Sunday, 7 August 2011

Blackberry curd cupcakes

It’s that time of year when Mr CC and I don sensible shoes, dig out our ‘fruit harvesting tupperware’ and venture into the wilds of the Lea Valley park to go blackberrying.

It’s also that time of year when we enthusiastically discuss how we need to learn more about the fruits, berries and leaves surrounding us and how we must go foraging as there’s so much free food on our doorstep. Upshot of this conversation? Nothing (maybe that’s harsh, sometimes I buy a book from Amazon on foraging and identifying plants), until blackberry season comes round again and then we repeat the conversation perhaps with a little more earnestness about how we “really mean it this time”.

Anyhow, we gathered our blackberries and I have used them to make a blackberry curd. Until recently, I didn’t realise you could make curd from most fruits and thought it was solely for lemons. This blackberry curd has a thick curdy texture and comforting sweet edge. To showcase it, I placed some in the cupcake and then beat some more into the Swiss meringue buttercream. I think you could beat it into any type of buttercream; I just like the silkiness of Swiss meringue buttercream…mmm butter!

My bain-marie pan doesn’t get much use but, as I use it for making lemon curd, I gave it an outing for this recipe. The pan is double walled and has a small hole on top of the handle; you fill it with water then use it as a normal pan – a bain-marie in one pan! No more balancing bowls on simmering saucepans!

Something I have learned whilst writing this post: I find “curd” a tricky word to type, not sure why as it only has four letters. I have read and re-read this post as blackberry crud cupcakes do not sound appealing!


For the blackberry curd (this made enough for the cupcakes, and to spread on one slice of toast!):
225g blackberries
2 tablespoons water
140g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
35g unsalted butter

For the cupcakes:
125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar – I used vanilla infused caster sugar
2 eggs
125g self raising flour
2 tablespoons milk (whole or semi skimmed)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the swiss meringue buttercream:
4 egg whites
250g caster sugar – I used vanilla infused caster sugar
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 teaspoons blackberry curd


Start by making the blackberry curd: place the blackberries in a saucepan with the water, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 mins.

Pass through a sieve – use a spoon to push through as much of the puree as possible.

Discard the pulp and put the puree either in a bain marie saucepan, or in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water).

Add the caster sugar, stirring to melt and slowly whisk in the beaten eggs.

Add the unsalted butter and continue to stir until it is melted.

Keep the curd on the heat and continue to stir. Gradually it will thicken, although this can take a while. Mine took at least 15 minutes.

Once the curd leaves a trail on its surface, it is ready. Another test is whether it falls from the spoon in a gloopy blob rather than as a liquid. It will firm up on cooling so take it off the heat just before it reaches the firmness you’d like the finished curd to have.

Spoon into a bowl and leave to cool, when cool store in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.

Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases.

To make the cupcake sponge beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, flour, milk and vanilla to the bowl and beat until the mixture is well combined and smooth.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Mine took 17 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. The cupcakes can be made a day in advance and stored, when cool, in an airtight container. I made the buttercream on the day I wanted it.

Core the cupcakes and spoon enough blackberry curd into the well to fill it.

Eat the discarded cores of sponge – cook’s perks!

Now make the buttercream: Place the egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water) and stir constantly to stop the egg from cooking.

After 5-10 minutes the sugar should have dissolved. You will know whether this has happened by looking at the back of the spoon – if you can see any sugar crystals the mix needs more heating and stirring.

When no crystals are visible, remove the bowl from the heat and whisk the meringue mixture until it has puffed up and cooled.

Add the butter and vanilla to the meringue and continue to whisk. The mixture will collapse initially but don’t panic; keep whisking and it will form a smooth, fluffy buttercream. This may take a while so, I repeat, don’t panic and don’t give up! This buttercream will only fail if you skimp on this stage – however sloppy it seems, keep whisking and it will come good. The time it takes varies hugely with the weather (I find) so there are no hard and fast guidelines.

When the buttercream is plump and fluffy, beat in the blackberry curd.

Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag. If it feels very soft refrigerate for 5 mins or so to firm up a little – don’t leave it for too long as piping hard buttercream is not fun!

Pipe on to the cupcakes and decorate as you wish. I went for the simplicity of a blackberry on top of each one.

The finished cupcakes will keep for a couple of days at room temperature. Not that they’ll have the chance!

Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.



Nom! The Indulgent Baking Blog said...

oh wow these look gorgeous! I love the half cupcake shot (may steal it!) lots of icing too nom!

C said...

That is a truly beautiful cupcake, I love the colour. I too thought until very recently that curd was only for lemons. I've yet to make any, but as it keeps popping up on blogs all around I'm sure I'll cave in soon!

Soo said...

Those look delicious. How yummy to have fresh wild berries.

Gloria said...

For me dear, this a perfect cupcake delicious and with berries!! LOL gloria

Jacqueline said...

Those are the most amazing cupcakes I have ever seen. I am not mad about cupcakes, but boy do I want to get my hands on one of these little beauties. and the curd, oh the curd .......

