When the rest of the world prepare for winter and the Christmas holidays, I’m bracing myself for summer and my first summer Christmas after four blissful wintry ones. It feels weird. No more warm apple ciders or spicy gluhwein, instead of Starbucks Christmas cups filled with Gingerbread Latte, it’s Christmas blend frappes. BBQ and fresh salads take the place of roasted dinners and hearty stews. Stash away the woolly scarves, gloves and coats, bring on the sunblock, bikinis and flip flops. It’s a summer Christmas down under and yes it’s going to take some getting used to again, but I’ll cherish it all with open (and soon-to-be tanned) arms. I’ll miss my white Christmas, but I’m game for a change. Well at least for one year anyway.
Not the point of this post, which is really about a boy’s birthday cupcakes. Naturally, when I think of boys (actually men in their 30s in this case), I think of darker colours and flavours – perhaps dark chocolate, coffee, maybe a cheeky dash of alcohol…
I had none of that, and I wasn’t quite inspired that day to go the dark way. Blame the bright and beautiful summer days. So I opted for blue. Blueberries in this case – a simple, moist vanilla cake with juicy blueberries topped with a decadent cream cheese frosting.
Blueberry cupcakes – good for a boy, good for summery days.
Adapted to make 12
(original recipe yields 24 – 30, and quantity stated in brackets)
97.5 g cake flour (1 3/4 cups)
70 g plain flour(1 1/4 cups)
225 g sugar (2 cups)
1/2 tbsp baking powder (1 tbsp)
pinch of salt (3/4 tsp)
115 g butter, cut into cubes, room temp (1 cup)
2 eggs (4 eggs)
1/2 cup milk (1 cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract (2 tsp)
3/4 cup blueberries, plus 1 tbsp flour (1 1/2cups / 2 tbsp flour)
1. Preheat oven to 160 deg celcius. Line cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl before each addition. Beat the batter until ingredients are thoroughly combined, but do not overbeat.
4. In a medium bowl, gently toss the blueberries with 1 tablespoon of flour, then carefully fold the blueberries in the batter.
4. Use a large scoop to divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 – 24 minutes.
4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Original quantity for 24 – 30 cupcakes stated in brackets
113 g cream cheese (8 oz)
57.5 g butter, softened to room temp (1 cup)
160g confectioners sugar sifted (2 pounds)
*Note: If I had halved the original recipe, I should have about 450g confectioners sugar but I think that is waaaayyyy too much, so I adapted it and only used 160 g.
1. In a the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together, cream cheese and butter until well combined.
2. With the mixer on low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar until thoroughly incorporated and smooth.
Need to go to the gym more to make up for baking a little too much these few weeks. I believe it’s a phase I’m going through, a phase the hubby very much appreciates I’m sure.
To make space in my freezer for freshly bought produce I got from the market, I thought I’d use up some of my frozen blueberries. I found this recipe a while back but don’t remember where from. All I remember was that it was supposed to be a coffee cake – you know, the kind with no coffee and lots of sugary streusel on top? I decided not to go with the streusel topping and just baked the cake on its own.
Turns out, you don’t need the extra sugary topping at all. I love streusel coffee cake, trust me. Made a huge one before and ate it all! However I feel that this cake was good on its own. Don’t overbake the cake and you’ll get this delightful creamy cake that is not overly sweet. It looks deceivingly dense, but it was light and crumbly. Good with a big mug of tea!
Right, here’s the recipe. I’m off to the gym! Gah!!!
BLUEBERRY SOUR CREAM CAKE
225g cup butter, softened
225g castor sugar
60g brown sugar
200ml sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
190g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups blueberries (optional – dust berries with 1 tbsp flour)
Preheat oven to 190 C. Butter and flour a springform tin. With a mixer, cream the softened butter and two sugars. Then add the eggs, one at a time, until well mixed. In a separate small bowl, fold the vanilla into the sour cream. Then fold the sour cream mixture into the bowl with the cake batter.
In a separate larger bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Pour this mixture into cake batter bowl with mixer on low to medium. Then fold in blueberries.Bake for 50 minutes to an hour or until the middle of the cake springs back when touched.
Small, blue and bursting with goodness. Once considered merely as a pie filling is now a superfood. It is full of anti-oxidants and vitamins and heath nuts are preaching the goodness of the blueberry.
It’s going to be blueberry season soon, although we are lucky enough to get blueberries most of the year here. Fresh or frozen. It’s delicious and I love baking with them. Cheesecakes, muffins, slices and in this instance, thrown into the mix to jazz up a regular, good old butter cake.
A simple and wonderful treat on a lazy Saturday afternoon…
BLUEBERRY BUTTER CAKE
200gm castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
200gm self raising flour, sifted with½ tsp salt
4 tbsp fresh milk
150g blueberries (fresh or frozen), tossed in 1 tbsp flour
- Grease and line a 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper. Preheat oven to 170C
- Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until mixture is light and fluffy.
- Add vanilla essence.
- Fold in sifted flour gradually to mix.
- Stir in milk. Mix until well combined, then fold through all the blueberries.
- Turn out mixture into prepared tin.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until cooked through when tested with a skewer.