Monday, December 21, 2009

Double Fudge Brownies

These homemade chocolate fudge brownies are so easy to make, look perfect and they taste delicious! They are bound to be a hit with your family as they are with mine.

This is our last post for the year; we will resume posting early next year. Have a safe and happy Christmas and New Years!

1 1/2 cup Sugar
1 1/2 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2/3 cup Butter
1/4 cup Water
2 cup Chocolate chips 1 12oz pkg semi-sweet
2 teaspoon vanilla
4 Eggs
1 cup Nuts chopped (optional)

In a small saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 2/3 cup of butter, and 1/4 cup of water. Bring to the boil and no more. Remove saucepan from heat and add 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips & 2 teaspoons vanilla. Stir until the chocolate melts. Transfer this chocolate mixture to a large bowl. Beat in four eggs, one at a time. Then in a small bowl combine the soda, flour and salt. Gradually add flour to chocolate batter. Blend in 1 cup chopped nuts if desired. Pour into greased 13x9x2 inch pan. Bake at 325 for 50 minutes.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Truffles - Pudding Truffles

These chocolate truffles are deliciously Christmasy, in both flavour and appearance. The joy of truffle recipes is mixing and matching bits and bobs to your preference, so if you prefer to omit the alcohol, go right ahead. Conversely, you don't need to stick with rum, feel free to substitute any liquor you may prefer. A chocolate liquor in this recipe is also an excellent choice.

100g plain chocolate
75 ml double Cream
2 tbsp rum
150g fruit cake
25g glace cherries
White chocolate / icing to decorate

Melt the chocolate and cream together. Remove from the heat
Crumble cake into fine crumbs and chop cherries finely. Stir the cake crumbs, rum and cherries into the melted chocolate. Chill for 30 minutes

With a teaspoon, divide the mixture into about 16 pieces. Use clean hands to roll mixture into balls and place in small paper cases. Chill for 30 minutes. Decorate the tops of the each truffle with the white chocolate or icing.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Truffles - Eggnog Truffles

Cream, nutmeg and brandy give these simple truffles the flavours of Christmas, embodied in a gorgeous little truffle. Make this recipe up to 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container in the fridge. Makes 32

2 x 180g pkts good-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
80ml (1/3 cup) thickened cream
1 tbs brandy
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 x 375g pkt white chocolate melts
Ground nutmeg, extra, to dust
Freshly brewed espresso coffee, to serve

Place the chocolate, cream, brandy and nutmeg in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water (make sure bowl doesn't touch the water) and stir with a metal spoon until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Place in the fridge for 2 hours or until firm enough to roll into balls.

Line a tray with non-stick baking paper. Use a teaspoon to scoop out 2 teaspoonfuls of chocolate mixture and use your hands to roll into a ball. Place on prepared tray. Repeat with the remaining chocolate mixture. Place in the fridge for 1 hour or until firm.

Meanwhile, place chocolate melts in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water (make sure bowl doesn't touch the water) and stir with a metal spoon until chocolate melts.

Line a tray with non-stick baking paper. Use 2 forks to dip a truffle into the melted chocolate to coat. Remove truffle, tapping the fork handle gently on the edge of the bowl to shake off any excess chocolate. Place on prepared tray. Repeat with remaining truffles and melted chocolate. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to set. Sprinkle truffles with extra nutmeg and serve with coffee.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Truffles - Chocolate Rum & Raisin

Truffles are probably our favourite Christmas dessert, both in eating and giving as gifts! We have given truffles to our friends for the last few years now, and they are always very well received. Rum and Raisin is perhaps the most classic truffle of them all. Couverture Chocolate is a very high quality chocolate that contains extra cocoa butter (32-39%). Makes About 50.

1 1/2 cups chopped Raisins
2 tbs Dark Rum
2 x 200g pkts Nestle Chocolate Couverture
1 x 395g can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 x 100g pkts Macadamia Nuts, toasted, chopped
Chocolate sprinkles
200g Dark Chocolate, melted
200g White Chocolate, melted

Place raisins and rum in a bowl, combine well and stand for 10 minutes.

