Only my dad would decide he wanted blueberry cupcakes… in January. Luckily I was able to get my hands on some, and I didn’t have to pay $600 dollars for them. But for this recipe, you could use frozen also, especially since in the recipe I found at Epicurious, they ask you to freeze/chill them anyway. The slightly frozen or chilled blueberries in the cake prevent them from bursting & “leaking” into the cake. This way, the cake stays true to it’s color with just blueberries scattered around within it, instead of the cake turning bluish purple (however, for the frosting, I thought using a blueberry puree would make the frosting look pretty). If you make these during blueberry season, however, it’s worth it to make the effort to get fresh blueberries. January is not blueberry season.
To be fair, we all got hit with a wicked stomach virus, it had been going around & passed around between friends & family & co-workers everywhere around here. My mother got it, then I got it, then my dad got it once we were better. Jay escaped unscathed, however. So anyway, I know when I was sick with it I hadn’t been eating much, so when he requested these I had to oblige. If all you can eat are cupcakes- I totally endorse it! Blueberries are really good for you, actually.
Researchers have shown that blueberry anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, resveratrol, flavonols, and tannins inhibit mechanisms of cancer cell development and inflammation in vitro. Similar to red grape, some blueberry species contain in their skins significant levels of resveratrol, a phytochemical.
Although most studies below were conducted using the highbush cultivar of blueberries (V. corymbosum), content of polyphenol antioxidants and anthocyanins in lowbush (wild) blueberries (V. angustifolium) exceeds values found in highbush species.
At a 2007 symposium on berry health benefits were reports showing consumption of blueberries (and similar berry fruits including cranberries) may alleviate the cognitive decline occurring in Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions of aging.
A chemical isolated from blueberry leaves can block replication of the hepatitis C virus and might help to delay disease spread in infected individuals.
Feeding blueberries to animals lowers brain damage in experimental stroke. Research at Rutgers has also shown that blueberries may help prevent urinary tract infections.
Other animal studies found that blueberry consumption lowered cholesterol and total blood lipid levels, possibly affecting symptoms of heart disease.glycosaminoglycans which are vascular cell components affecting control of blood pressure.
A study soon to be published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that supplementation with wild blueberry juice enhanced memory and learning in older adults, while reducing blood sugar and symptoms of depression.
However, I am not a blueberry fan. So I quartered all of these recipes to make 8 cupcakes, 6 just for dad. The other two? Just for mom.
You can’t tell from the photo, but yes, the cake has whole blueberries in it!
BLUEBERRY CUPCAKES (from Bon Appétit)
- 3 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk or low-fat yogurt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 1 ¼ cups fresh blueberries, frozen for 4 hours
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.
- Sift flour and next 4 ingredients into large bowl. Whisk melted butter and oil in medium bowl. Add eggs; whisk to blend.
- Whisk in buttermilk, milk, vanilla extract, and peel. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients; whisk just to blend.
- Stir in frozen blueberries. Divide batter among liners. Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 23 minutes.
- Transfer cupcakes to racks; cool.
- 12 ounces (approximately 1 ½ cups) fresh or frozen berries, (defrosted if frozen)*
- ¼ cup granulated sugar, or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine berries, sugar, and lemon juice; process to a smooth puree, about 30 seconds. NOTE: Pureeing may be done in a blender or a food processor, but if using a blender, make sure that any seeds are not ground so finely that they will pass through the sieve.
- Pour into a fine sieve set over a bowl. Use a rubber spatula to stir and press the puree through the sieve; discard solids.
- Taste and add more sugar if necessary.
- Refrigerate in a non-reactive container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
Yield approximately 1 cup of finished puree.
* Sort and wash berries. Drain, cap, and stem (or thaw if frozen) unsweetened berries.
BLUEBERRY-VANILLA SWISS MERINGUE
- 4 large egg whites
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup pureed blueberries
- Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.
- Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
- Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla, and beat just until combined.
- Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes.
- After the buttercream comes together, add the blueberry puree and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.
- Frost your cooled cupcakes!
I did a ghetto puree and just cooked the berries down a bit in some sugar & lemon juice, then crushed them down. That meant there were still some fairly large chunks. To frost them, I continued with my laziness & also did that ghetto style; I just filled up a disposable pastry bag & snipped off the tip. I was afraid the chunks of blueberry would clog any tip I used. It still looks good, though, right? By the way, that puree recipe works with pretty much any berry. Another really great idea would be to fill these with a blueberry jam. However, just as they were, they went over pretty big. If you’re a blueberry person, try these muffins too.
I want to apologize for any strange color variations in my photos recently. Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m messing with the settings on my camera/with the lighting. Some of the experiments don’t quite work, but I’m exploring the capabilities of it & what I can do with it, so cut me a little slack, k?