Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Berry Delicious!

We enjoyed a couple delicious berry recipes this past weekend. We might as well enjoy the rest of summer while we can, right? As I mentioned in my weekly menu post, I made Blackberry Cupcakes topped with Cream Cheese Icing and Blackberry Jam to take to a cookout Friday evening. They were heavenly. A bit more labor intensive than your average cupcake, but it was worth it. These would be great for a girl's birthday party due to the fabulous purple color that the blackberries create! I started this recipe with the idea of re-creating a blackberry cake that we had enjoyed the weekend before at a local restaurant. To make it a bit easier on myself, I used a boxed cake mix as my base, but next time I may try a homemade base instead to help highlight the blackberry flavor in the cake. I wanted to make them easy to eat at a cookout, so I opted for a cupcake version versus a cake.


Blackberry Cupcake
(yields 24 cupcakes)
  • 1 package white cake mix (I used Betty Crocker's Super Moist)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup oil (I used vegetable)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12 ounces fresh blackberries (yields 3/4 cup juice)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
Cream Cheese Icing
(yields plenty for 24 cupcakes)
  • 5 ounces cream cheese (I used Philadelphia's 1/3 less fat)
  • 3 Tbsp butter (I used Blue Bonnet Light)
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp clear vanilla extract
Blackberry Jam
  • Blackberries from the above cupcake ingredients
Preheat the oven to the temperature listed on the cake mix package. Combine the cake mix, egg whites, oil and water in a large bowl.

In a medium saucepan, heat the blackberries on medium-low heat. Add the sugar and allow the berries to cook until they are softened, about 10 minutes.

Add the berries to a food processor and puree until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to collect the juice, leaving the seeds behind in the blackberry jam on top.

The carton of blackberries should yield about 3/4 cup of juice.

Add this juice to the cake mixture and mix until well blended. Place the jam, which was what was left in the strainer after draining the juice (pictured on the left above) in the refrigerator to chill.

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full with batter and bake according to package directions, or until toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow them to cool for a minute in the muffin tin, then remove the cupcakes and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.

In the meantime, prepare the cream cheese icing. My recipe was adapted from one I found on my favorite food blog, Annie's Eats. Using chilled cream cheese, combine it with the butter using a beater blade in an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat 2 minutes more. Blend in the vanilla and mix until smooth.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, frost them with the cream cheese icing.

Place a heaping teaspoon-sized dollop of jam onto the top of each cupcake. Enjoy!

I decided I wanted to do something with the extra cream cheese icing, so I made Strawberry Shortcake Pancakes too this weekend! It worked perfectly. Since I don't use Bisquick anymore, I needed to find a good pancake recipe to try. Again, I turned to Annie. I found a recipe for chocolate chip pancakes on her blog and I adapted it to work for me. I didn't want a super sweet pancake (like I normally make) because I knew the cream cheese icing would be very sweet and could balance the pancake. So this is what I ended up making.

(yields 18 large pancakes)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups milk (I used whole because I had extra)
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted (I used Blue Bonnet Light)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 lb package of fresh strawberries
  • Cream cheese frosting (see above recipe)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat a griddle or skillet to medium heat. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Whisk in the milk, butter and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Add in the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix just until incorporated.

Prepare your griddle or skillet with a small pat of butter or thin coating of butter spray. Drop scoops of batter onto the griddle or into the pan.

Cook until bubbles form on the surface and begin to pop, and the bottom is light golden brown. Flip gently with a spatula and cook again until cooked through and light golden brown on both sides. Transfer the cooked pancakes to a baking sheet in the warmed oven to keep them warm while you repeat the process with the remaining batter.

In the meantime, slice strawberries into thin pieces. Once the pancakes are complete, assemble your strawberry shortcake pancakes by spreading a thin layer of the cream cheese icing on a pancake and topping with a handful of the strawberry slices. Repeat the layers and serve. Yum!

These were a hit! Ethan preferred to just dip his pieces of pancake into a small dollop of the cream cheese icing and eat the strawberries by themselves. A fun, family-friendly breakfast that everyone will love!

I've never been a huge fan of blackberries, but they are hubby's favorite. This cupcake recipe, however, has converted me to a fan! I've always loved strawberries and they are one of the boys' favorites too. Which berries do you look forward to eating in the summer?


  1. Both of these recipes look amazing! I really appreciate you taking the time share them with us. And you seriously know your way around the kitchen! I am impressed that you make all of this stuff from scratch!

    1. Thanks!! I hope that others try them and enjoy them as much as we did! :) I guess it was all those years of cooking projects in 4-H! ;) haha!


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