Monday, February 18, 2013

Wishkah Cranberry Harbor Cupcake

This cupcake is inspired by the flavors of the Grays Harbor area.  The Wishkah River Distillery in Aberdeen, Washington that bottles a honey vodka and the cranberry growers in the South Beach area in Grays Harbor County. 

Infuse one cup of dried cranberries with vodka by placing in a small air tight container with about 1/4 cup of vodka.  Cover and set aside for at least 2 hours.

Wishkah Cranberry Harbor Cupcakes:
1 white cake mix
4 egg whites
1/3 cup oil (or as indicated on box mix instructions)
zest of two limes
juice of two limes
1/2 cup Wishkah River Distillery Vodka
Infused cranberries, roughly chopped
Pink food coloring gel, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a measuring cup, add vodka, lime juice, and top off with water to equal the measurement the cake mix instructs for water.  In a large mixing bowl, add the measuring cup of liquids, egg whites, oil, and the lime zest.  Add the cake mix and with a hand electric mixer, mix on low until the dry ingredients have moistened and increase speed to medium for two minutes.  Add three-forths of the chopped cranberries without the liquid to the batter and stir to incorporate reserving the remainder of the cranberries to top the cupcakes after frosting.  At this point, if you wish to add coloring, do so now, the color will be lighten a bit during the baking so make it a little darker than the desired shade.
Prepare a cupcake tin with cupcake liners and fill 3/4 full (I use a large cookie scoop).  Bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
When cool enough to touch, remove from tin to cool completely.  To keep moist, cover with plastic wrap after removing from pan (just lay a large piece over the top).  Frost with Lime Buttercream Frosting.

Lime Buttercream Frosting:

1/2 cup shortening (preferrably a hi-ratio shortening like Sweetex)
1/2 cup butter, (1 stick), room temperature
4 cups powder sugar (about one pound)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
Zest of one lime
Pink food coloring gel (optional)
Lime salt (see below)
In a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer), cream shortening and butter on medium high speed. Add lime zest, lime juice and vanilla. Add sugar, one cup at a time, beating on medium-low speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, add  beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. At this point, you can add food gel to color as desired.  Store in an air tight container until ready to use.
Using a piping bag with a Wilton 1M tip and start piping from the outer edge piping a circles inward and upwards.  Lightly sprinkle each frosted cupcake with lime salt. Garnish with the infused chopped cranberries.