Monday, February 25, 2008
Week 9: Taste the Caribbean; Cinnamon Rum Soaked Raisin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Hi friends! I have been pondering what to make for Master Baker for several weeks and I think I finally narrowed down the entries! Well, even if I do not decide to go with this recipe, hopefully you will like this week's yummy contestant! It is a winning recipe in my cupcake challenge!! I want to share with you how I came up with this entry; My family background is Scottish/Irish but, I was born and raised in the Caribbean. As I have gotten older I learned to fully appreciate the seductive, sultry and sophisticated flavors I grew up with while living in the islands. I find I am often incorporating these rich flavors into my cooking; especially dessert! The Spanish, the Dutch, the French, the English, and the Indian, to name a few, are among the cultures which have influenced the flavors I love so much.
In my life, I have lived and traveled in many, many countries. Ultimately searching out the local cuisine and experimenting with it versus not trying it at all. Among my passions in life, traveling and exploring different cultures; particularly food, rates very high! Trust me when I tell you I am adventurous when it comes to culinary experimentation!
An early food related memory of mine is when I was about 6-years old, and going with my second grade class to the Bacardi factory! A Rum field trip! It is part of the islands history and heritage, and we were taught young! Can you just imagine!? Strange but true! Anyone from the islands will tell you pure cane sugar, rice and beans, bananas and their rum are an extremely important part of the culture!! It is something I remember tourists would come to the island to specifically buy in mass quantities. Now that I am older, I understand why!
These cupcakes brought back delicious memories of my childhood and I can almost feel the balmy breezes on my skin. There is such depth of flavor in the cucpake. From the first lucious rum soaked raisins bite, tasting the chunks of tangy pineapple, to the hint of cinnamon and allspice which lingers on your lips after your cupcake wrapper is history! This cupcake has a more "bread" like quality to it rather than a light airy "cakey" texture, but with the mixture of thick cream cheese frosting you will find this cupcake truly reverberates the soul of the islands. All the flavors coming together and the bite of rum and spices. Kick back, take a break and enjoy this little piece of paradise! You might feel like your toes are wiggling in the sand!
Cinnamon Rum Soaked Raisin Cupcakes
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup of juice from drained crushed pineapple
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dark rum (Other option: Coconut Rum)
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup raisins
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup walnuts (optional)
*Prior to making this recipe it is best to soak raisins in a bowl of rum for 4 hours or overnight in the refridgerator. Ensure raisins are immersed in rum and covered with plastic wrap.*
(Golden Raisins soaking in Coconut Rum, after 4 hours, they will look plump!)
1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Line cupcake pan and set aside.
2. Drain crushed pineapple, pressing out 1 1/2 cups pineapple. Reserve 1/2 cup juice for cupcakes.
3. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until crumbly.
4. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla extract. Mixture will be fluffy
5. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Whisk together to incorporate ingredients.
6. Beat in flour mixture to creamed mixture, alternating with pineapple liquid and rum.
7. Fold in crushed pineapple, rum soaked raisins, coconut and nuts (optional).
8. Divide into prepared liners. Bake for 18 - 22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
9. VERY IMPORTANT to let cupcakes cool completely before frosting!
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1. Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, 30 seconds.
2. Add the confectioners' sugar, blending with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is well incorporated, about 1 minute.
3. Add the cinnamon, then increase the mixer speed to medium and blend the frosting until fluffy, about 1 minute more.
Some friends do not care for cream cheese frostings, so this light rum glaze is flavorful enough to add a distinctive charm to the cupcakes. You can sprinkle the glaze with shredded coconut or leave them plain.
3 tablespoons dark rum
3 tablespoons reserved pineapple liquid
2 tablespoons softened butter
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1. With an electric mixer, blend ingredients well.
2. Spoon over well cooled cupcakes.