Vanilla Very Berry Cupcakes

For Al’s birthday I made Vanilla Very Berry Cupcakes.

1. These were, I wouldn’t say difficult to make, but more accurately tedious. In theory, it’s very straight forward: make vanilla batter and make a berry coulis of sorts. Now the first berry sauce you make is slightly chunky and goes into the middle of the cupcake, between the vanilla cupcake batter.

Fine. No problem. I can handle that. The issue came when the sauce was supposed to thicken and be piped into the cooled cupcakes. My sauce would not thicken. I put tons of corn starch in the sauce and it coagulated at the bottom of the pot. When I tried to put the sauce in a piping bag it completely dripped out. I had to carve into my cupcakes and slowly spoon the sauce into each cupcake. It was worth it because the cupcakes were moist and fruity.

2. The icing was an entirely different fiasco. Partly this was because my hand mixer broke mid-mix. The right beater randomly stopped spinning and my icing was ridiculously thick. After calling my mother and having a break down, I added more milk and thinned out the icing. Once it was thinner, I was able to mix my icing. In the process of piping out my icing I broke two piping bags.

3. Strawberries do not work well on cupcakes. Or maybe just not the steroid-injected-gargantuan strawberries you buy at the grocery store. I prefer how raspberries and blueberries look toppled ontop of cupcakes.

4. Powdered sugar makes everything look prettier.

5. These were delicious and super fruity. They were a fruit explosion topped with creamy icing. There was so much sweet vanilla flavour – it is always great when you can actually taste the vanilla. When I left my house it smelled wonderfully of vanilla, berries and coconut (I had also made Magic Bars as per Al’s request).

The recipe is below the cut…

1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
3 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups Butter Frosting

1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, set aside a few of each type of berry for garnish. In a large bowl combine the remaining berries and the 3 tablespoons sugar; lightly mash the berries.

2. Line 18 muffin cups with paper cups. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, and the baking powder. In a 2-cup glass measuring cup mix the water and the buttermilk. Set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add the 1 1/4 cups sugar, 1/4 at a time, beating on medium speed until combined. Scrape sides of bowl; beat about 2 minutes more or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Alternately add flour mixtue, and buttermilk mixture to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.

4. Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each prepared muffin cup. Add 1 teaspoon of the berry mixture to each cup. Using remaining batter, fill each cup about three-fourths full. Bake about 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire racks.

5. Meanwhile, thoroughly mash the remaining berry mixture. In a medium sauce sauce bring berry mixture to boil; reduce heat. Gradually stir in the 1/2 cup sugar. Simmer, uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes or until mixture reaches a jamlike consistency. Transfer mixture to a bowl and chill until cool, stirring occasionally.

6. Place berry mixture in a disposable pastry bag fitted with a rounded tip. Insert tip into the top of each cupcake. Squeeze some of the berry mixture into the center of each cupcake. Spoon or pipe Butter Frosting onto cupcakes; garnish with reserved berries. If desire, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes 18 cupcakes.

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