Sunday, October 20, 2013

Chocolate, Red Wine and Blackberry Cupcakes

Blackberries are in abundance at this time of year and I always make sure that I head out to scour the hedgerows in order to ensure that my freezer is well stocked for the winter ahead. It was reported in the news that this year was a bumper year for blackberries due to favourable weather conditions.

This is an interesting cupcake recipe as it contains red wine!!! You can't really taste it but it does add a depth of flavour. The method in general is rather unusual and the mixture is quite runny but it did yield success. There are also blackberries baked into the batter which are lovely and soft after baking and they definitely make for a moist cupcake. This batch was second time lucky as the first time I made these cupcakes I got distracted and forgot to add the sugar and also accidentally used cream of tartar rather than bicarb of soda...bit of a disaster...whoops!
The buttercream is made using the normal method but it gets its colour and flavour from the addition of 6 tablespoons of blackberry puree. I've actually made two batches of these cupcakes now and it's interesting the difference in the colour of the icing both times, the first time it was a darker purple which must just be dependant on the batch of blackberries you use. Smooshing fruit into buttercream icing is a great way to add natural colour, I particularly like using raspberries for this.
I followed the recipe as it was but also found the second time I made these that the icing was quite loose, I therefore added quite a lot more icing sugar until a good piping consistency was reached. I then used a star nozzle to decorate the cupcakes.
I'm entering these cupcakes into this month's AlphaBakes challenge where the letter for October is 'C'. The challenge is hosted by Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker and on alternate months by Caroline Makes. I'm sure Ros will be receiving a deluge of chocolate recipes!


175g butter
100g dark chocolate (72% or above - Peruvian is recommended)
300g plain flour
375g golden caster sugar
25g cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
200ml red wine
200-300g punnet blackberries


200g punnet blackberries (as above)
150g soft butter
300g icing sugar

Makes 12. Start by preheating the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas 4.

Place the butter and chocolate in a saucepan and melt gently on the hob until entirely melted and smooth. Meanwhile mix the flour, sugar, cocoa and bicarb of soda with a pinch of salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl or jug whisk the eggs and wine together. Then add the chocolate and egg mixes to the dry ingredients along with 100ml boiling water and whisk until completely smooth with no lumps.

Divide the mixture between 12 large muffin cases. The mixture is quite runny so I used a ladle! Then place 2-3 blackberries on the top of each one. Bake for 35 minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool.

To make the buttercream whizz the remaining blackberries to a pulp and then sieve to give a smooth puree. Beat the butter until it is extremely soft and then add half the icing sugar and mix. Add around 6tbsp of the blackberry puree and the remaining icing sugar and beat together thoroughly. This is then ready to pipe onto the cooled cupcakes. You may also want additional blackberries to top each cupcake.

* Recipe adapted from Olive Magazine - October 2013

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Calendar Cakes Round Up - September

