With Memorial Day coming up, I thought I’d share a few recipes this week that are great for any barbecues you might be planning in honor of the holiday. Celebrate the red, white and blue with these vanilla cupcakes topped with whipped buttercream frosting and fresh blueberries and raspberries. They’re a simple yet beautiful dessert for Memorial Day or 4th of July this summer. And because you’re getting bright red and blue from the fruit, you don’t need to use food coloring or rely on other artificial ingredients to get those patriotic colors. For an additional festive touch, use star-spangled (or other appropriately themed) cupcake liners to pay tribute to the USA.
While you can get the same visual effect using a boxed vanilla cupcake mix, this recipe is worth making from scratch. The combination of cake flour and all-purpose flour makes the cupcake extra light and fluffy. Milk adds moisture, and the use of vanilla bean paste gives them a more pronounced vanilla flavor then you’d get using vanilla extract. (Plus, the specks of vanilla bean add a gourmet touch.) The buttercream frosting is incredibly fluffy due to the heavy whipping cream beat in at the end. It’s rich and sweet without overpowering the cupcake. Vanilla bean paste is also used here for even better flavor.
The blueberries and raspberries on top give these cupcakes a delicious berries and cream flavor that’s fresh and light for summer. If you want even more berry flavor, try mixing some additional berries into the cake batter before baking. These cupcakes are sure to be a hit at your barbecues this summer.
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste (substitute vanilla extract if necessary)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk (2% used here)
- (Optional) 1 cup blueberries gently tossed in 2 Tablespoons flour
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin pans with cupcake liners.
- Cream butter and sugar using an electric mixer for about 3 minutes, so that it’s light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg.
- Add vanilla, baking powder and salt to mixture. Mix to combine.
- In a small bowl, combine flours.
- Measure out the milk and alternately add the flour and the milk to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour.
- If you’d like to add blueberries to the batter, gently fold them in at this time.
- Fill lined cupcake tins with batter. You should have about 18 cupcakes.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
- Allow to cool 10 minutes in pan before transferring to a cooling rack.
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2-3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1-2 pints of blueberries
- 1-2 pints of raspberries (you could also do chopped strawberries if you prefer)
- Cream the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 minutes.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, until thoroughly mixed.
- Add the vanilla and salt. Mix well.
- Add 2 Tablespoons of cream and beat for about 3 minutes. If it seems too thick, add just a bit more cream.
- Decorate completely cooled cupcakes as desired.
- Top with berries just before serving.
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