Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rum Raisin Cupcakes

September's cupcake of the month flavor was inspired by the ever popular (well, at least cult-like popular) "Talk Like a Pirate Day," which is coming up the 19th of this month. If you aren't familiar with this festive holiday, it's really quite a simple celebration of grammar: you just have to drop your "arrr"s all day.

In the piratical spirit, I felt like rum was the only neccessARRRy ingredient. Unsure of what kind of pairing would go with Rum that would compliment but not overwhelm it, I decided rum raisin. Inspired by an ice cream flavor that my friend Becca used to order back in my Brooklyn days. Now personally, I'm not a fan of raisins, so I had to resort to the opinions of my taste testers to see if the recipe was a winner. Luckily, it has passed the test.

My recipe was fairly straight-forward, but a little time consuming. I made a pretty standard "off-white" cupcake, but used all brown sugar and added a couple tablespoons of rum in place of some of the milk (and actually forgot vanilla.... I will probably use vanilla though if I make them again).

While those were baking, I soaked some small dark raisins in rum and brown sugar and put them over a double boiler until the raisins seemed plump and the liquid had turned syrupy. Not a very technical explanation, so if I had to guess, I'd say I used 1 cup of raisins, 2-3 tablespoons of Rum and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Once that was ready, I put it into my food processor, added about 1/4 cup of roasted pecans and pureed it into a sticky paste. I actually added more rum to thin the solution out a bit so it was more spreadable.

Then I made some butter rum glaze. Over medium heat, melt 6 tablespoons of butter, 3 tablespoons rum, 3 tablespoons water, and 3/4 cup of sugar. I let the solution boil a little and then took it off the heat and let it cool. It does form a skin, so you can either cover it or mix it once in a while to keep it fluid.

Finally, I made rum buttercream which was just a regular buttercream recipe that used rum instaed of milk. 1 C butter, room temperature beaten until fluffy. Gradually add 4+ cups of powdered sugar and approximately 4 tablespoons of rum and whip until creamy and fluffy.

To assemble, spread raisin puree/compote evenly over the top of the cupcake. Using a pastry brush, cover compote with glaze. Top with buttercream and of course, a little raisin so everyone knows what to expect.

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