My thoughtful friend and neighbor showed up the other day knocking on my door with some beautiful blackberries that he had found. They were not only some of the biggest blackberries I have ever seen but they were also some of the best flavored. They tasted just like a hint of lemon exploding in my mouth when I bit into one. And were so sweet, so unlike the usual slightly bitter and tart blackberry flavors.
As I sat there munching on those blackberries, I was hit by inspiration. I wanted to make dark chocolate blackberry cupcakes. And since it was the cranky day that I wrote about last week, I decided that I needed a break. I grabbed my keys and went back to the little market where he found the blackberries and got more. A lot more!
Hubby laughed when he got home because there was a little over 8 pints of blackberries setting on the counter and he dived right in. He very quickly agreed they were AWESOME and questioned whether any would be left for my cupcakes at the rate we were eating them. I guess he didn’t realize that was why I bought so many. We had enough to eat and enough for my cupcakes.
I’m not even going to try to convince you these cupcakes are healthy. Although to ease our conscious a little we decided that dark chocolate is full of anti-oxidants and the blackberries and lemons are full of vitamin and minerals in a joking attempt as we dove right into to enjoying the Blackberry filled Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Blackberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream creations that I concocted.
One must indulge at times and these were the ultimate indulgence. There is no going wrong with combining dark chocolate and fruit with a wonderfully light and fluffy frosting. They were chocolaty, tangy, fruity and oh so wonderfully rich. Save them for special occasions or make them just to celebrate the blackberry season. The choice is yours! Just don’t miss out on making them at all, because these are a bite of heaven that should not be missed out on.
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
3/4 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Dark Chocolate)
4 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup Non-fat Greek yogurt
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners.
Sift together the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Set aside.
Cream together butter and sugars, using a mixer (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add the vanilla, mixing just until incorporated. Starting with the yogurt and alternating with the flour mix, add both in two batches, ending with yogurt. Mix just until combined.
Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing cupcakes to a wire rack to cook completely.
2 1/2 cups blackberries, washed and dried
4 Tbsp. water, divided
1/2 cup sugar
Fresh juice from whole large lemon (if using tart berries, adjust the lemon amount of lemon to taste)
2 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
Place blackberries in a small pot and mash lightly. Add sugar, 2 tablespoons of water and lemon juice. Bring to a heavy simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons of water. Slowly pour into the simmering blackberry mix, stirring constantly. Cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Mix will be very stiff and jelly like. Set aside until needed.
Makes a cup or so of the blackberry filling.
Blackberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1/3 cup egg whites (3 large egg whites for me)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into cubes, room temp.
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup Blackberry Puree (1 1/2 to 2 cups of berries)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Bring a large pot (one that will allow you mixing bowl to fit into to make a hot water bath) of water just to a simmer on the stove (Do not boil). Add just a few drops of the lemon juice to the mixing bowl and swirl around to remove any possible oils. Dry with a paper towel or very clean cloth.
Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl and place over the simmering pot of water. Whisking gently and using a candy thermometer, bring the sugar/egg mix up to 235° F. Sugar should be completely dissolved or your frosting will be grainy.
Once the sugar/egg mix is done, whip the mixture on high-speed with a mixer until meringue is thick and glossy (about 10 to 15 minutes). Check to bowl to make sure it is cool to touch and no longer hot. If still hot, wait until bowl has cooled to room temperature before starting to add butter.
When bowl is no longer hot, turn the mixer onto low-speed and start adding the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix each tablespoon of butter until well incorporated in the mix before adding more. Keep whipping until a smooth, silky texture is obtained at the end.
Finally add the vanilla and the purée to the mix and whip on low-speed until well combined. Your mix will look wet and ruined for a few minutes but keep mixing and it will come back up to fluffy frosting. You will finish up with a nice purple frosting.
Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until needed.
Makes 3 to 4 cups of frosting.
Instructions for Making the Finished Cupcakes
Take the cooled cupcakes and hollow out a small hole in the center of each one. I did about 1/2 inch wide and 3/4 inch deep into the cupcake.
Place the Blackberry Filling in a piping bag or use a Ziploc bag with the tip cut off and pipe the filling into each cupcake. Fill to the top edge.
Place the Blackberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream into a piping or Ziploc bag and pipe the frosting over the top of the cupcakes.
Use extra blackberries for decorations (I squeezed a little lemon juice on the blackberries and then lightly sprinkled them with granulated sugar for decorating).
More scrumptious cupcakes: