You know those days when you’re feeling really creative? Maybe you’re inspired to draw or paint or take photographs – whatever your artistic talent may be. For me, that’s baking. And today’s uniquely flavored treat came from a stroke of *brilliant* (if I do say so myself) cupcake creativity.
I had some leftover plain vanilla cupcake batter from another recipe I tried, and I couldn’t imagine letting perfectly good (albeit unbaked) cupcakes go to waste. I rarely bake with nuts, and when I do, they’re usually incorporated into cookies or sprinkled on brownies. With this recipe, I wanted the nutty, savory flavor of the pistachios to really shine through the vanilla cake.
But I knew that simple pistachio cupcakes wouldn’t have that special flair of a Juliet’s Sweets recipe without a complimentary flavor. Enter raspberries! For this recipe, I used fresh, in-season local raspberries. Their summery sweetness paired with the pistachios is an amazing combination – and one that I’m looking to incorporate into future sweets! Sometimes I’ll use dehydrated raspberries or strawberries to add a highly concentrated fruit flavor to a batter or a frosting without excess water, but the dryness of the pistachios left some room in the batter for a bit of excess raspberry liquid. I simply broke apart the raspberries into smaller sections and folded them into the batter.
Sounds good, right? It’s about to get even better. The showstopping aspect of this recipe is the frosting. This cream cheese frosting is light, not too sweet, and ties together the cupcake’s flavors. It’s basically a fruit, nut, and cheese platter! What I love about this cupcake as a whole is that it isn’t overly sweet. It’s tart, nutty, creamy, and decadent.
Do yourself a favor and make a batch of these… the elevated flavors are perfect for cupcake snobs and lovers alike!
Pistachio Raspberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 18 minutes
Yield: 12 cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 scant cup sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (1 stick)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk (I used almond)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup pistachios, roughly chopped (make sure they’re unsalted)
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries, roughly chopped
- 12 whole fresh raspberries for garnishing
- 1/2 package cream cheese, at room temperature (4 ounces)
- 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat your oven to 350*F and line your cupcake pan with liners.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed.
- Continuing on low speed, drop in 2 cubes of butter at a time until incorporated. The mixture should look like thick sand. Add in the eggs one at a time, and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- With the mixer still on low speed, pour in the milk and vanilla in a slow stream. Turn mixer to medium speed and beat the batter for 2 minutes until smooth. The batter will be quite thick – it should be! It’s what makes the cupcakes both dense and fluffy!
- In a small bowl, gently toss together the pistachio and raspberry pieces with the 3 tablespoons of flour until coated. Then, with a spatula, fold the pistachio and raspberry pieces in the batter until well-distributed.
- Using an ice cream scoop, fill your cupcake liners and bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out crumb-free.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
- Add in 1 cup of the powdered sugar on low speed and mix, then add in the second cup half on low speed until incorporated. Mix in the vanilla and salt. Turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until fluffy and smooth – another minute or two.
- When the cupcakes are completely cooled, fit a piping bag with your tip of choice (I used a star), and fill with frosting. Pipe as desired and top with a whole fresh raspberry!