Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Blackberry and Vanilla Cupcakes

If you read last weeks post you'll know I went blackberry picking. I used them almost all up in that sorbet and had the rest with yoghurt and muesli for breakfast. I went out picking again and thought I'd make some blackberry cupcakes - I think I'm having a blackberry craze! I've used my usual cupcake batter recipe but I've filled them with blackberry jam and topped them with blackberries. It seems like a lot of work but you don't have to make the jam, although it is nice homemade, and the cupcake batter is really easy. Make sure you use firm, dry blackberries for the top or they'll leech their juice into the frosting.

Makes 9 cupcakes
For the batter:
3.5 oz or 100g butter, softened and cut up into cubes
3/4 cup or 150g caster sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 1/4 cups or 150g self-raising flour
2 eggs

For the jam:
10.6 oz or 300g blackberries
1 cup or 200g granulated sugar

For the Italian meringue buttercream:
2 egg whites
2 tbsp or 20g caster sugar
1/2 cup or 100g caster sugar
1/8 cup & 2 tsp or 40 ml water
7 oz or 200g butter, softened and cut into cubes
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla pod

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C or 355 F and line a bun tin with 9 paper cases. Place all of the cupcake batter ingredients into a bowl and beat until smooth. Use an ice cream scoop to evenly spread the batter between cupcakes. Bake for 20-25 minutes and leave to cool.

2. Wash the blackberries then place them in a blender. Put the pulp in a fruit juicer/coulis maker or press through a fine sieve to remove any seeds. Measure 250 ml or 1 cup of fruit puree and pour into a saucepan reserving 2 tbsp for the buttercream and add the sugar. Boil until when the jam is dropped onto a spoon that has been placed in the freezer and a finger is pushed through the jam it wrinkles. Leave to cool.

3. Whisk the eggs until stiff then slowly add the caster sugar until thick and glossy. Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan until they reach 238 F or 115 C or the soft ball stage. Slowly pour the hot sugar syrup into the egg whites in a thin stream whisking constantly until incorporated. Now whisk the egg whites until room temperature and add the reserved blackberry puree and vanilla. Slowly beat in the butter until incorporated.

4. Take the cool cupcakes and make a hole in the center with the end of a piping nozzle. Pipe the jam into the cupcakes. Pipe the buttercream, either in swirls or little stars and top with 3 blackberries.

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