Melt Nestle Chocolate Couverture according to packet directions. Combine in a large bowl with condensed milk and mix well. Stir in raisin mixture. Cover and place in the fridge until firm.

Line a tray with non-stick baking paper. Roll teaspoonfuls of truffle mixture into balls. To decorate, roll balls in macadamias, sprinkles or cocoa, or dip in melted Dark Melts then drizzle with melted White Melts. Place on prepared tray and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until firm.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Espresso Cheesecake Brownies

These brownies are absolutely delicious. Each creamy, espresso-spiked, chocolaty, brownie bite gets better and better as consumption continues! You can't freeze them, because of the sour cream topping. So when you make them, your only option really is to eat them. Its a pretty simple decision. This cheesecake makes makes about 16 servings.


For the brownie batter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the cheesecake batter

1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon boiling water
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

For the topping

1 1/4 cups sour cream
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar


Preheat the oven to 350. To prepare the brownie batter, in a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a microwave safe bowl, add butter and chocolate - heat at 50% power just until the butter has melted and the chocolate has softened. Stir the mixture and if any lumps of chocolate remain, reheat briefly, stopping every 30 seconds or so to stir.

Whisk sugar into the chocolate mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each. Whisk in vanilla. Add dry ingredients and stir just until combined - set aside.

Next, prepare the cheesecake batter. In a small bowl, stir together espresso powder and boiling water - set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until completely smooth. Add sugar and beat until well combined, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla and espresso mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each. Mix in the sour cream. Add flour and stir until combined.

Stir brownie batter and pour three quarters of it into a 9" baking pan coated with nonstick spray. Pour cheesecake batter on top of the brownie batter. Drop dollops of the remaining brownie batter on top and gently swirl the dark batter into the cheesecake batter, making sure not to push the knife down into the bottom brownie layer.

Place into the oven and bake until the cheesecake layer is beige in the center and lightly browned around the edges, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove and place pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Place cooled pan into the refrigerator and chill at least 2 hours.

Finally, prepare the topping. In a small saucepan, add sour cream and confectioners' sugar - warm over very low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and pour evenly over the cold cheesecake layer.

Place the pan back into the refrigerator and chill until the topping is thoroughly cold, at least 1 hour before serving.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Rhubarb Crumble Pie

This rhubarb pie is topped with a buttery spiced oat crumb mixture. Serve with a scoop of ice cream for a perfect summer dessert.

1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb stalks
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350°. Prepare pie shell or thaw a frozen pie shell.

Trim and rinse the rhubarb stalks. Slice large stalks in half lengthwise. Slice rhubarb stalks crosswise in 1/2 to 1-inch lengths. Combine sliced rhubarb and water in a medium saucepan.

In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons flour and 3/4 cup sugar, stirring until well blended; add to the rhubarb mixture. Stir well and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover but leave the cover ajar to let steam escape and continue simmering for about 5 minutes, or just until tender. If desired, add a little red food coloring to make the filling more colorful. Spoon filling into the prepared pie shell.

With a pastry blender or fingers, combine the topping ingredients until blended and crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the pie. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until topping is browned and the filling is bubbly.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Coffee Cupcakes with Mocha Ganache and Mascarpone Cream

I came across this delicious coffee-inspired recipe at LaBelle Cuisine. It creates a cupcake dessert that looks like an little espresso drink! You can substitute 6 tbsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder & 1/4 tsp baking soda for 6 tbsp dutch-process cocoa powder. This recipe makes 30 cupcakes, however you could halve the quantities to make fewer and bake in espresso cups as we have done here to make a stunning dessert!


Chocolate coffee cupcakes
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 cup instant coffee powder
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Mocha ganache
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup coffee beans, crushed
8 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped

Mascarpone cream
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 30 standard muffin cups with paper liner. Combine the milk, cocoa, coffee and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, constantly whisking, until the cocoa and coffee have dissolved. Let cool and pour into a liquid measure.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk mixture in three batches, ending with the liquid.