Beth (Jam and Clotted Cream) said...

Gorgeous colour.....I will have to have a go at making blackberry curd (I have an awful lot of blackberries)

Jo said...

Oh my, these look absolutely delicious!! I love the cupcake cross section photo. Blackberry "crud" sounds amazing, and I think I need to try swiss meringue buttercream. Such a stylish looking cupcake.

Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours said...

they do look rather good! Amd I must make some blackberry curd, I have a T&T microwave method.

Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane said...

Curd does sound a bit strange yes but it tastes so yummy! This looks great :)

Two Wednesdays said...

That has got to be one of the most delicious sounding/looking cupcakes I have ever seen. I also bet my DH will eat them too - he normally refuses blackberry anything due to the number of (large)seeds - but these are fantastic - no seeds. I fear I may be drooling

At Anna's kitchen table said...

Your blackberry crud, sorry CURD, cupcakes look amazing!
Love that your making curd with fruit other than lemons. It looks so cool!

Nicola said...

They look so delicious! Beautiful colour.

Barefeet In The Kitchen said...

Those are gorgeous cupcakes. That meringue buttercream is incredible.

Victoria said...

hahahah yes crud does not sound as good as curd...The cream is so smooth looking (and i bet tasting) How fantastic! We went foraging a few weeks ago...raspberries mostly, but not really enough to do much with (except stuff them in our faces!) :)

Cupcake Kelly said...

I bookemarked these. I never thought of making blackberry cupcakes.

Jean said...

These are the most fabulous looking cupcakes I have ever seen. I love purple and I love blackberries. One day when I'm feeling very brave I might try the recipe.

Cakelaw said...

I have never seen blackberry curd before - but I definitely want! And those cupcakes are just devine.

Anne said...

Ooh the cakes look fabulous, really like the picture showing the inside too! Also love the sound of the blackberry curd too, have been getting ample supplies from a friends garden so will be handy to make something different with it!

And yes I keep saying must get a book on what you can forage but never get around to it!

Baking Addict said...

Oh wow they look divine! I've never had thought you could make curd from blackberries but then again why not. I have been seeing a lot of fruit curds around.

Maggie said...

I bet that blackberry curd was delicious.
Wild blackberries are in a league all of their own.
Foraging - well I will leave that one to you CC!

Lucie said...

wow! these look totally wonderful - your sponge looks as light as a feather too!

Rachael said...

Hi CC :) I have tried and tried to attempt your swiss meringue buttercream and continue to fail. I follow all your instructions, and continue to whisk the egg whites. However, the whites become over whisked and the buttercream has an unpleasant texture. I use the balloon whisk on my KitchenAid and wonder if, once at the stiff peaks stage, I could swap to the flat beater? Thanks!

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Rachael

Sorry to hear you've not had success with the SMBC. Without seeing what you're doing it's hard to say but I wonder whether you're not dissolving the sugar properly right at the start - I can't think what else would make the texture unpleasant.
I use the balloon whisk right through but by all means switch it if it yields a better result for you

Happy baking

Pauline said...

This beats blackberry and apple jam!. you've made the blackberry sophisticated, cor !

cookingfantastic said...

The 'bramble' curd is without a doubt the best thing I have ever tasted and the BEST cupcakes I have ever made CC - thanks once again!! I used an apple corer to take the middle out and filled with the curd from a little icing bag and it worked a treat. My swiss meringue went a little like Rachaels so I just added a little icing sugar and it was fabulous! CC you are the BEST x x

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Cooking Fantastic

Glad you enjoyed the cupcakes.
The next time I make a SMBC I will do a photo-by-photo tutorial to ensure that everyone gets to make it and enjoy it's lusciousness!

Happy baking

Anonymous said...

hey, i have a question about the swiss meringue buttercream.... instead of whisking after taking out of the heat is it beat using a hand beater??

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Anonymous

It needs to be whisked to build up the air in it - you must use a whisk (whether it's the whisk attachment on a stand mixer or a hand held whisk doesn't matter - although it will take a while so I'd recommend some sort of electronic help). It you beat with a spoon I'm not sure you'd get it to work

Happy baking

Anonymous said...

my previous question was a grammar disaster, no idea what happened there. anyway i made the swiss meringue buttercream using an electric hand beaters because i don't have an electric whisk. it was spreadable but kind of runny as in not as stiff as the normal buttercream and very difficult frost with. is that how it normally is or have i made an error somewhere?? thanks in advance..

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Anonymous

I've only ever made SMBC with my kitchenaid stand mixer - maybe that whisks faster than a handheld one can. It sounds like it needed more whisking - even with a stand mixer it can take 10-15 minutes. When you add the butter it will collapse and turn runny and will take a long time to thicken up again - could simply be that you stopped too soon.

I get more questions about making SMBC than anything else so next time I make it I will do a step by step photo guide

Happy baking

Anonymous said...

this is the first time ive ever done curd or the swiss icing and i was so scared it had gone wrong but like u said bear with it comes back to life, thank you a beautiful website