The white chocolate adds richness to the batter and leaves a perfect opening for the richness and wonderfully nutty flavor of the walnuts to shine through these cupcakes. The frosting is a classic cream cheese enhanced by the zing of some ginger, orange zest and more crunchy walnuts on top.
3/4 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips
1 cup cold milk
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup coarsely chopped Fisher® Walnut Halves and Pieces, divided
1/4 cup dried cherries
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 medium orange zest
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the pans with cupcake papers; set aside.
Get ready: Melt the white chocolate in a small metal bowl placed over simmering water or in a double boiler, stirring occasionally. Whisk the cold milk into the chocolate a little at a time until the chocolate is completely incorporated into the milk; set aside.
Make the batter: Cream butter and sugar at medium speed in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until smooth, 5-8 minutes. Scrape down the side with a rubber spatula and mix to blend. Add the eggs to the mixture, one at a time, blending on slow speed until thoroughly mixed.
Finish the batter: Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Beat half of the flour mixture into the batter with the mixer still on low speed. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in half of the white chocolate mixture using a rubber spatula. Stir in the remaining flour and the remaining white chocolate and milk. Stir in ⅔ cup of the nuts and all of the dried cherries. Fill the tins a little more than ¾ full; when the tray is full, tap the tray a few times on a flat surface to level the batter out.
Bake the cupcakes: Place the tray in the center of the oven and bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the tray. Bake for an additional 5-8 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of a cupcake emerges clean. Cool.
Make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter at medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add the sugar and ginger and beat for an additional 2-3 minutes until smooth. Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. When the cupcakes are cooled, pipe the frosting on top of each. Top with grated orange zest and the remaining ⅓ cup walnuts.