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“On the wide level acres of the valley the topsoil lay deep and fertile. It required only a rich winter of rain to make it break forth in grass and flowers. The spring flowers in a wet year were unbelievable. The whole valley floor, and the foothills too, would be carpeted with lupins and poppies.”
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
I was so excited to see pansies and violas in every market and store; spring had arrived! It also meant decorating with edible flowers. I had been planning to make cupcakes in baby flowerpots, decorated with pansies for months. Violet Blackberry Curd is a creamy surprise filling inside the citrus vanilla cupcake. The velvety cream cheese frosting is a perfect canvas for spring violas. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
I used King Arthur Flour’s Elegant White Cake recipe for my cupcakes, adding 1T mandarin zest and replacing the almond extract with vanilla extract. Your favorite white cake recipe is easily adapted to make these charming spring cupcakes. While your cupcakes are cooling prepare the sumptuous Blackberry Mandarin Curd and the decadent Cream Cheese frosting. A spring treat awaits!
|For the cupcakes|
|1||batch of vanilla cupcakes, my recipe yielded 16 cupcakes|
|1||recipe Blackberry Mandarin Curd|
|1||recipe Cream Cheese Frosting|
|16||Organic violas or pansies, optional|
| Blackberry Mandarin Curd
|18 oz||fresh or frozen blackberries|
|1/4 C 2 oz||water|
|1/8 C 1 oz||mandarin juice|
|1/2 C 120 grams||sugar|
|1T||cornstarch, mixed with 2 T water|
|1/8 C 1 oz||butter|
- Combine the blackberries with 1/4 C of water in a small saucepan. Simmer until almost all the berries break down into juice, about 15 minutes. Cool and then separate the seeds from the berry puree by processing with a food mill or pushing the berries through a sieve held over a bowl to capture the puree. You will have approximately a cup of berry puree. Discard the seeds.
- Transfer the berry puree back into the saucepan. Combine with the mandarin juice, sugar and cornstarch, mixed with 2 T water. Whisk in the eggs yolks, zest, salt and cornstarch mixture. Cook over medium heat, until the mixture thickens and the egg yolks are cooked, 15 – 20 minutes. Remove the curd from the stove and let cool 15 minutes. Then stir in the butter and salt.
- Transfer the Blackberry Mandarin Curd to a bowl to finish cooling. Cover the top of the curd with plastic wrap. Press the wrap down so there is no air between the curd and the plastic. This will prevent a skin from forming on top of the curd.
| Cream Cheese Frosting
|8 oz||cream cheese, room temperature|
|4 oz||butter, room temperature|
|1 t||mandarin zest|
|1 lb||powdered sugar|
- In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese until smooth and no lumps are visible. Add the butter and mix together until you can no longer tell they are separate ingredients.
- Add the zest, vanilla and salt and combine with the cream cheese butter mixture. Slowly add the powdered sugar and milk in increments until thoroughly combined. If the frosting is too firm add milk a tablespoon at a time. If the frosting is too soft add powdered sugar a few tablespoons at a time until the desired consistency is achieved.
To assemble the cupcakes
- Gently wash and let dry one viola or pansy for each cupcake.
- In the center of each cupcake, scoop a small hole for the Blackberry Mandarin Curd. Take care not to scoop down through the bottom of the cupcake. Reserve the scooped cake for snacking!
- Fit a pastry bag with a 5/8″ plain tip. Fill the bag with Blackberry Mandarin Curd and pipe approximately 1T into the center of each cupcake.
- Clean and dry the pastry bag and tip and then fill with Cream Cheese Frosting. Pipe frosting for each cupcake.
- Decorate filled and frosted cupcakes with violas or pansies.