Saturday, September 1, 2012

Vanilla Cupcakes w/ Lemon Curd Filling & Blackberry Frosting

I'm back!  Sorry for the lag (OK, it was more like an eon) between posts, but life events were a bit crazy there for awhile. Now back to business as usual, starting with these gorgeous cupcakes.

Seriously, who wouldn't want to bite into one? The combination came about when I got a great deal on a these beautiful berries. Blackberry and lemon is one of my favorite flavor combinations and turning them into cupcakes just seemed natural.

Here's the rundown:
  • Flavor/Texture: Airy cake, silky lemon curd and sweet/tart frosting. What's not to love?
  • Difficulty: Multiple steps involved, but nothing arduous.
  • Pros: Gorgeous and super tasty. Seriously, they taste like summer to me. To save time, you could substitute a boxed cake mix and store bought lemon curd, if you desire. Just please do me a solid and make the frosting yourself. 
  • Cons: You will eat about 3 of these before you even know it. 
  • Misc: Let the cupcakes cool thoroughly before filling them. Otherwise, the lemon curd will get watery and make the cake mushy. 
  • Repeat Performance: These gems will definitely be coming back for an encore!

Vanilla Cupcakes
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line muffin cups with papers.
Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. B
eat in eggs one at a time.
Add flour (mixed with baking powder and salt) alternating with milk beat well; stir in vanilla.
Divide evenly among pans and bake for 20 minutes.
Cool completely on a wire rack.

Lemon Curd (From Suzanne Goin's "Sunday Suppers at Lucques)
4 extra-large eggs
3 extra-large egg yolks
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup Meyer lemon juice
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
A pinch of kosher salt

Whisk the eggs, yolks, sugar, and lemon juice together in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the lemon curd has thickened to the consistency of pastry cream and coats the back of the spatula.
Remove the lemon curd from the heat. Add the butter a little at a time, stirring to incorporate completely. Season with the salt. Let the curd cool about 8 minutes, and then strain it through a fine sieve.

Blackberry Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1/2 cup fresh blackberries, pureed in blender or food processor
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Pinch of kosher salt
4-5 cups powdered sugar

Cream the butter in a stand mixer until light in color and fluffy.
Add berries, vanilla, lemon zest and salt.
Add in powdered sugar, a little at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
*You can add more or less powdered sugar, depending on the frosting consistency that you desire. I prefer a stiff frosting so that it holds it shape when I pipe it.

After the cupcakes have cooled, you can put everything together.
Fit a pastry bag with a medium plain tip and fill it with the lemon curd. Insert the tip directly down into the middle of the cupcake and squeeze in a tablespoon or two of the filling.
Fit another pastry bag with a large star tip (or use any other design you like) and fill the bag with frosting. Pipe onto your cupcakes. Garnish with a whole berry and serve.