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.