It was Huruki Murakami, one of my all-time favorite wordsmiths, who said, “Whiskey. like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation. You gaze first, and then it’s time to drink.” Truer words were never uttered, sir.
If I’m going to drink spirits I like the standard bourbons, Maker’s particularly. I will accept a posh upgrade and likely enjoy it, but there is something familiar about Maker’s. One fewer decision, you know? While I’m not much for desserts myself, I have been tasked with bringing one to a party next week, and I think I’ve settled on the below, which matches well with the Old-Fashioned upgrade I’m going to bring. (OK, the internet helped!)
Blackberry Cupcake Base & Glaze/Purée
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour (which you can make, see below)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup milk
- 6 eggs, whites only
- 12ounces blackberries
- 1/2 – 1cups sugar
- 1/2lemon, juice and zest
- 12tablespoons butter, unsalted (room temp/soft)
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Start by making the blackberry purée: Heat over medium heat in small saucepan- blackberries, 1/2-1 cup sugar and lemon juice and zest.
- Heat until berries start to ‘pop’.
- Remove from heat and press through sieve/strainer to remove seeds. Cool.
- Now, for the cupcake base. Sift together dry ingredients- flour, salt, baking powder. If you do not have cake flour, you can make it by replacing 1 tablespoon per cup of flour with cornstarch. Sift together several times to incorporate well.
- Cream butter and sugar in mixer for about 2 minutes, until fluffy and smooth.
- Mix egg whites and milk in a (separate) bowl. Set aside.
- While mixing slowly, add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the mixer with the creamed butter/sugar. Mix well.
- Mix in eggs/milk slowly.
- Add remainder of flour mixture and mix until combined.
- Fold in about half of the blackberry puree. I prefer to leave it mixed lightly, keeping a marbled appearance.
- Fill cupcake liners/pan about halfway and bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
- Remove and allow to cool completely.
- 6 tablespoons flour, all-purpose
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup sugar (prefer vanilla sugar, which is sugar that’s had a used vanilla bean buried in it for a day or so)
- 1 cup butter (prefer salted for this)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean (alternatively 1 additional teaspoon extract)
- 2 tablespoons bourbon (or whiskey)
- Combine flour and milk in small saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir until thick paste-like consistency. You should see the bottom of the pan remain when stirring when this is finished cooking. This is your baker’s roux.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Stir periodically to prevent a film from forming and to speed up the cooling process.
- Cream butter and sugar (or vanilla sugar) for about 2 minutes, until fluffy and smooth.
- Add flour mixture and mix at medium/medium-high speed until combined well, about 5 minutes.
- Mix in vanilla extract and bean pulp and bourbon until combined,
- Assemble cupcake and enjoy!
And after making enough cupcakes to share with your favorite friends, why not settle in with one of your delectable cupcakes and a:
Springtime Blackberry Bourbon Cooler.
Muddle some mint with a half-handful of blackberries, add a jigger of your favorite bourbon (like I said, I stick with Maker’s) and about half to three quarters that much simple syrup. I like to top mine off with seltzer water (for this my soda stream has been so helpful!) Good practice for the impending KENTUCKY DERBY!