My Mum bought a punnet of blackcurrants the other day, simply because they were reduced. Seeing as I’m the only person at home who does things with fruit other than washing, peeling and chopping, it was my job to do something with them.
So I made cupcakes. I rarely make cupcakes. I always go for muffins instead. It probably has something to do with the way I’m not keen on large amounts of icing. But if I wanted my boyfriend to love me more, making more cupcakes, ideally with an equal ratio of cake to buttercream, would be a good plan.
But as the boyfriend wasn’t going to be getting any of these, I could satisfy my own preferences and go sparingly with the icing.
I played around a bit using some blackcurrant sugar syrup to make the icing, too much blackcurrant sugar syrup. And so my icing turned out a rather bright, garish pink, a long way from the pastel shade I’d been hoping for.
Icing colour aside, the cupcakes themselves came out beautifully. Although I worried I’d left them in the oven a fraction too long, they were still perfectly moist, with a light, delicate crumb. The blackcurrants added tangy little bursts of flavour, resulting in less need for copious amounts of icing to jazz them up (in my mind at least, undoubtedly the boyfriend would still disagree!)
Blackcurrant cupcakes (makes 12)
- 175g blackcurrants
- 50g sugar
- 100ml water
- 125g butter, softened
- 175g sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temp, lightly beaten
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 175g self-raising flour, sifted
- 50ml milk
- 200g icing sugar
- 2-3tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
- Heat the 50g of sugar and water in a small pan over a gentle heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the mix to the boil, then add the blackcurrants. Cook for about 1 minute until just softening. Remove the blackcurrants with a slotted spoon and drain in a sieve placed over a bowl.
- Continue to boil the syrup for two minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter with a wooden spoon or electric hand mixer for about one minute until soft and creamy.
- Add the sugar and continue mixing for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Gradually add the egg to the creamed butter and sugar, beating well between each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl now and again to make sure everything is evenly combined.
- Add the lemon zest and half the flour then gently fold in using a large metal spoon.
- Gently fold in the milk.
- Add the remaining half of the flour and fold in until fully combined.
- Very gently fold in the softened blackcurrants, being carefully not to break them up too much.
- Divide the mix between the paper cases.
- Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until lightly golden brown, firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the icing, sieve the icing sugar into a medium bowl. Add 1tsp-1 tbsp (depending on how pink you want your icing to be!) of the reserved blackcurrant syrup to the icing sugar and mix in. Very gradually add the lemon juice, stirring well between each addition until the icing is a thick, spreadable consistency (you may not need all the juice).
- Using a round bladed knife, spread the icing over the cooled cupcakes and leave to set.