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Friday, May 22, 2009

Blackberry Vanilla Cupcakes

Anyone who knows me well - or to be honest, even just a little bit - knows that I love the color purple. I love purple clothes, candles, makeup, dishes, I could go on and on. Let's just say that my lab now has a lifetime supply of purple laboratory tape courtesy of me :) Even my wedding was purple-themed; I like to think it was done tastefully! Anyway, when I saw these Blackberry Vanilla Cupcakes, I knew I had to try them, if for nothing else their beautiful purple hue. I made these for our weekly lab meeting, which also happened to be right between the birthdays of our post-doc and my boss, so it was perfect timing. Plus I was taking advantage of the recent sales on blackberries! These cupcakes are really good. I love the flavor of the actual cake, and who doesn't love cream cheese frosting?!? It's quite a bit of work making the blackberry puree because it has to be strained, which sounds simple enough, but if you're using fresh berries like I did, getting a thick gloppy mixture through a fine-mesh metal strainer is a PITA. Good thing these cupcakes were worth the trouble! I think these would be perfect for a bridal shower or a bachelorette party, especially if the bride-to-be loves purple as much as I do!Blackberry Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup vanilla sugar*
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
1/2 cup blackberry puree**

*If you don't have vanilla sugar (which I don't), substitute an equal amount of regular sugar and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to the batter after the eggs.

**Fresh or frozen blackberries, pureed in a food processor or blender and strained through a fine mesh sieve. For me, this took two 5.6-ounce packages of fresh blackberries.

For the frosting:
8 ounces light or regular cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
5 Tablespoons blackberry puree***

***I used 3 1/2 Tablespoon (from fresh berries) and the frosting was a little soft. I suppose this will depend on the water content of the berries - or because I used light cream cheese. Either way, 3 1/2 T was plenty to achieve a purple color!

For decoration:
Fresh blackberries (optional)

To make the cupcakes:
1.Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

2. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In another bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk and blackberry puree. Set aside.

4. In (yet another) large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.

5. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions. At this point, add the 1 teaspoon vanilla extract if not using vanilla sugar.

6. Add half of the dry ingredients to the large bowl and mix on low speed until just combined. Add the blackberry mixture, and mix on low until just combined. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients on low speed until just incorporated. Do not overmix.

7. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcakes.
8. Bake 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
To make the frosting:
1. Combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and blackberry puree in a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, mix on medium speed until smooth and well blended.

2. Frost cooled cupcakes and garnish with fresh blackberries, if desired.

Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from Coconut & Lime

Purple flowers from our wedding:


  1. Oh my! They look so great. Blackberries are a great steal here. Perfect timing for Memorial Day Weekend get togethers.

  2. What beautiful wedding photos!
    I love this cupcake. It looks delicious and perfect since blackberries are super cheap right now. Straining the puree is a pain though.
    Have a great weekend!

  3. Your cupcakes are picture perfect Meghan, but then so are your wedding photo's!
    I love the color purple too, even the!

  4. Those look AMAZING!! I can't wait to try these!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Oops, I had to fix a typo above!

    You're such a cute couple! Gorgeous wedding pictures and purple flowers :) And, yay for purple lab tape! I like to color coordinate the lab tape colors on my histology slide boxes.

    Your cupcakes look fantastic and they are the perfect shade for a wedding/baby shower!

  7. Beautiful wedding photos!! Love love love the purple

  8. Oh, I love your wedding photos! Those cupcakes looks amazing!! I bet they tasted deeeelicious!

  9. The easiest way to get fresh blackberries through a mesh strainer? Whisk them. It takes seconds.


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