Monday, September 19, 2011

"Blue" Velvet Cupcakes with Blackberry Curd & Limoncello Frosting

This weekend was the ever wonderful Maconda's bridal shower. Since Kevin and I are quite proud of our big "sister" and excited for her impending nuptials (you'd be excited too if you had my sweet dance moves), we decided to pitch in and help with the catering to make her evening special and delicious. While Kevin prepared a lovely crab and corn chowder, I decided to make something far more manly: cupcakes. I tapped into the vast stores of baking knowledge Jenny has imparted in me and made some incredible blue green velvet cupcakes filled with blackberry curd and topped with a limoncello cream cheese frosting.

"Blue" Velvet Cupcakes
Adapted From Alton Brown's Red Velvet Cake
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Time: 45 minutes

The wet mixture is crazy blue.
5 1/2 oz all-purpose flour
4 oz cake flour
1/2 oz cocoa 
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup buttermilk, room temp
1 tbsp blue gel food coloring
Few drops of red food coloring
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
10 1/2 oz dark brown sugar
4 oz unsalted butter,  room temp
2 eggs, room temp
Blackberry Curd (see later)
Limoncello Cream Cheese Frosting (see later)

Either I'm quite color blind or something weird happened.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Whisk the flours, cocoa, salt and baking soda together in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk the buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla together in a separate bowl.
  4. Cream the butter and brown sugar together with a mixer until light and fluffy. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Mix in the eggs one at a time until full incorporated.
  6. Alternate adding in the dry and wet mixture at low speed (be careful not to overmix).  1/3 dry -> 1/2 wet -> 1/3 dry -> 1/2 wet -> 1/3 dry.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the toothpick test comes out clean. Make sure to rotate (and switch racks if using 2) halfway through. 
  8. Let cool on a wire rack.
  9. Once cool, use an apple corer to cut out a hole in the top and fill with the curd. 
  10. Top with frosting.
Sadly, baking did not cause them to magically revert back to blue.
The cakes themselves aren't overly chocolatey, but they were among the best velvet cupcakes I have had. They reminded me of cookies and cream ice cream, which is a very good thing. I chose blue velvet because the shower had a blue theme to it. Little did I know, blue is apparently the hardest color to make, and my mixture went from neon smurf to a dark green (hey, it's the thought that counts). The coloring issues probably stemmed from the lack of food coloring options available at the store. Typically, blue velvet is made with a tablespoon of royal blue gel and a tiny bit of violet, but all I could find was normal blue.

Blackberry Curd
From Cupcake Wars
Servings: 24 cupcake fillings
Time: 20 minutes (plus cooling)

1 quart blackberries
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1-2 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp unsalted butter

  1. Combine the blackberries and water in a pot and simmer until the blackberries start to easily come apart.
  2. Pour the mixture through a strainer and press the blackberries to release the rest of the juice.
  3. Mix the sugar and flour in a separate, clean pot.
  4. Slowly pour in the juice while whisking constantly until fully incorporated
  5. Add the eggs and egg yolks while whisking over medium-low heat until the mixture begins to thicken.
  6. Once the curd has formed (about 7 minutes), remove from heat and stir in the butter.
  7. Cool it in the fridge.
We need to find a new word for "curd" because curd just doesn't sound appetizing.
If you've read my previous cupcake posts, you know I'm a firm believer that every cupcake should have a filling or glaze to make it more exciting. This curd helped ratchet up the flavor and add a nice hint of tartness (and neat color). It also was great for dying the wooden spoon, several pots and some unimportant clothing.

Limoncello Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings: 24+ cupcakes
Time: 5 minutes

1 stick of unsalted butter, room temp
16 oz cream cheese
6 tbsp limoncello
2 cups powdered sugar

When making cupcakes in Texas (or when you have my horrible piping technique), you need a frosting gun.
  1. Cream the butter and cream cheese together in a mixer until fluffy.
  2. Mix in the limoncello.
  3. Add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time.

Much prettier than my usual frosting.
Since I was baking for a bridal shower, I thought the ladies would appreciate a boozy cupcake. Jenny and I had previously made this frosting for some amazing lemon-blueberry cupcakes, so I was confident it would be delicious. It really stands out from typical cream cheese frosting, and the lemon provides a nice little finish that doesn't overpower.

Fancied up with some gold dusting and put on display (a technique also known as: how one pays for college)
There was a lot going on in these cupcakes, so I was pretty worried about how they'd turn out. I knew the lemon and blackberry would pair well together, but I had no clue how they'd mesh with the velvet cake. In the end, these turned out to be among my favorite cupcakes ever.  The three components work together to provide a truly unique experience. Traditional red velvet has been done to death (Don't even think of giving Florian one on Cupcake Wars), so these are a fantastic way to put a new spin on an old crowd pleaser for any party. Judging by the disappearing act the cupcakes had pulled when I showed up later, I would say they were a success (or the ladies got rowdy and started throwing them at things).

I have a feeling most of my friends wouldn't mind if I gave cupcakes in lieu of a real gift.


  1. Oh. My. Gosh. So trying this recipe!!

  2. do you make your own lemoncello? if not... will you?

  3. I was lucky enough to be a guest at this shower and these cupcakes were delicious. Red (or whatever color) velvet is often way dry, but these stayed moist, and I really liked the way the tang in the curd & frosting played off of the cupcake.

    well done, sir!