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Caramelized Pear Red Velvet Cupcakes with Ginger White Chocolate Frosting

Using beets to color these red velvet cupcakes not only imparts a stunning hue, they also add natural sweetness, while giving the cupcakes a tender crumb. With a piece of caramel poached pear in the center and frosted with a ginger white chocolate buttercream, these aren't your average red velvet cupcakes.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Level Intermediate
Main Ingredient Flour, Fruit
Diet Pescatarian, Vegetarian
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 13 hours 15 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

for caramel pears

  • 1 large pear (firm anjou or bartlett work)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 113 grams granulated sugar (~1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chardonnay

for red velvet cupcakes

  • 300 grams peeled roasted beets (~3 medium beets)
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 240 grams cake flour (~2 cups)
  • 225 grams granulated sugar (~1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 57 grams cultured unsalted butter (room temperature)

for ginger cream cheese

  • 170 grams white chocolate (finely chopped)
  • 340 grams cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 113 grams cultured unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 31 grams powdered sugar (~1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger juice (squeezed from grated ginger)

Instructions

  1. Peel the pears and then slice them into 3 slices lengthwise. Cut the core out of the pears and then cut the rest of the pear into 12 1/2-inch cubes.
  2. Add the water to a heavy bottomed sauce pan and then mound 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in the middle. Do not stir the mixture. Cover the pot with a lid and bring the sugar mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the lid and continue boiling the mixture until it reaches 345 degrees F. It should be a dark brown.
  3. Turn off the heat and slowly pour in the chardonnay, it will bubble and spatter so be very careful. Return the pot to medium heat and cook the mixture until any solids dissolve. Add the cubed pear and poach until the pears are tender (about 5 minutes). Ideally you'll want to let the pears soak in the caramel mixture overnight.
  4. To make the red velvet cupcakes, line a muffin pan with your favorite liners and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Put the roasted beets, and vinegar in food processor and process until the beets firm a smooth purée. Add the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla and process until smooth.
  6. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt. Fit the paddle attachment to the mixer and add the room temperature butter to the flour mixture, beating until the mixture is evenly combined.
  7. Pour the pureed beet mixture into the flour and butter mixture and beat over medium-low speed until just combined and free of lumps.
  8. Fill the cupcake cups 1/3 of the way full with the red velvet batter, and then drop a cube of caramel poached pear in the center of each cup.
  9. Cover with the remaining red velvet batter. Put the pan in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean (about 20 minutes). Let the cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. To make the frosting, fill a pot partially with water and find a bowl that rests comfortably on the lip of the pot. Bring the water to a boil and then lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Add the chopped white chocolate to the bowl and then stir constantly with a spatula until the chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove the bowl for the pot and continue to stir until the chocolate is fully melted. Let this cool slightly while you prepare the rest of the frosting.
  11. In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth.
  12. Add the melted white chocolate and continue mixing until combined.
  13. Lower the speed and whisk in the powdered sugar and ginger juice until incorporated. Turn up the speed and whisk until light and fluffy.
  14. When the red velvet cupcakes are cool, you can either spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes using a knife, or you can fill a piping bag with your favorite pastry tip and decorate them. If you don't have a pastry bag, you can put the frosting into a plastic freezer bag and cut the corner off, piping little kisses of frosting onto the center of each cupcake.

Notes:

*NOTE: The measurement for beets is after they’ve been roasted and peeled (they’re sold roasted in many grocery stores). If you are roasting them yourself you’ll need about 450 grams of beets.

P.S. This post was sponsored by our friends at method, but as always, the opinions expressed are my own.