Thursday 22 August 2013

Blackberry Bliss Cupcakes

It's a bumper year for wild berries in our area.  We've been picking for a month now and there are still lots more on the vines. 
My fella loves to pick berries and takes a bucket out with him every day when he goes for his walk.  He always comes home with at least a quart or two.  Most of those berries get frozen on cookie sheets and then bagged for use during the winter months but some also get made into juice, jelly, blackberry curd, ice cream, and sorbet.  I try to come up with at least one or two new ways to use them each year.
These cupcakes are one of this year's recipes: A blackberry flavoured cupcake filled with blackberry curd and frosted with blackberry flavoured Swiss meringue buttercream.  They have a big berry taste through and through. 
To make Blackberry Bliss Cupcakes, you'll need:
  • 1-3/4 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup blackberry juice*
  • 4 egg whites
  • about a cup of blackberry curd
  • 1 recipe of Swiss meringue buttercream frosting flavoured with 1/3 cup blackberry jelly
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
Beat the butter until it's smooth, then add in the sugar and continue mixing until they're well combined.
Mix about 1/3 of the blackberry juice into the butter and sugar mixture.
Add half the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.
Stir in another third of the blackberry juice.
Add the second half of the flour mixture, stirring until it's incorporated, then mix in the last third of the blackberry juice to make a smooth batter.
Whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks but are still moist.
Stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it.
Add the remaining egg whites to the batter and fold them in just until no streaks of egg white remain.
Divide the batter between 12 cupcake liners.
Bake the cupcakes in a 350F oven for about 20 minutes, until they spring back when you press lightly on the top center. 
Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
When the cupcakes are cooled use a small spoon to scoop a cone out of the middle of each cupcake (or use a knife to cut them, if you prefer).
Spoon in enough blackberry curd to fill the cavity in the cake about 3/4 full.
Cut the top quarter inch or so off the cone you scooped out of the cupcakes and place them on top of the curd to make a lid.
Frost the cupcakes with your blackberry flavoured Swiss meringue buttercream.
Store any uneaten cupcakes in the fridge, allowing them to return to room temperature before serving them.  They freeze well.
*Make your blackberry juice just as you would if preparing to make jelly.  Put a scant half inch of water in the bottom of a heavy pan and then fill the pan with washed berries.  Put a lid on the pan and cook the berries at low heat until they come to a boil.  Allow them to cool enough to handle, then strain them through a jelly cloth.  (I use a piece of old sheet material.)  Clarity is not a concern here so feel free to squeeze as much juice as you can from the berries.  Just take care to ensure that no seeds or pulp make their way into the juice.
**If blackberries are unavailable in your area, feel free to substitute an equal quantity of any other berry in their place. 
***Thank you to SweetArt Supplies for the lovely tulip cupcake liners.  Gwen has lots of wonderful baking, cake decorating and packaging supplies on her website.  Take a minute to check them out.  (This is not a paid endorsement.)  :^)