lemon zest.

Being a slightly competitive person…I’m staging a mini-war with the fantastic Baked and Wired of Washington, D.C. in an effort to reduce the pain my wallet feels every time I crumble and purchase a cupcake.  My current favorite is a lemon cupcake with a raspberry filling and a lemon buttercream frosting.  After a few edits (lighter frosting, spicier filling, and a more lemony cupcake), here’s my new and improved version:

For the cake :

1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups granulated sugar
Zest and juice of 3 lemons
1 cup buttermilk (can be made with milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice OR distilled vinegar)

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line 2 muffin tins (24 cups total) with liners (or parchment paper).  In an electric mixer – or by hand – cream butter until smooth.  Add the sugar slowly until smooth, followed by the zest and lemon juice.  The batter will separate a bit – but when the flour is added, the it will stabilize.  Cream the mixture until light.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. In a bowl, mix the baking powder and the flour together.  Add the flour and the buttermilk at the same time, mixing until combined but not more to avoid a tough cake.  Pour into pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until springy to the touch.

For the filling :

1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp ground ginger

Combine all ingredients and boil until well blended and thickened – using a thermometer might be beneficial.  I boiled until the thread stage.  Chill.

For the frosting :

4 egg whites
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp cream of tartar (optional)

Combine the water, sugar, lemon juice and zest together in a medium pan.  Stir to help the sugar dissolve and then boil until 238F or until the mixture thickens slightly and forms a thin, continuous stream when poured from a spoon.  It’s good to taste this to make sure it’s lemony enough (or sweet enough) for your tastes (but be careful, as boiling sugar is HOT).

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whip the eggs whites and cream of tartar until they hold soft peaks.

Once the sugar syrup is ready, turn the mixer on high and pour the hot syrup over the meringues, being careful to add it in a thin, continuous stream.  The egg whites will be billowy and light – almost like a foam.  I added a few drops of yellow food dye to give it a light yellow tint.

Assembly :

Using your finger (or a spoon), make a little divot in the center of each cupcake.  This will be filled with the raspberry syrup.  There is no need to remove the centers – the cake is quite moist, so compacting it works just fine. Using a teaspoon, pour raspberry syrup into the crevice until filled.


Once this is complete, they are ready to be frosted.  I used a piping bag to frost mine, but it isn’t necessary.  Once can easily use a spatula, a spoon, or a knife to top off these delicious little cakes.  Once iced, I sprinkled a little lemon zest on top (But you don’t have to…it just looks pretty !).  And there you have it !  Watch out, Baked and wired !

When it’s cut in half, you can really see the filling – it’s just like jam…but better.  🙂 Bon appétit !

Categories: English | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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