August 02, 2008

Blackberry Vanilla Cupcakes

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup vanilla sugar*
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup fresh blackberry juice**
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, at room temperature

blackberry cream cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350. Line or grease and flour 6 wells in a cupcake pan. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg, mix thoroughly. Add flour, baking powder and salt to the butter mixture. Whisk together the milk and blackberry juice, then add it to the rest of the batter and beat until well combined. Fill each well 2/3 of the way full. Bake 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted the center of a cupcake comes out clean or with just one or two dry crumbs. Cool briefly in the pan, then remove cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely before icing with blackberry cream cheese frosting.

*I used this absolutely divine vanilla sugar but you can make your own by storing a vanilla bean (or a few) in granulated sugar for a number of weeks. Or you could just use plain sugar and add some vanilla extract. The vanilla sugar is really good though, so it is worth trying!

**Made from 1 cup fresh blackberries, mashed and sieved to remove the seeds.

My thoughts:
This recipe came out my urge to start taking more advantage of our extremely prolific blackberry bush. Initially I was going to pair the blackberry with lemon but then on a whim decided to try out my new vanilla sugar. I am glad I did, the results were many times better than I think the best version of lemon-blackberry combo would have been. The vanilla not only accentuates the blackberry flavor but also makes it really taste like a cupcake and not a muffin. I think it is my new favorite Summer cupcake: light, fruity and fresh.