It turns out they weren't so difficult, and they were darling. I made a few changes, one of which was to substitute the raspberry frosting for chocolate ganache on some of them. I had quite a bit of ganache left after filling the berries and what a shame to waste. So I halved the frosting and used the ganache. I know my husband appreciated the substitution because he is a chocoholic.
I also made a few technical changes which I have noted in italics below. My ganache was too runny as directed so I added more chocolate (hence the abundance of ganache). I recommend either using less cream or adding chocolate. I did not use the jam in the truffle mix, which I think would have made it more runny, but I could be wrong.
Have the kids help you with these cupcakes to make the job easier. Peach filled all the raspberries and did a great job. It kept her busy while I filled the cupcakes with jam and made the frosting.
1 1/2 c. cake flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. baking powder
8 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 c. strong coffee (or water)
1/2 c. milk
For the filling:
Seedless raspberry jam
For the raspberry truffles:
2 pints fresh raspberries
5 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/3 cup heavy cream
For the frosting:
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
Pink icing color (optional)
(I halved the frosting because of my ganache switcheroo, and added a few drops red food color)
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
In a small bowl sift together the cocoa powder, cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions.
In a liquid measuring cup, combine the coffee and milk. Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixer and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Stir in the coffee-milk mixture and mix until combined. Add in the remaining dry ingredients, again mixing just until incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling the cups about 3/4 full (I filled my 2/3 full and some still popped over the liners and stuck to the pan -- I hate that!-- I recommend somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3 full). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, heat some raspberry jam just enough to allow for easy stirring and smooth texture (I think just stirring it up is fine). Transfer the jam to a pastry bag (or a freezer bag in a pinch) fitted with a large plain tip, poke into each cupcake and squeeze a small amount inside (it is helpful to take a sharp knife and poke through all the liners before you stick the tip in).
To make the raspberry truffles, rinse fresh raspberries and transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Gently shake the berries around to remove excess water. (It helps to set them upside down on paper towels on their open side.) Place the chocolate and jam (I omitted) in a small heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate and jam. Let stand for about 3 minutes. Whisk together gently until smooth. If any unmelted lumps remain, microwave a few seconds and whisk again. Let the ganache cool a bit until it has thickened slightly (enough to be piped through a pastry bag). Once it has reached the right consistency, transfer the ganache to a pastry bag and pipe into the center of the clean raspberries. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes to set.
To make the frosting, place the butter and jam in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream on medium-high speed until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Sift in the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Tint with icing color as desired.
I wanted to show you my cool cupcake carrier from Wilton. It has a carry lid that snaps on (and I was so excited to get it 40% off at Joann with my coupon).