I love using fresh fruit in my baking, not only for the intense fruity flavour, but for the gorgeous colour it naturally tints anything it touches. I had a bunch of leftover raspberries hanging around my kitchen and I knew they had to be transformed into something delicious. I’ve used them in 3 ways in this recipe – as a thick raspberry sauce made from pureed fresh berries to fill the cupcakes, in the buttercream and as decoration. This makes a very pink, very cute dessert idea for Valentine’s Day!
I paired the raspberries with a vanilla-based cupcake to let the fruity flavour shine through, but another flavour I love combined it with is rosewater. These Raspberry and Rosewater Donuts are heavenly, so if you have any rosewater floating around your pantry I highly suggest throwing a teaspoon into the batter before baking!
The fresh raspberry sauce is incredibly simple to make – it simply involves cooking the fruit, lemon juice and a dash of sugar thickened with corn starch and allowing it to thicken. I intentionally kept it on the tart side as I found it balances nicely with the other sweeter elements. I used most of the sauce as a filling, and the rest is blended with butter and icing sugar to tint and flavour the buttercream.
There is honestly no comparison between the fresh raspberry flavour and using raspberry extract (I’ve tried, it tastes artificial). But if raspberries aren’t in season where you are, by all means you can use frozen raspberries. Just make sure you let them defrost to room temperature before use.
- 290g butter, softened
- 2 cups caster sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 3 cups plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 drops pink food colour
- 1 cup raspberries, roughly chopped
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp icing sugar (tailor this depending on how sweet your strawberries are)
- 230g butter at room temperature
- 4-5 cups sifted icing sugar
- 2 tbsp raspberry sauce
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with flour.
- Add the vanilla and pink food colour and mix well.
- Fill cupcake liners about ¾ full with mixture and bake for 18-20 minutes until lightly golden brown.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
- Roughly chop raspberries and place in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Add in lemon juice, cornstarch and icing sugar and let bubble over the heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool, if it's still a bit chunky then squash with a potato masher (or blitz in the food processor if you want the sauce extra smooth).
- Make a small cross with a sharp knife in the top of each cupcake. Pour raspberry filling into a piping bag with small nozzle attached and pipe the sauce into each cupcake. Make sure you set aside a few tablespoons of sauce for the buttercream.
- Place the softened butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
- Gradually add in icing sugar until thick and fluffy.
- Pour in the raspberry sauce and continue mixing for another few minutes.
- If the mixture is still too thick, add in a little extra raspberry sauce or a few drops of milk until the desired consistency is achieved.
- Spoon the mixture into an icing bag with a nozzle attached and ice the cupcakes. Finish with a fresh raspberry.
This recipe can easily be turned into a double layer cake, simple divide the batter between 2 x 20cm round cake tins lined with baking paper and bake for around 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. I would put a generous layer of fresh raspberry sauce in between the cake layers and cover the entire thing in pink buttercream. Delicious!
A garnish of a single fresh raspberry on top of the swirl of pink icing is the perfect finishing touch. If you can get your hands on some freeze dried raspberries they would work a treat too, sprinkled over the top.
What’s your favourite way to use berries in baking?