Since moving to a new house in August, we’ve become slightly fruit picking obsessed. We’ve got an apple tree in the garden, so we had a few months of apple madness. There was lots of cooking with apples and new recipes. Then, we’ve got a nature reserve up the road. So, we’ve been on many berry picking trips. I’ve got blackberries and sloe berries in the freezer to cater for all my berry needs now that they’re no longer in season. The kids loved picking so much, they can’t wait to do more next summer.
We’ve got two kids, so of course, chocolate cakes are always a win in our house. I’m pretty sure they secretly wish we were chocolate picking instead of berry picking. They’d eat chocolate until it came out of their ears. And, when I say “they”, I mean all of us. Me and husband are just as bad.
This has meant I’ve had to find ways to combine the two. Chocolate and fruit can be tricky. Sometimes, it works. But not always. Chocolate orange is a great combination. Chocolate and raspberries I also love. It works well on a strawberry, but I’m never that sure about chocolate and strawberry bakes, it seems a little odd. Chocolate and cherry, on the other hand, is incredible.
Chocolate and blackberry, I wasn’t sure about. Blackberries are pretty tangy, and I didn’t like the idea of putting them directly into cakes. I just couldn’t imagine it tasting nice. Blackberry buttercream, however, was a great idea. The butter and sugar combat the tang, but you still get a huge berry burst when you bite into the cakes. Chocolate Cupcakes with Blackberry Buttercream are wonderful.
The Blackberry Icing
That said, these Chocolate Cupcakes with Blackberry Buttercream took some thought. Originally, I thought about just putting the blackberries into the icing as they were. But they burst, there were lumps, it was all very uneven and weird. So, instead, I put the blackberries into a small pan, with a splash of lemon juice and a tbsp of sugar. I brought these to a simmer and cooked for 20 minutes, stirring often, until all the berries had popped, and it had reduced to a thick fruity puree. A blackberry reduction if you will. I then poured this out into a bowl and left it on the side until I needed it.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Blackberry Buttercream
For the Cupcakes:
- 120 g Butter
- 120 g Caster Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 90 g Self Raising Flour
- Pinch Salt
- 30 g Cocoa
For the Buttercream:
- 100 g Blackberries
- Splash Lemon Juice
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 80 g Butter – at room temp
- 200 g Icing Sugar
- First, make the blackberry reduction by simmering the blackberries, lemon and sugar in a small saucepan for 20 minutes, stirring regularly until you’re left with a thick puree.
- Pour this into a small bowl and leave to one side until needed.
- For the Cakes:
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a muffin tin with 12 cases
- Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy
- Add the eggs one at a time and stir in until even
- Sift in the flour, salt and cocoa and fold until smooth
- Spoon mixture evenly into 12 cake cases
- Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, using a skewer to make sure the centres are cooked
- Remove the cakes from the tray and leave to cool on a wire rack
- For the Icing:
- Mix the blackberry reduction with room temperature butter
- Add the icing sugar and mix until the buttercream is thick and smooth. Add more icing sugar to thicken if needed
- Once the cakes are cool, using a piping bag to apply the icing