Friday, April 13, 2012

blackberry & grapefruit cupcakes

okay, so technically this is yet another blackberry recipe and it looks a lot like the blackberry streusel muffins i already made. BUT there are very important differences.

1. although there is no frosting in the pictures, these are actually cupcakes. therefore, they're much sweeter and richer than the muffins. although i did call them muffins when i took them to my class. but that was just because i ran out of time to make the frosting and no one wants to eat frosting-less cupcakes.

2. these have grapefruit juice and zest, which is great with blackberries.

3. i guess those are basically the only differences.

first things first. get out the butter (1 1/2 sticks) and the eggs (despite the picture, use 4) to let them get room temperature-y. the butter needs to be soft so you can cream it in with the sugar. i don't really know why the eggs have to be room temperature as well, but that's what all the real baking people say to do, so i generally do it.

once everything's achieved some kind of temperature equilibrium, preheat the oven to 350. then beat the butter for a couple of minutes so it's nice and fluffy. then add 1 1/2 - 2 cups sugar. using 2 cups makes them quite sweet, so be forewarned. it's forearmed.

let this just beat around for awhile (4-5 minutes) while you zest a grapefruit and then squeeze its delicious juice. i had a fairly small grapefruit that was really rather recalcitrant in its zest-giving, so i only had about a teaspoon. i think a little more would be nice - maybe 2. or 1 if it's really packed in there. you also need about 1/3 cup of juice.

add both of these at once to the butter-sugar mixture and let them mingle. then add the 4 eggs, one by one, mixing in between each.

i like to crack eggs into my measuring cup before adding them, because otherwise i'm always scared that i'll get shell bits in there and mix them in and it'll be gross. so be careful. no one likes biting into eggshells (except maybe mongooses/-geese).

once the eggs are nicely mixed in, add the flour mixture and the milk, alternating between the two. i add ~ 1/3 of the flour, mix a little, then 1/2 the milk, mix a little, and so on. you definitely don't want to overmix it, so don't go crazy.

once it's all come together, add lots of blackberries. i used about 2 1/2 cups, which made them quite berryful. you could probably get away with a little less or a little more, depending on what you have around. or other berries would be great, too - blueberries, raspberries, etc.

fold them in carefully so they don't all break apart and make the batter a weird color. then just fill up some muffin cups like so:

and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until they're goldeny brown on top and seem pretty firm, like this:

this makes about 2 dozen cupcakes and i ran out of the paper cup things midway through. luckily, you can make ersatz cups with parchment paper. just cut ~ 5" squares (mine were like 5" x 6" because the paper was 12" wide) and use a glass (or beer bottle, in my case) to smush them into the muffin tin. it describes it more on the linked page.

it worked pretty well, although some came out better than others. if you try it, you should attempt to get the paper pretty well folded so the cupcakes don't get weirdly shaped. but it isn't that big a deal. cupcakes are going to be crowd-pleasers even if they are funny-shaped.

as far as frosting, i didn't make any for these, but i usually make cream cheese frosting with two softened bricks of cream cheese, half of a softened stick of butter, a little vanilla (~1 teaspoon), and some powdered sugar. mix everything but the powdered sugar together, then add it ~ 1/2 cup at a time until it's as sweet as you like. you could also add some grapefruit zest to this and it would be aces.

cupcakes may not be as trendy as they once were (i guess the glitterati have moved on to ... cake pops? whoopie pies? macarons? i don't know), but they still are a sweet and tasty little dessert with a high ratio of frosting to cake. you can't really go too wrong.

i don't know where this recipe came from originally (maybe epicurious? i can't find it there, but that seems right), but it started out as lemon-blueberry layer cake. i've made it that way, too, and it's excellent.

3 cups flour (~ 15 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup butter (~ 1 1/2 sticks), softened
2 cups sugar (could use less)

1/3 cup grapefruit juice
1-2 teaspoons grapefruit zest (or whatever you can get off a recalcitrant grapefruit*)

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup milk (or buttermilk/milk+yogurt mix would be great)

whisk dry ingredients together
beat butter until fluffy, add sugar slowly as the mixer runs, beat until light and fluffy
add juice + zest and mix thoroughly
add eggs one at a time, mixing in between
add ~ 1/3 of flour mixture, mix a little to incorporate
add ~ 1/2 of milk, mix a little
alternate, ending with flour mixture
fold in berries (i used frozen, but fresh would also be wonderful, of course)

bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until firm and golden-brown.

frost with cream cheese or other frosting, or pretend they're muffins and eat them for breakfast.

listening to: of monsters and men. icelandic accents + boy/girl harmonies = good times! i really think you should watch this video - it is somewhat scary and very awesome.

*recalcitrant grapefruit would be a good name for a band. or maybe not.


  1. These look fabulous! I'm going to try a modified version of this recipe when I have a chance...

  2. thanks, marie! i think using different flours or veganizing them would be pretty easy (hopefully). soon we will all have more time for fun baking projects (once all of these papers and finals are out of the way!).