Lots of people find the distinct flavor and texture of raisins offensive. Those shriveled little pellets can bring out some really strong feelings and for many, they can be a legitimate reason to actually turn down a free, fresh-from-the-oven cookie.
I usually like raisins, especially golden raisins. They're great in granola and muffins and I don't mind them in certain cookies. While I've never tried rum-raisin ice cream, I know it exists. Raisins in ice cream? Seems weird.
Cupcakes also seem like a stretch, as the raisins should feel jarring within their soft, fluffy texture. Because my curiosity can never be satisfied, I tried the combination anyway, but I bulked them up and added even more texture with some shredded coconut. Because I'm a Malibu girl and because I needed to find out for myself why Haagen Dazs put rum and raisins into the same batch of ice cream, there's a good bit of rum in these little cakes too.
As it turns out, coconut, raisins, and rum make a pretty good team. You don't necessarily taste the rum in the cupcakes, but I added it to the frosting too, so it's definitely discernible. The chewy raisins don't seem so bad in combination with the strands of coconut, and their flavors combine nicely. All in all, both the texture and taste of these cupcakes are wonderful! Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I guess.
Risky Rum Raisin Cupcakes
Based on a recipe from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat
- 5 ounces (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup dark rum
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 cups brown sugar, tightly packed
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Generous 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- Rum, to taste
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
In a bowl pour rum over the raisins and set aside to soak.
In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Cream butter and brown sugar in bowl of electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy and pale in color.
Add eggs one at a time, beating after each until well incorporated; beat in vanilla and reduce speed to low.
Add flour alternating with cream until combined, then add raisin mixture and coconut.
Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for about 30 minutes. Let cool completely.
To make the frosting, beat the pulp out of the butter with an electric mixer for a few minutes; add the rum and milk and briefly blend.
Add the powdered sugar gradually until frosting is thick enough to spread easily. You may not use all the sugar. If the frosting is too dry, add additional milk until desired consistency is reached.
To finish, pipe or spread frosting atop each cupcake.