Thursday, February 9, 2012

Blackberries and Beeches

Blackberry Vanilla Swirl Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Lime Frosting, Blackberry Drizzle and Candied Lime
Blackberries and Brown Beech Mushrooms are the topics of discussion today, as they were a few of the star ingredients I got to work with this week.

The mister and I finally made it over to the Berkeley Bowl, and I was so excited to see their bountiful produce department.  I think we counted 11 varieties of potatoes, and there must have been at least 10 varieties of mushrooms. Imagine the beauty! I don't think I have mentioned the love affair that I have with mushrooms. So let me just say, I love mushrooms.  I love their earthiness, and fun textures. I love that they are sort of dirty, and spotty, and some of them are unsightly, while some of them are almost graceful. I just adore mushrooms.

Well, I was on a budget so I had to refrain from grabbing handfuls of each type of mushroom, so at the very end of the mushroom aisle I stumbled upon these funny little packaged mushrooms. These were within my budget, so I quickly grabbed one and added it to my basket. I decided on the Brown Beech Mushroom...

I have made these before and knew exactly what I wanted to do with them....pan fry them in butter with fresh garlic and salt and pepper. And then have the best dinner ever!

Also this week, I got to do some birthday time baking for a friend's birthday. I knew that she is quite fond of blackberries, so I decided on making her some blackberry lime cupcakes. Originally I did not want a purple-ish cupcake, and I thought I wanted to use a fresh blackberry as a garnish. More often than not, I find that my original idea and end product is usually different. I guess that is ok. It's all a learning process, right?!

I did know that I wanted the cupcakes to actually taste like blackberries, so I decided to puree them. Half of the puree was to go in the cake batter, and the other half was to be made into blackberry syrup to drizzle on top. Most importantly was to remember to strain the blackberry puree to get rid of the seeds. Nobody wants seeds in their cupcakes!

I found this recipes online, and found it to work out beautifully. I still didn't really want my cupcakes to be completely purple, so I added the blackberry puree very last, and only gently folded it in so that it varied in color...
I whipped up a simple cream cheese frosting, but added lime juice to give it some zing. I think the acid in the lime was breaking down the cream cheese as I found it somewhat difficult to get the frosting to set. I ended up adding more powdered sugar to get it to set. You could still taste the lime so it worked out nicely.

Lastly, I candied some lime slices and used that and the blackberry syrup for garnish....Happy Birthday Connie!!!
Blackberry Vanilla Swirl Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Lime Frosting, Blackberry Drizzle and Candied Lime

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