Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Red, White, and Blueberry Cupcakes

This month, the Cupcake Hero competition is guest hosted by two of my favorite bloggers, Clara at I Heart Cuppycakes has got fun tidbits, creatively decorated cakes, and seriously delicious cupcakes. She's cohosting with the equally wacky and delicious Nikki of Crazy Delicious Food. And wouldn't you know it. For two such fabulous food bloggers, they came up with what I think has been the hardest yet Cupcake Hero challenge. Red, White, and Blue. Ah, you scoff, how hard can that be? Well maybe I should add they didn't want us to use food coloring for the whole thing.
Then it hit me. No food coloring means that I would have to, gasp, use fruit. Mostly because blueberries are the only naturally blue food I could think of. Good thing I like blueberries. In case you're new here, I don't like the majority of fruit. I'm trying very hard to eat it lately. I figure it's not a good idea to completely dismiss an entire food grouping. Unfortunately, the red fruits posed a problem. I tried some cherries and discovered that I didn't completely mind them fresh. Fresh cherries are way better than that gross super red kind of cherry flavoring type pseudo cherries. But still they had pits. Raspberries are ok, but I had a feeling they'd bleed on the frosting, and call me a little nutty, but I just couldn't deal with that. I thought about maybe a raspberry sauce, but I really wanted to limit the amount of heat going around in my tiny little house. So I started thinking about semi sturdy red fruits and came up with the dreaded strawberries. blecch. (Yeah, I'm probably one of the very few people in the world that doesn't like strawberries.)

So for this month's Cupcake Hero I decided to go way simple and scream summer. I made my favorite basic yellow cake cupcake recipe, topped with an easy meringue buttercream recipe and decorated with fresh fruit. That's red and blue fresh fruit. Well, I made some just with blueberries, because that's how I would like them.But then I packed them all off and gave them away. I figure although cupcakes definitely enhance the taste of fruit, it's not the best way to get some fruit in my diet.

Red, White, and Blueberry Cupcakes

Yellow Cupcakes (from A Baker's Field Guide to Cupcakes)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place paper liners in 16 muffin cups.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl to aerate and combine; set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Beat in vanilla extract. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down after each addition, allowing each egg to be absorbed before continuing. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternately with the milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture, and beat briefly until smooth on low-medium speed after each addition.

Divide batter evenly among cupcake wells. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center shows a few moist crumbs. The center should also spring back when lightly pressed. The cupcakes might color a bit around the edges, but they will not brown.

Cool completely.

Easy Meringue Buttercream (The recipe is on a recipe card that is mighty well loved and I have no idea who to attribute the original recipe to. Sorry!)

4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter very softened

Place egg whites, sugar and salt in medium sized heatproof mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk gently until egg whites are hot (140°F.) and sugar is melted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and whip by machine until thick and cooled, about 5 minutes. Beat in butter and continue beating until buttercream is smooth and spreadable.

To Assemble
handful of blueberries
handful of strawberries

Frost cooled cupcakes with a layer of buttercream. Decorate the tops of cupcakes with an assortment of blueberries and strawberries.


Anonymous said...

Teen/Child joins you in that disdain of the fruit group. I love these cupcakes, and I would eat them with a full mouth of cake, frosting and fruit. He would pick off the fruit and stuff the whole rest in his maw.

Sara said...

All those strawberries must be such a burden. Let me take them off your hands. Yes, yes, it's a terrible imposition but I'd even be willing to take the ones attached to cupcakes ;)

I think your cupcakes look lovely and quite patriotic!

CB said...

You don't like strawberries? ::taking CH points off entry:: LOL. Great use of all the colors. Summery and healthIER. ;) Thanks for entering!

The Cheap Chick said...

You are not alone in your distaste of strawberries. My BFF Larue likes strawberry FLAVORED things, but loathes the actually berries themselves.

Which means I've eaten hundreds of berries from the side of her fruity drinks/shakes/alcoholic beverages throughout our years together.

Cynthia said...

A clever idea to use the fruits for the colour! It must be such a delight to bite into one of these and taste the fresh, juicyness of the fruit as well.

Miss. Von Schtoop said...

It is a JOY to read your blog! Those cupcakes look so delicious to me right now.

Ahhh sigh, internet cupcakes: zero points! :)

April said...

These look delicious! And definitly scream summer!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Dislike fruit?! :o

The cupcakes look awesome though...even if you don't like strawberries ;-)

Deborah said...

Look at you - sacrificing and using an ingredient you don't like!! They look great, though!

Cakelaw said...

Oh my, these are gorgeous! Meringue frosting is wonderful.

Amanda said...


Alas, my poor husband also dislikes strawberries and many other ripened ovaries of wayward plants.

Janna said...

No fruit, huh? Have you tried adding booze? Just kidding, just kidding.

I love all fruit. Most people I know who don't like it say it's a texture thing. Is that true?

Mara said...

BOOZE!! Just kidding...I love fruit. And those look FRESH and amazing. I posted mine today. Great job!!