Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blueberry Cupcakes

If you talk to my family, they'll probably disagree but let me tell you, I like my things organized and I like organizing my things. Sure my closet's not perfect, but are you really going to tell me that your closet is color-coordinated, folded and hung according to season, to purpose, to style? Right. I would say that I don't get to exercise my organization in the house primarily because it's not my house, it's my parents' house. Their rules, their order, their stacks of clutter in the spare room downstairs...

One way of exercising my need for organized presence, time and thoughts, is to make lists. I find a lot of people to find this weird but I love making lists. It's therapeutic and very helpful getting all your thoughts in order. From grocery lists, bucket lists, lists of books I have to buy, lists of places I have to visit, lists of apartments I'm considering moving into, I love making lists. A particular list I have started writing are VGT lists or Very Good Things lists. I got the idea from Dela and I encourage you to start as personally, I feel satisfyingly light and accomplished after making them. The list is pretty direct, you list down things that have made you happy or things that make you feel good.

Very Good Things
  • Reading the Harry Potter series again for the nth time   
  • Having my giant dormer friends over for dinner (Hello Jumbs, Mikey, Bon and Darwish!)
  • I finally managed to get into yoga again!
  • Having a customer compliment my Mom's Chicken Pot Pie as "sublime"
  • Green Tea with Rock Salt and Cheese
  • Blueberry Cupcakes


Blueberry Cupcakes
Cakes
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 3/4 cups cake flour (or all-purpose)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 can blueberry preserves 
2 tsp vanilla extract

or if you're at a place where you can get fresh blueberries, well then I am very jealous, but go for 1 1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) blueberries, and add another 1/2 cup of caster sugar

Cream Cheese Icing
1 pack (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
2 pounds icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and the sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time and add the vanilla. Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk into the egg mixture until fully incorporated.


Add in the blueberries (whether preserved, fresh or frozen) and stir gently with a wooden spoon. You don't want to beat this and end up with burst berries. You want them whole when you bite into them.


If you go with preserves, you get a nice ripple effect in the batter which will cause your finished cupcakes to get a nice purple hue inside.


Line your cupcake pans and fill the liners 3/4 cup full to allow rising.


Bake for 25 minutes until nicely brown or when a skewer comes out clean when pierced in the middle. Let cool for about 15 to 20 minutes and transfer to a plate to be iced.


For the icing, beat all the ingredients in a bowl and pipe on top of the cooled cupcakes. Decorate these however you want. If you have more fresh blueberries, you can top the icing with a blueberry. As for me not having fresh blueberries, I opted for something dainty: purple sugar! Matches the purple blueberries, don't you think?


Yummy and dainty, these definitely have every reason to be on my Very Good Things list this week. These cupcakes are soft and packed full of flavor, a perfect afternoon treat or after dinner snack, from the way my family's consuming them! 

If you have the luxury of having berries and other fruits fresh, then by all means eat them to your heart's craving. I saw some fresh peaches in a neighborhood grocery store and jumped for joy as I bought myself a couple of pieces. If you buy the lot and fear they might overripe before you consume everything, use them in pastries and cakes and they'll be a delightful treat! Make sure to add them to your Very good Things list too!

As ever,
Isobel

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