Yet again cupcakes proved popular in September and it just goes to show that they're not just a flash in the pan. You can check out the delicious array of cupcakes entered into September's Calendar Cakes Challenge below, the theme was in honour of National Cupcake Week.
To start us off Kat from The Baking Explorer made these Banoffee Cupcakes after a trip to the Richmond Tearooms where she was inspired by a mini Banoffee pie. Banoffee is always a popular choice and these obviously went down a storm as they disappeared in double quick time.
These beautifully decorated cupcakes are from Lucie Loves Baking. They are White Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Buttercream and they are based on a White Chocolate Mud Cake recipe from the Women’s Weekly ‘Cupcakes, cheesecakes and cookies’. I particularly like the colours and the little flowers on top.
Aimee at Wallflower Girl gave us these Flourless Chocolate and Lavender Cupcakes which means they are suitable for celiacs. Lavender is a lovely flavour in baking and here the cakes are chocolate and the icing is flavoured with dried lavender.
Caroline of Caroline Makes made these super cute and super creative Cupcake Ducks. The idea is from the What's New Cupcake book and I'm sure you'll agree that these are definitely a treat.
Ros from The More than Occasional Baker is somewhat of an expert when it comes to baking with peanut butter and these Peanut Butter and Chocolate Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes provide an extra twist. You can see all the steps to make them over on Ros's blog, I particularly love the chocolate spoons made in a silicone mould.
Vohn at vohn's vittles made these Chocolate and Orange Marmalade Cupcakes as the third in a series of cupcakes created for the "Baking with Mackays" blogger challenge. I love marmalade in bakes and it goes perfectly with chocolate. The finished product is very pretty too.
Not only are these cupcake from Mummy Makes Cakes fabulously made but they were also made for a competition, raising money for a good cause. They're Alice in Wonderland Cupcakes - Down the Rabbit Hole. The grass effect works really well with the Rabbits' bottoms which were made from white fondant.
As always a creative creation from Chocolate Log Blog this month - Blackberry and Apple Cupcakes. Choclette describes them as 'an apple and chocolate chip sponge topped off by blackberry cream cheese icing, perfect autumnal fare'. Interestingly the chocolate in these is blackberry and ginger flavoured!
Next up a trio of entries from Food Glorious Food. Firstly we have Raspberry Cupcakes. The recipe for these cupcakes is from the Primrose Bakery book. They must have been good as they're described as having a delicious raspberry flavour in every bite.
Next up another treat from Food Glorious Food, this one with a Caribbean twist as they're Chocolate and Rum Syrup Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream...sunshine on a plate!
Finally from Food Glorious Food it's a throw back to childhood with these Fairy Cupcakes. The recipe is from Jo Wheatley's 'A Passion for Baking'. Kids would love to decorate these with the little jelly sweets and I'm sure they'd equally enjoy eating them!
Kirsty's favourite tea is a simple cup of Earl Grey and what better way to enjoy the flavour than in a cupcake, so these cupcakes from Kirsty's Cakes and Bakes are Earl Grey Cupcakes. The milk is infused with the flavour of the tea and is then used in the cupcake...yum!
Next up is an unusual flavour combination from Cake of the Week with Coffee Orange Cupcakes. I don't think I've ever tried this combination but apparently it's a winner and I'd love to try it! The idea was inspired by a coffee shop in Plymouth where you can get different flavoured syrups in your coffee, one of which is orange.
These Ice Cream Cupcakes are from Kat at Life of a Cupcake Baker and they're beautifully presented...I want a Mr Whippy now! Now summer is fading why not make up a batch of these to remind you of the warm summer days.
Another fab entry from Mummy Makes Cakes next with these Thomas the Tank Engine Cupcakes. These cupcakes were inspired by a visit to Thomas Land...I never knew such a place existed! They're perfect for making with kids.
If a regular sized cupcake just isn't enough then why not make yourself a giant cupcake! That's what Laura from I'd Much Rather Bake Than... did when she made this White Chocolate and Lemon Giant Cupcake for her housemate's birthday. It was a rather stressful run up to making the cake but I'm sure you'll agree that it was worth it in the end.
A beautiful entry from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary next. Elizabeth made these Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream which are glamorous and sophisticated in both flavour and appearance. A lovely entry and the two tone icing is particularly effective!
A second batch of Vanilla Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes next from Cake, Crumbs and Cooking. This really isn't helping with my Mr Whippy craving...perhaps they'll be a passing ice cream van this evening or is that just wishful thinking? The cake inside is Victoria sponge and the flake and chocolate sprinkles are the perfect finishing touches.
Next up my entry (Laura Loves Cakes) with these Sweet Peanut Cupcakes. This is the first time I've baked using peanut butter and I loved the result. A lovely subtle flavour and a moist soft sponge. I also made a peanut brittle for the top and they're certainly reminiscent of the retro sweet shop classic, sweet peanuts.
Cupcakery gave us a really inventive idea with Buttermilk Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting, Pancakes and Maple Syrup. These are an original recipe and the little pancakes on top are so cute. The photography of the finished product is also fab. I'd love to try these!
All of the entries this month have been visually appealing and the next entry Heavens Garden is certainly no exception. These are Chocolate Cupcakes with Creamy Cheese Frosting, I particularly love the two colours of frosting piped on the top and who doesn't love a cherry on the top!
A decadent entry next from The Purple Pumpkin Blog with Black Forest Cupcakes...and there's more cherries! These were ingeniously made for a 40th birthday and were made as the recipient was born in the 70s...the perfect retro cake!
Bells Bakery describes these Lemon and Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting as zesty lemony goodness and from just looking at the pictures I'd be inclined to agree! The only slight problem with these was tracking down the poppy seeds but well worth the effort I'd say.
It's a double entry from Josie at Pink Sugar. First up are these Peanut and Jam Cupcakes. Peanut butter seems to be proving popular this month! Crunchy peanut butter was used in the cupcakes which gives them an added dimension and with the jam this is a classic combination.
A stunning entry from Super Golden Bakes with Red Velvet Cupcakes. Superbly presented, it would be hard to resist these! The recipe for the cupcakes is also interesting as the red colour comes from a reaction between the buttermilk, bicarb and cocoa powder. The frosting also comes highly recommended, it's called ermine can find out more over at Super Golden Bakes.
Our penultimate entry is the second from Pink Sugar with these Almond and Raspberry Cupcakes. Another classic combination these cupcakes were made by replacing the vanilla with Almond Essence in the sponge, an almond infused butter cream was piped on top and then decorated with raspberries.
Next some fun Minnie Mouse Cupcakes from Katie's Cakery. These are beautifully decorated and perfect for a birthday.
Finally, delicious Plum and Coconut Cupcakes from Maison Cupcake. The cupcake batter itself includes a slice of plum and some desiccated coconut and coconut flavouring. The glaze contains coconut milk and each cupcake is topped with a sliver of grilled plum with demerara sugar...yum!

Thanks to everyone who entered cupcakes in September, as always all wonderful entries and much appreciated! To find out the theme for this month, hop on over to Dolly Bakes and I look forward to seeing you all back here in November! :-)