Fill each muffin cup halfway with the batter. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, to make mocha ganache, combine the heavy cream and coffee beans in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat, cover and let infuse for 10 minutes.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan and bring back to a boil. Put the chocolate in a medium bowl and pour the hot cream over it, stirring slowly, until the ganache is smooth. Spoon enough ganache over each cupcake to fill the liners to the rim.

To make mascarpone cream, using a whisk or in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Add the mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar and whisk until smooth. Spoon the mascarpone cream into a pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip and pipe the cream on top of the ganache in a circle.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dark Chocolate and Macadamia Brownie

This chocolate brownie tastes stunning, with the layer of caramelised bananas adding a banoffee-like flavour to the rich chocolate and macadamia cake. Allow around 40 mins prep and 35-40 mins baking time. Eggwhite powder is a professional pâtisserie product and can be found at many shops; if you cant find any then simply replace using 1 egg white = 1 3/4 tsp. eggwhite powder. This recipe makes a brownie cake that serves 10.

200 gms butter, coarsely chopped
100 gms dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
3 eggs
210 gms caster sugar
100 gms plain flour
100 gms macadamias, coarsely chopped
100 gms brown sugar
1 tbsp finely grated ginger
5 bananas, halved lengthways

Milk chocolate mousse
2 eggs
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 leaves of gelatine, softened in cold water
5 gms eggwhite powder (see note)
600 ml pouring cream
400 gm milk chocolate (36% cocoa solids), melted and cooled slightly

Preheat oven to 150C. Melt butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Whisk eggs and caster sugar in an electric mixer until thick and pale (5-6 minutes), fold through chocolate mixture, then fold in flour and macadamia. Spoon into a buttered and baking paper base-lined 22cm-diameter springform pan, smooth top and bake until just firm to touch (20-25 minutes). Cool completely in pan.

Heat brown sugar in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until melted (2-3 minutes). Add ginger, stir to combine, then add bananas in a single layer and cook, turning occasionally, until caramelised and tender (4-5 minutes). Arrange on top of the brownie, squash to make a uniform layer then cool completely.

Meanwhile, for milk chocolate mousse, whisk eggs and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until thick and can hold a ribbon (10-12 minutes), then remove from heat. Squeeze excess liquid from gelatine and whisk in gelatine with eggwhite powder. In a separate bowl, whisk cream until soft peaks form, add chocolate and fold to combine, then fold in egg mixture. Spoon mousse over caramelised banana, smooth top and refrigerate until set (2-3 hours). Dust with cocoa, scatter with chocolate balls and serve immediately.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Chocolate Cherry Cake

This delicious cake is easy, rich but light, and so wonderfully moist. There is about 20 minutes prep time, and around 55 minutes cooking time. To make chocolate curls, melt dark chocolate, spread thinly onto a marble slab or inverted heavy tray, set aside until firm. Scrape with a knife at a 45-degree angle (away from you) to create curls. These extravegent curls give this dessert that 'cake shop' glamour!
Serves 10.

150 gms dark chocolate (54% cocoa solids)
150 gms butter, softened
170 gms caster sugar
6 eggs, separated
150 gms self-raising flour, sifted
3 tsp cornflour
50 ml kirsch, plus extra to drizzle
250 ml 1 cup) pouring cream

Cherry compote
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
500 gms pitted cherries

150 gms dark chocolate (54% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
140 ml pouring cream

Preheat oven to 175C. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cool slightly. Beat butter and 150gm caster sugar in an electric mixer until pale and creamy (4-8 minutes), then add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add melted chocolate and stir to combine, then fold in flour in batches. Whisk eggwhites to soft peaks, then fold through chocolate mixture. Pour into a greased and baking paper-lined 23cm spring-form pan and bake until a skewer withdraws clean (30-40 minutes). Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

For cherry compote, combine sugar and 500ml of water in a saucepan and cook, stirring over medium heat, until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, add cherries, bring to boil again, reduce heat and simmer until cherries are tender (5 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside. Makes 1 litre of cherries and juice.

Meanwhile, drain juice from cherries (reserving 180ml and discarding remaining). Place cherries in a bowl. Mix cornflour with 20ml reserved cherry juice to make a paste. Combine remaining cherry juice, drained cherries and cornflour paste in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens (2-3 minutes). Add 30ml kirsch and set aside to cool.

For ganache, melt chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir until smooth and glossy.

Whisk cream and remaining sugar until stiff peaks form, add remaining kirsch and whisk briefly to combine. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

Halve cake horizontally, drizzle base generously with kirsch, spread with cream and spoon over cherry compote. Sandwich with top half of cake. Drizzle with more kirsch, then pour over ganache and scatter with chocolate curls.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dark Chocolate and Orange Mud Cakes

What is the difference between a standard chocolate cake and a dark chocolate mud cake? Chocolate mud cake usually has some gooey components, like a pudding consistency or a fudge sauce typically found in the centre. These rich individual mud cakes use a swirl of orange liquor to achieve their hints of citrus, and are fantastic served with sliced mandarins and choc-orange / jaffa ice cream.


1 1/2 cups caster sugar
100 gm dark chocolate (64% cocoa solids), finely chopped
60 ml orange liqueur
2 egg yolks
60 gm cocoa
40 gm plain flour
4 egg whites
2 mandarins, peeled and segmented


Preheat oven to 160C. Combine 165gm sugar, chocolate, liqueur and ¼ cup hot water in a heatproof bowl placed over simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat, add egg yolks and mix to combine, then fold in flour and cocoa.

Whisk egg whites using an electric mixer until soft peaks form, add 55gm sugar and whisk to combine, then fold through chocolate mixture. Place 6 buttered 6cm-high 7.5cm-diameter metal ring moulds (see note) on a baking paper-lined oven tray and divide mixture among them. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until risen and firm to the touch, remove from oven and cool in rings.

Meanwhile combine remaining sugar, orange liqueur and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan and stir over low-medium heat until sugar dissolves, add mandarin segments and simmer for 20 minutes or until segments are translucent. Cool in syrup.

To serve, unmould cakes, and serve with mandarin segments and syrup and chocolate ice-cream to the side.

Serves 6.
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

Sometimes the quickest and simplest recipes can be the best; there is great joy in throwing together ingredients quickly and yet making such an incredible tasting dessert. Balsamic vinegar and black pepper intensify the flavor of strawberries and bring out their sweetness. You can use any type of fruit balsamic vinegar if you wish; raspberry or fig vinegars go particularly well.

Makes 6-8 servings.

16 oz. fresh strawberries, hulled and large berries cut in half
2 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1. Place strawberries in a bowl. Drizzle good Balsamic Vinegar over strawberries, and sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice.

2. Stir gently to combine. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour but not more than 4 hours.

3. Serve plain, with vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche and a grind or two of black pepper.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Vanilla Soufflé

A soufflé can be one of those dishes we shy away from but it truly isn't that difficult and the finished result is delicious. Don't be intimidated by all the steps, it's really quite easy. This recipe is delicious with fresh cream or a sauce; here we have served it topped with a caramel.

2 vanilla pods
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla essence
7 egg yolks
3/4 cup caster sugar
6 Tbsp flour
8 egg whites, at room temperature
icing sugar, for dusting

Grease and dust with sugar 6 x 10cm round ramekins or soufflé dishes. Open the vanilla pods, scoop the seeds into the milk and add the vanilla essence. Heat the milk until it reaches just below boiling point.

Beat together egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar until the mixture is thick and pale. This is called ribbon consistency; you should be able to lift the beaters from the mixture and draw the figure eight and still see its imprint when you have finished drawing. Beat in the flour.

