I have been experimenting with new ingredients. This week I worked with prickly pear, or cactus. Most people don’t know you can eat some parts of the cactus. Prickly pears taste similar to watermelon and have the same color as well. Prickly pear can be used in so many ways; this is just one.
Ingredients: from Kathryn Kleinman
- 1 ¼ cups boiling water
- 1 ¼ cups cake flour
- 1 ½ cups plus 1 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ cups plus 2 TBS all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ tsp baking powder
- 1 ¼ tsp baking soda
- 10 TBS (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 ¾ cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
- 1 ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 3 prickly pears, juiced (1/4 cup)
- 3/4 cup butter
- 2tsp vanilla
- 9 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk the cocoa and boiling water together, making a smooth paste. Set aside to cool. Sift the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and baking soda together onto a sheet of waxed paper.
- Put the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Decrease the speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Mix in the vanilla and the cocoa paste.
- Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake pan. Bake for roughly 25 minutes. Once you can put a tooth pick in the middle with it coming out clean, you know it is done. Let cool completely before frosting.
4. Peel the prickly pear like you would any fruit with an outer skin you cannot eat. Cut the top and bottom off, then peel. Everything inside is edible, even the seeds. For this, you want just the juice. I cut the prickly pear into pieces and then put the pieces into a strainer to get all the juice out of them. If you have a blender, it may take a shorter amount of time. In the end you need 1/4 cup of juice.
- Prickly pear, like all cacti, have thorns. When you buy yours, make sure they have been removed, or you will want to handle them with gloves. These thorns will prick you, so be careful. Most places sell them already de-thorned.
5. Put butter in a mixer and whip till fluffy. Add the powdered sugar to the butter slowly. Once fully mixed, add the prickly pear a little at a time until you get the consistency that you want.
- Most frosting can be temperamental, so you may need to add a little more powder sugar or a little more prickly pear juice. You don’t want it to thin, or it will just run off the cupcakes.
In the end, these cupcakes were so good! You can see I’m missing one. My husband got to them before I could even take a picture. The beauty of the prickly pear is the amazing color it produces when juiced. The vibrant pink is perfect for a little girl’s birthday party.