Blackberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Berries and cream? Yes, please!
My boys pop berries like candy, which is fine in my book, as they are nature's candy. I have several baby photos of them sitting on the counter top, wearing nothing but a diaper, skin stained purple, with berry juice everywhere, looking as if they had an after hours party at Jamba Juice...or grandma's house.
Summer is the sweetest time for berries, no pun intended, and my fridge is always stocked full. They're a quick, healthy snack, incredibly versatile, and can almost pass for dessert. Almost...if there's lots of whipped cream involved. I love to add blueberries to a peach cobbler, or buttermilk pancakes. Strawberries taste incredible in a fresh salad with goat cheese and toasted walnuts. Raspberries add a zing to smoothies or to champagne for a festive brunch.
Blackberries are my absolute favorite. I love the jewel tone color, the texture, the rich, sweet flavor and tangy finish. Blackberries remind me of my childhood, when we'd visit my grandparents in the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound, Washington. Blackberries grew wild on the road side and we'd snack on them while we walked to town, staining our lips and teeth. Once, we filled an entire basket and brought it home to my grandma, who loved to make homestyle pies from scratch. She baked the best, truly the best, blackberry pie I've ever tasted.
I've always felt the flavors of blackberry and lemon combined beautifully, and a lemon blackberry cupcake sounded positively divine on a sunny summer day. My fridge is filled with fresh blackberries, and coincidently, I happen to have made too many lemon cupcakes for a party yesterday. (Did I just say too many lemon cupcakes? I must not be feeling well.) Perfect timing to experiment! My first inclination was to puree the berries and fill the center of the cupcakes, topping them off with my favorite cream cheese frosting, creating a pleasant surprise when you bite into the cupcake. But then, lightbulb! Why not just add the puree directly to the frosting? Yum! Berries and cream on a lemon cupcake, oh happy day, happy day indeed! Gorgeous vibrant color, subtle fresh berry flavor that compliments the cream cheese perfectly, and the new best friend to a lemon cupcake.
My only regret, not topping the cupcakes with a monster-sized fresh blackberry. I was in too much a hurry to eat them. But either way, my grandma would be so proud!
Blackberry Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces (1 block) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup blackberries (fresh or frozen, but thawed)
- pinch of kosher salt
- In a food processor, puree the blackberries till they're the texture of a smoothie. Put them through a mesh strainer to get rid of the seeds. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter till smooth.
- Slowly add the powdered sugar. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Mix till combined.
- Add the vanilla and pinch of salt.
- With the mixer on low, add the puree by the spoonful, till the desired color and flavor is achieved. For me, it was about 3 heaping tablespoons. Because the puree is juicy, you want to add a little at a time so your frosting doesn't get runny. If you add too much, add a little more powdered sugar.
- Mix on high speed for 2 minutes till smooth. Use any remaining puree to drizzle over the top of your frosted cupcakes.