Vegetarian food blog featuring nourishing home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Wild Blueberry Cupcakes

4 Star, Cupcakes | 26th April 2012 | By

On a recent trip to St Austell, I was quite excited to discover Nature Kitchen, a shop dedicated to spices and herbs. One of the purchases I made that day was a pot of bilberry powder (ground dried bilberries). Bilberries are the UKs native blueberry and grow wild around these parts. They are incredibly good for you, but the season is short and they are often difficult to find. They are also much smaller than the commercial blueberry that most people are familiar with. Buying the powder, I reasoned, would not only enable me to give a blueish colour to cake icings, but would imbue me with super powers too!!!

Eager to try this out as a flavouring and colouring, I decided to make some wild blueberry cupcakes at the first opportunity. I had a pot of wild blueberry spread I could also use (jam really, but because it’s made with apple juice rather than sugar, EU regulations prevent it being called jam). I based the cake part of the recipe on the one given for raspberry cupcakes in Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery, substituting the blueberry spread for the stated raspberry jam. I also used half wholemeal flour as I usually do and made a couple of other tweaks. The icing I made up.

This is what I did:

  • Creamed 110g unsalted butter with 180g cardamom (caster) sugar until well beaten and fluffy.
  • Beat in 2 duck eggs, one by one.
  • Sifted 125g self-raising wholemeal flour, 120g plain white flour and 1/4 tsp bicarb of soda.
  • Measured out 125ml milk and added 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • Stirred in 1/3 of the flour, followed by 1/3 of the milk.
  • Repeated this process twice more until all flour and milk incorporated.
  • Roughly stirred in 3 tbsp blueberry spread, so that the mixture was streaky rather than  all one colour.
  • Spooned into 12 of my favourite blue cupcake cases and baked at 180C for 20 minutes.
  • Left to cool a little then turned out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Melted 50g white chocolate (Green&Black’s) in a bowl over hot water, then left to cool a little.
  • Beat 125g mascarpone cheese in a bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  • Added, rather cautiously at first, a bit of the bilberry powder and stirred it in. Then proceeded to add larger and larger quantities as the colour was not as powerful as I thought it might be. I probably used a rounded teaspoonful in the end.
  • Beat in the white chocolate.
  • Spread over the top of the cakes with a palate knife.
  • Used some of the sugar alphabet letters from my recent cake decorating wins to write Wild, Blue, Berry, Cup, & Cakes on the top (this was rather time consuming and I’m not sure I’d be so exacting again).

The cakes were delicious, well risen, moist and surprisingly light. The icing was also good and set the cakes off nicely, I thought. I loved the colour, but was a little disappointed that I couldn’t taste anything in the least bit fruity. CT, however, as a seasoned bilberry forager was adamant he could taste the bilberries. My palate obviously requires radical cleansing.

As B is the letter chosen by Ros in this month’s AlphaBakes, I’m submitting my Blueberry cupcakes to this monthly challenge hosted alternately by The more than occasional baker and Caroline Bakes.

I’m also adding this to Made With Love Mondays, a blogging event created by Javelin Warrior which I keep meaning to enter but never seem to manage. The aim is to encourage people to make everything from scratch rather than using ready made items.

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Susie @ Fold in the Flour
    26th April 2012

    These look lovely, and I think the colour of the frosting looks fantastic. The best thing is that it’s totally natural from the bilberry powder! šŸ™‚

  2. Leave a Reply

    Jennifer
    26th April 2012

    I love these – such a beautiful colour and the bonus being all natural. I have to get myself some of this bilberry powder.

  3. Leave a Reply

    A Trifle Rushed
    26th April 2012

    What a wonderful shop to find. You are such a creative cook, these cakes not only look but also sound truly scrumptious. And I love your little letters labelling them šŸ™‚ Jude x

  4. Leave a Reply

    Suelle
    26th April 2012

    What a gorgeous colour – it would make pretty macarons!

  5. Leave a Reply

    Jo
    26th April 2012

    What a brilliant colour! I love that it’s achieved naturally from fruit. The cupcakes look lovely un-iced too, although it’s a shame the flavour didn’t come through as strong as you had hoped.

  6. Leave a Reply

    Lauralovescakes
    26th April 2012

    The colour is fab! I’ve used freeze dried raspberry powder before and it worked a treat! šŸ™‚

  7. Leave a Reply

    Javelin Warrior
    26th April 2012

    Choclette – these are awesome! I love the color of the frosting and I can’t believe I’ve never heard of bilberries before. And I must find me some of that powder because it does such a beautiful job at adding eye appeal (and perhaps flavor?). Thanks so much for sharing with Made with Love Mondays – what a treat!

  8. Leave a Reply

    Dom at Belleau Kitchen
    26th April 2012

    I love the colour of the raw mix… I think I would have found it hard not to just stop at this stage and eat the bowl…

  9. Leave a Reply

    Baking Addict
    26th April 2012

    Thanks for entering these to AlphaBakes. I love the colour! Great use of the sugar alphabets too. It’s a shame you couldn’t really taste the berries but at least CT did! šŸ™‚

  10. Leave a Reply

    thelittleloaf
    27th April 2012

    Absolutely stunning recipe, I can imagine these taste even more incredible than they look! And so much better than using food dye – nature provides the best colours šŸ™‚

  11. Leave a Reply

    Janice
    27th April 2012

    Great colour from the wild bilberries. Pity the flavour wasn’t more pronounced, maybe including some blueberry jam would bring it out?

  12. Leave a Reply

    Caroline
    28th April 2012

    Gorgeous, gorgeous colour! And so much nicer to know it came from a natural product than a food colouring bottle. Pity the taste wasn’t stronger, but I suppose it means you’ll be able to marry it with other baking flavours more easily.

  13. Leave a Reply

    Cupcake Crazy Gem
    28th April 2012

    Thanks, yes from now on it’ll be milk chocolate chunks in the banana bread all the way! these cupcakes are so beautiful! I love the vivid purple tones. Bilberry powder – how unusual! what a shame the taste didn’t come through stronger but I love the idea of them. It’s certainly a great ‘B’ bake!

  14. Leave a Reply

    Kit @ i-lostinausten
    29th April 2012

    Wow! Love the color of these gorgeous cupcakes! Never tried Bilberry powder so not sure how it taste like. Maybe by using some fresh blueberries like I did for my Blueberry tart will make it more tastier or even blueberry jam will help.

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