Friday, June 11, 2010

Cupcake Hero June: Blueberry!

Yes ladies and gentlemen, Cupcake Hero is back! This month it has a guest host - and Dorothy over at Kitchen Koala has chosen blueberries as this month's theme.

Now I know as a general rule, fresh is best etc etc - but I have to say, I am in love with dried blueberries - see them here, posing shyly beside the diva-like limes (look at that lime on the right, the minx, trying to shove the other one out of the photo! Tsk!)

The thing about blueberries for me is - and don't hate me for this, Dorothy! - I find they are often sadly lacking in any real flavour. Maybe this has to do with where I live? Maybe we get inferior blueberries growing here...? I actually have blueberries growing in my own back yard, and whilst they are better than frozen ones, even they are kind of... wellll... a bit insipid...?
Having said that, I LOVE the look of blueberries. Fresh ones are like the supermodels of the fruit world, especially if you can get them with that gorgeous whitish bloom still on. And the funny thing is, if you can pin their flavour down, I do like it. I just don't feel like there's enough of it to go around - and that's why I love these dried ones. Bye-bye water, hellooooo flavour!
So I decided to team my dried blueberries with, for me, the blueberry's best friend - limes. (The fact that I picked 65 limes off my two trees last week and there are still at least twice that many on the branches had nothing to do with it - NOTHING, I tell you!!) I also decided to give them an extra tweak of acidity by adding yoghurt. Now, I've never made a cake with yoghurt in it before, so I played around with a couple of recipes, but found that my first batch came out quite heavy and sullen. Not happy. So I made some fairly major changes, and finally ended up with a recipe I am really happy with. The cupcakes are not light as a feather, but they are beautifully soft and cakey - and the flavour is great. The blueberries seem to have sent a little of their scent out into the surrounding cake, without actually bleeding out like frozen ones do. So you get a lovely subtle cake, and then a sudden burst of FLAVOUR whenever you bite into a berry.
Oh, and one other thing: in the frosting recipe, I have called for "Liquore al Mirtillo". We have a beautiful little bottle of this Italian liqueur in our liquor cabinet, and it just screamed to be used in this. It's essentially bilberry flavoured grappa (bilberries, I am assured by the great god Wikipedia, are much like blueberries but smaller & with stronger flavour). It's purple. It smells like blueberries. It tastes like extremely alcoholic blueberries. If, as is very likely, you don't happen to have any, I imagine any berry-flavoured liqueur would be pleasant, or even brandy would work, I think. If you don't fancy the alcohol, just leave it out and go for the purple option (see below).
Anyway, enough nattering. Without further ado, I would like to present:
Blueberry Lime Yoghurt Cupcakes!

240g butter
1 cup caster sugar
Zest of 2 or 3 limes, depending on their size
3 eggs, separated
3 Tbsp lime juice
185g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
70g dried blueberries
3/4 cup natural yoghurt
Modus Operandi
Cream butter, sugar & lime zest until pale & creamy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating between each addition. Beat in lime juice. Add yoghurt and beat briefly, just until all combined. Sift the flour and baking powder together into the mixture, and add the blueberries. Stir until combined - the mixture will be quite stiff at this point. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they reach firm peaks, and fold these into the mixture, like so:
In they go...
Folding gently...
Spoon mixture into cupcake cases - you can fill a little higher than usual - maybe 3/4 full? I only filled mine around 2/3 full (and only half full in these pretty Robert Gordon cupcake cases, 'cause I think they're enormous), and the cakes turned out a little lower than I would have liked (purely a visual thing for me).
Bake at 175 degrees Celsius (350 F) for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are springy and just starting to go golden. Cool on wire racks BEFORE you try one. Really. When they first come out, the texture is kinda weird, but it sorts itself out once they're cool. Now they are all ready to eat, unless you fancy frosting, in which case:-
Cream 100g butter with 150g icing sugar until very pale and fluffy. Add 2-3 Tbsp milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, and 3 tsp Liquore al Mirtillo (or, you know, whatever booze you think would work - see notes above). Continue to beat until thoroughly combined, and pipe or spread onto cupcakes. Top with a dried blueberry, if desired (my daughter desired hers topped with three).
This photo also shows an alternative frosting for those who want to pack more blueberry flavour in - same frosting plus a spoonful of blueberry jam equals purple frosting. My husband and daughter both preferred this, however I quite liked the subtlety of the frosting with just the grappa.

And now for the innards shot:
This one didn't make it to the frosting stage - num! To be honest, I'd quite happily eat these as is, they are so packed full of blueberry goodness! They do look a bit naked this way though...
Anyway, I hope you enjoy these cupcakes if you do decide to try them out. And please do click on over to Kitchen Koala when June 22nd rolls around and voting starts - there's bound to be some awesome competition! I actually have another idea I'm toying with for this... but will I have the time & motivation to try it out? Hmm...


C&C Cakery said...

Great to see another super tasty entry in this month's cupcake hero! Good luck!

(Also, yogurt cakes are our absolute favourite around here. Keep practicing with them and they'll astound you!)

Sugary Flower said...

What has really surprised me is how well these hold up over time (which I'm assuming I can attribute to the yoghurt)... These cuppies still tasted fresh three days later!! This is not something I expect from any cupcake (except a mudcake of course), so I'm well pleased!

Anonymous said...

Hello! These cupcakes sound so interesting and yummy! If you haven't already checked it out, Cupcake Hero July is now posted and I encourage you to join and use your creativity to come up with a coconut cupcake!

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