When Lis of Daring Baker fame asked me to do a post for The Daring Kitchen for July 4th, I thought, sure, no problema. Absolutely. I’ll get right on that. I imagined all the red, white, and blue possibilites available and scrimped time here and there to google and oogle all that I could find in blogs, and websites, food magazines, and cookbooks. And since this was back before Father’s Day, I knew that whatever I made would be something I could serve in celebration of my father-in-law who has always been a gracious supporter of my adventures in cooking.
I’d never made a red, white, and blue dessert before, so with the color firmly in my mind (talk about priorities…), I began to think about what it would be. Berries were a must. It’s summer, right? They’re everywhere. For a split second I actually considered making three types of whatever the recipe I chose — as in red this, blue that, and — well, you get the idea. But no matter how great the idea was, I knew I’d fail on delivery because that seems to be my track record in the kitchen these days.
Cupcakes and ice cream seemed simple enough, and they actually were until I decided to put lots and lots of frosting on the cupcakes. The ice cream involves no cooking whatsoever, so at least the simplicity of that recipe makes up for the buttercream which still isn’t all that bad if you know that you’ll have to whisk the egg whites over simmering water until they reach a particular temperature and then beat them to a marshmallow-like consistency before proceeding with the recipe. Practice. It’s all about the practice — or leading a charmed existence.
The result: Delicious, but not quite red, white, and blue. Maybe mauve and pink will be the new thing? Okay, so probably not. But by all means, check out my post and the recipes for July 4th Treats: Blueberry Cupcakes and Raspberry Cream Cheese Ice Cream at The Daring Kitchen. And have a safe, happy July 4th!
Addendum: Because I never included the process shots I normally do when I post, I’m adding a few to answer a question in my comments. Pictures paint a thousand words, right?
Fresh blueberries are heated alone…
…to achieve this simple sauce…
…which a portion of is mixed with milk and vanilla (above) then added with dry ingredients to the butter-sugar-egg mixture.
A dollop of some of the remaining blueberry sauce is dropped on the top of the batter-filled cups…
…then swirled in with a wooden skewer…
…and end up looking like this after baking.
Here are the directions:
Not Quite Blue Cupcakes with Not Quite Red Ice Cream
Makes 12 standard cupcakes
For the Cupcakes…
2 Cups + 2 tablespoons sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1-1/2 cups of Sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup of whole milk
1/2 cup of blueberry puree (recipe follows)
1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
For the Blueberry Puree…
Bring one pound of blueberries to a boil in a sauce pan over medium heat and stirring frequently so they don’t burn. Reduce heat to low and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated (about 1/2 hour) and the mixture is thick. Cool the blueberries slightly and place in a food processor or mash with a fork. Mix until smooth. For an extra smooth puree pass mixture through a fine sieve before using.
For the Cake…
Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating
until each is incorporated before adding the next.
Sift dry ingredients into a medium bowl. Mix milk with 1/2 cup of blueberry puree and vanilla in a large measuring cup. Add wet and dry ingredients alternately to butter mixture starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated after each addition. Do not overbeat.
Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full of batter. Spoon 1 teaspoon of blueberry puree into the center and swirl with a wooden skewer. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until cupcakes spring back to the touch.
Cool 10-15 minutes in the pan then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Frost with Blueberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream (see below) and top with a fresh blueberry. Daring folks will spoon some blueberry puree over the cupcake before taking a big bite.
For the Blueberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream…
5 egg whites
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 c. unsalted butter, room temp.
1/4 cup + 2 T blueberry puree
Pinch of salt
Place sugar and egg whites in the metal 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 until mixture has cooled completely (feel the bottom of the bowl) and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes. It will appear somewhat like soft marshmallow in consistency. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until well incorporated after each addition. The buttercream may appear curdled after the butter has been added — keep beating and it will become smooth again. Add blueberry puree and salt and beat just until combined. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes.
If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.
The recipe for these cupcakes was adapted from that of Trophy Cupcakes as seen in seattlepi.com — but I was led to that source by the gorgeous cupcakes at The Casual Baker whose Blueberry beauties are far more purple than mine. Thanks to both sources for such a great recipe!