Blueberry Swirl Cupcakes

Blueberry Swirl cupcakes

Rainy afternoons are made for baking, it brings a little sunshine into the house, spreads some cheer. Today was one of those days.

The jammy, rippling technique I use in the sponge is something I do often, it can be done with all sorts of jams and sauces and really adds interest and flavour. This recipe is blueberry, because I love the colour and flavour but it could equally be raspberry, strawberry, lemon, etc, etc

I once spent a day sorting blueberries, on a farm in the Waikato region of New Zealand. I can’t say it was one of the most enjoyable days of my life. It turns out I’m not built for conveyerbelt style employment, the constant movement of the thousands of blueberries across my field of vision on the belt made me queasier than the ferry trip from Ullapool to Stornaway. I made it through the day, the people were lovely but I never went back. The farm made the most delicious blueberry ice cream, if you are ever in the Hamiltion region and see Monavale Blueberries at a farmers market, treat yourself!

oven 175C / gas 4

12 hole muffin pan lined with muffin cases

For the cakes,

  • 1/2 jar blueberry conserve/jam
  • 1tbsp cornflour
  • 125g {1 stick} unsalted butter, softened
  • 125g {1/2 cup} caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 140g {1 cup} self-raising flour
  • 3 tbsp milk

Firstly, put the conserve/jam into a jug, microwave it for 20 seconds or so to temporarily thin it slightly. Pass it through a sieve into a small bowl discarding the bits. Set 3 tablespoons of it aside for using in the cakes in a small bowl. With the rest of it, prepare it for the frosting now as it needs to cool down. Into a small bowl or ramekin make a paste with a level tbsp of cornflower and a tbsp water. Stir this into the rest of the sieved conserve/jam and microwave it on high for a minute or so until it starts to boil up and thicken. It will be really hot, put it to one side to cool completely.

Cream the butter and caster sugar until pale in a food mixer or with a handheld mixer. Beat in the eggs one at a time with a spoonful of flour and add the vanilla extract.

Sift in the flour and fold into the mix, stir in the milk adding a bit more if the batter seems a little stiff.

Share the batter between the muffin cases, filling them 3/4 full. A large ice cream scoop can help keep things equal {I didn’t have one for this bake and they came out in all sizes, the impatient baker that I am!}.

use a cocktail stick to gently swirl the jam into the batter.

Use the other end of a teaspoon to make a little ‘pond’ on the top of each unbaked cake and put a half teaspoon of the sieved conserve/jam into this. Using a cocktail stick, or similar, stir the jam gently into a few swirls {see the photo}, this will create jammy ripples into the cake.

Bake for 15 – 20 mins until springy to the touch. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

The Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting,

  • 100g {1 stick} unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g {6 & 1/2 ounces} full fat cream cheese, at room temperature {basically get them both out of the fridge when you start baking}
  • 2 tbsp ground freeze-dried blueberries
  • 500g{3 & 1/2 to 4 cups} icing sugar, sifted

Cream the butter in a food mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer until smooth, give it a good beat to whip it. Add a quarter of the icing sugar and beat in until smooth. Add another quarter, do the same.

Add the ground freeze-dried blueberries and watch it turn gorgeously purple. I much prefer using this, natural flavouring and colouring in one!

Beat in another quarter of icing sugar, it should be getting pretty stiff now so add the cream cheese and beat well.

Finally add the rest of the icing sugar, you may not need all of it to get the consitancy you want.

Now to pipe it! Using an icing bag with a large open star nozzle pipe a swirled cone onto each cake starting from the outside and finishing with a peak. You could finish it here, even maybe pop a blueberry onto the top.

Or you can pipe the conserve/jam into the grooves as I did. Take the now cooled, thickened conserve/jam, give it a stir  and put it into a piping bag fitted with a fine plain nozzle. Pipe the jam into some of the grooves in the frosting.

blueberry swirl cakes

It is important to get the cream cheese to room temperature as it makes the frosting grainy otherwise. If you forget, and are in a rush, pop it in a bowl and microwave it for 10 secs on high, test with your finger. It should feel neither cold nor warm. Repeat with another 10 secs if need be. I soften butter this way too, cube it and microwave it in 10 sec intervals, shaking in between until soft but not melted.

8 Responses

  1. Wow! these are beautiful, where do you get freeze dried raspberries from?

    • Thank you! There should be a link in the blog post I think, I get it online from a store called Healthy Supplies. It’s a fun ingredient to use! I buy a few fruit powders at a time.

  2. These look delicious!! I’m so pleased to have found your blog, I love that you’re so free and travel around and bake in the various kitchens you find when you’re housesitting! It sounds great!

  3. Beautiful swirl effect – yum!!

  4. kirsty says:

    Can you add a picture of the cakes cut open so i can see the swirly design inside?