As promised, this blog is part of my pregnancy series where I provide an update once each trimester. I am now solidly in my second trimester and having a little one is becoming very real. The great thing about this point in pregnancy is that many women feel pretty well, and with morning sickness hopefully a thing of the past, they see their energy return and are not too uncomfortable yet. While hunger cues are back with a vengeance, it remains important to keep good nutrition in mind. Yes, pregnant women need a few more calories but it is nowhere near “eating for two.” Quite the disappointment, I know, but we only need an additional 300 calories each day, and we should aim for balanced options that include protein such as a banana with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.
That being said, a sweet treat in moderation can easily fit into a healthy diet. For Mother’s Day it was our turn to bring a snack for our birthing class. As it was for all first-time moms, I wanted to include a bit of a celebratory snack. Along with the white bean dip and vegetables that I prepared, I made mini vanilla bean cupcakes with a raspberry buttercream. Many of the women have a sweet tooth just like me and were very appreciative of the treat!
Mini Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream
Makes ~36 mini cupcakes
- 1 and 2/3 cup (210g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/4 cup (60g) vanilla greek yogurt
- 3/4 cup (180ml) milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Seeds scraped from 1/2 split vanilla bean
- 1 1/4 cups fresh raspberries
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, very soft
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (more if needed), sifted
- 1 tablespoon half-and-half
- Preheat oven to 350° Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Whisk in sugar – mixture will be gritty. Whisk in egg whites, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Add scraped vanilla bean seeds to mixture.
- Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until no lumps remain. Batter will be thick-resist the temptation to overmix!
- Divide batter among cupcake liners and bake for ~12-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool.
- Make the buttercream: Combine the raspberries and lemon juice in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, stir the mixture occasionally, breaking up the berries with a wooden spoon, until the raspberries have become soft enough to mash effortlessly. It will look like raspberry jam. Once you have a raspberry puree, remove from heat. Allow mixture to cool completely before using.
- Place the softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat butter on medium-high (scraping down the sides as needed) until completely smooth; ~2 minutes. Add in the raspberry puree and beat until completely combined; about 1 minute. Add in the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, on low speed. Once all of the sugar has been added, add in the half and half and salt, then beat on high-speed for a full 2 minutes – this thickens up the frosting and makes it nice and fluffy. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.