Gradually stir in the hot milk and place in the top of a double boiler or heat-proof bowl and cook over a saucepan of simmering water for about 3-4 minutes, stirring with a whisk until the mixture is thick and glossy. Set aside for about 10 minutes too cool.

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar until a soft meringue consistency. Do not over- beat, as the soufflé will not rise well.

Stir one third of the meringue mixture into the custard with a whisk. Fold the remaining egg whites in with a holed spoon. Transfer the mixture to the prepared soufflé dishes making the mixture level with the top. Use a knife or thin spatula to cut around the inside of each dish – this will ensure the soufflé rises straight up and does not grip to the sides of the dish.

Place the dishes on a preheated oven tray and bake at 200°C for 8-9 minutes. The soufflés should still be moist and slightly unset in the centre; this acts as a sauce for the soufflé. Dusted with icing sugar and serve immediately with fresh cream or a chocolate or caramel sauce.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Soft Centered Chocolate Tortini

Tortini means "little cakes" in Italian. This means it can be just about anything, either savoury or sweet. But this recipe makes a beautiful little pudding best enjoyed with ice-cream and raspberry sauce. This tortini uses dark chocolate, which contains a higher percentage of cocoa solids than other types of chocolate. Studies have shown that dark chocolate has ingredients that lower blood pressure and fight disease. So its not only delicious, its also good for you! (well, better than a milk chocolate tortini anyway). This recipe serves 6.

160 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
160 gm butter, coarsley chopped
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
75 gm (1/3 cup) caster sugar
50 gm (1/3 cup) plain flour
To serve: vanilla ice-cream
Raspberry sauce
240 gm raspberries
240 gm caster sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, stir to combine and cool. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs, yolks and sugar for 8 minutes or until thick and creamy. Gradually add flour and whisk to combine, then add chocolate mixture and whisk for another 5 minutes. Divide mixture between 6 lightly greased and floured 10cm-diameter round pie tins, place on an oven tray and refrigerate for 1 hour.

For raspberry sauce, combine raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until syrupy. Cool. Makes about 1 cup.

Preheat oven to 170C. Bake tortini for 10 minutes or until they are firm but their centres are soft. To serve, remove tortini carefully from pie tins and place on plates, top with a scoop of ice-cream, drizzle with raspberry sauce and serve immediately.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dark Chocolate and Star Anise Mousse

For sheer simplicity and luxurousness, nothing comes close to a velvety dark chocolate mousse. This recipe makes more than is needed for two so keep leftover desserts in the fridge for a treat the next day. Serve liquorice on the side to complement the anise flavour.

200g dark chocolate
3 eggs at room temperature, separated
¾ cup cream at room temperature
40ml Baileys, Kahlua or brandy
½ teaspoon ground star anise
Liquorice sticks to serve

Melt dark chocolate in a double-boiler or in the microwave on medium power until smooth. Cool slightly then whisk in egg yolks, cream, liqueur and spice.

Beat egg whites until firm then fold into chocolate mixture until evenly combined. Pour mousse into serving glasses and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours. Serve with liquorice. Serves 4-6

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

White Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

These gourmet cupcakes are the most charming of treats, a little piece of delightfulness to enjoy on your own or share with those that deserve a little. These cupcakes will keep in an airtight container for up to three days and serves 8.


125 gm soft unsalted butter
110 gm (½ cup) caster sugar
3 eggs
80 gm white chocolate, melted
110 gm (¾ cup) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

Raspberry frosting:
250 gm soft unsalted butter
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
150 gm raspberries, puréed and strained


Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each, then add white chocolate and stir to combine. Sift flour and baking powder over cake batter and fold in until combined. Line two 6-hole (1/3 cup-capacity) muffin tins with 8 paper cases, then divide mixture among cases and bake at 180C for 20 minutes or until cakes spring back when lightly pressed.

For raspberry frosting, using an electric mixer, beat butter until pale and fluffy, add icing sugar and beat until soft peaks form, then add raspberry purée and beat until combined. Spread frosting over cupcakes and serve.

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