There’s not much of a back story to these cupcakes. Blackberries were on sale at my local market, and I wanted to use them to top a cupcake. I utilized an almond cupcake recipe I’ve used before, and tried out a new way to do buttercream (inspired by my foray into vegan baking) that uses shortening as well as butter. I’m really pleased with it and I think I’ll be using that combo for all of my buttercreams from now on! I did a simple 1-1 ratio, and it turned out well. I will say that with just using cocoa powder, the frosting tasted very much like milk chocolate. Next time, I’ll try using some melted bitter-sweet chocolate to give it more depth of flavor. All in all, a very good cupcake!
Almond Cupcakes – makes 2 dozen (or 5 dozen minis)
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. flour (preferably cake flour)
1/3 c. ground almonds*
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
*To grind your almonds, simply put them in a food processor until mealy and you can’t see any large chunks of brown skin.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare your tins with cooking spray or cupcake liners. I’m using a mini cupcake pan today :)
Cream the butter and sugar together until light an fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, combining thoroughly after each addition, but don’t over mix.
In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, ground almonds, baking powder, salt). Likewise, measure out the milk and add the vanilla and almond extracts to the measuring cup.
Alternately add the dry and wet ingredients in small batches until all combined. Again, don’t over mix…this can lend to dense cupcakes. It’s OK to have a few lumps here or there; they’ll even out when baking.
Fill your prepared pans 2/3 full.
Bake for 12-15 minutes for mini cupcakes or 18-22 minutes for regular-sized cupcakes. Either way, test with a toothpick for gooey insides before taking out of the oven.
Let cool on a wire rack.
While the cupcakes are cooling, rinse off your blackberries and let air dry :)
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. cocoa powder
2-4 c. powdered sugar
2 tbsp. milk
Standard frosting procedure: combine shortening and butter until smooth and creamy. Add the cocoa powder, then the powdered sugar slowly until a fluffy consistency and agreeable taste is reached. Add the milk , beating in with the mixture. Correct the taste and texture accordingly with more powdered sugar, if needed.
I tried a new piping method with a new tip! I used a Wilton #104 to make a ruffled decoration. Once you’ve filled your piping bag, place the wider end of the petal tip toward the outer edge of the cupcake. Pipe the frosting on, make ruffles as you turn the cupcake. Complete three different layers to come up with a nice, stacked ruffle!
Place a blackberry in the middle of the frosting to bring the whole thing together.
If you are using mini cupcakes, consider one ruffle layer with a black berry in the middle: