Rum N’ Raspberry Custard Cupcakes

From 6 Bittersweets Guest Post
Adapted from VCTOTWAlways Order Dessert, and Gourmet
Makes 12 cupcakes

XIAOLU'S NOTES: I bought the printable images for these flag cupcake toppers from the Etsy store ReadyGo for $6 and added the text electronically in Photoshop. Then I simply printed them out on white card stock, cut out the shapes, and attached them to lollipop sticks using tape. The price for the printables is not bad at all considering you get up to 4 colors, but I'm sure it wouldn't be that hard to draw your own designs in Photoshop or a similar program either.

For the cupcakes
1 cup MINUS 1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1 1/2 tsp dark rum 

For the rum syrup
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp water
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp dark rum

Raspberry Pastry Cream (Recipe below)
Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting (Recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease top of a 12-cup standard muffin pan, then line with baking liners. Whisk the milk and vinegar together in a measuring cup and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to curdle. 

Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a large bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the milk mixture, oil, sugar, egg yolk, vanilla, almond extract, and rum, and mix together thoroughly. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until no large lumps remain [small ones are okay].

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake cupcakes for 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool completely.

While the cupcakes cool, prepare the rum syrup. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, water, and sugar. Cook over medium heat until the butter completely melts and the sugar dissolves. Let reduce slightly, keeping an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over. Remove from the heat and stir in the rum (it may bubble). Let cool for 5 minutes.

Cut a cone out of the top of each cooled cupcake and set it to the side. Using a spoon or pastry brush, coat the sides and bottom of the opening with rum syrup, about 2 teaspoons per cupcake. Fill each opening with about 2 teaspoons of pastry cream, place the cut-out cone back on the cupcake, and press down slightly to secure. Finally spread or pipe cream cheese frosting onto each cupcake! 

Raspberry Pastry Cream
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

3/4 cup milk [not skim]
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 tsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup fresh raspberries, coarsely mashed

Heat milk in a small saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not boiling. While milk heats, whisk together yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heatproof bowl until smooth. 

Add 1/4 cup of hot milk to yolk mixture in a stream, whisking, then add remaining milk, whisking constantly. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and comes to a boil, 5 to 10 minutes. 

Immediately force custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and stir in butter and vanilla. Chill custard, its surface covered with wax paper, until cold and thickened, at least 3 hours. Stir in mashed raspberries just before use.

Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting
3/4 to 1 cup (1 1/2 to 2 sticks) trans fat-free margarine or butter, room temperature
1 1/2 to 3 cups (6.5 to 13.25 oz.) powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
8 oz. (1 block) vegan or full-fat dairy cream cheese, cold and cut into large chunks

Sift powdered sugar into a small bowl. In a larger mixing bowl, cream the butter, 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, and vanilla until thoroughly blended and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, a chunk at a time, beating after each addition (just enough to work it in until it’s smooth). Taste the frosting, adding and beating in more sugar as needed. Be careful to avoid overbeating or the cream cheese may start to break down and become gloppy. If not using immediately, chill until needed, then beat again until smooth just before using.