Blue Velvet, Blackberry Curd, and Blackberry Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons royal blue gel paste food coloring
- 1 tablespoon purple gel paste food coloring
BLACKBERRY CURD FILLING:
- 2 quarts fresh blackberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
BLACKBERRY LEMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
- 1 pound cream cheese
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons reserved blackberry juice, from curd filling
- 1 lemon, zested
- 5 cups confectioners' sugar
- 24 whole fresh blackberries, for garnish (optional)
For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a cupcake or muffin pan with 24 regular-size cupcake liners.
Place the oil, buttermilk, eggs, vinegar, vanilla, and sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until thoroughly mixed. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder together and slowly add to the mixer on low speed. Scrape down the bowl thoroughly, as needed. Add the food colorings in a steady stream until desired shade is achieved; it should appear bluish-purple. Beat for another 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl one last time and mix for 30 seconds by hand.
Fill the cupcake liners two-thirds full with batter and bake until they form a semi-hard crust on top, about 25 minutes. Immediately remove the cupcakes from their pan and place on a cooling rack.
For the blackberry curd filling: Bring the blackberries and water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. Turn down the heat to low and simmer until the blackberries are soft and separate easily, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a sieve and pass through using a spoon to help mash the blackberries. Discard the pulp and reserve the juice. Place the flour and sugar in a clean saucepan and slowly pour in the blackberry juice, reserving 2 tablespoons. Whisk constantly. When thoroughly combined, add the whole eggs and egg yolks, whisking and cooking until the mixture thickens. When the curd has formed, after about 7 minutes, remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Cover tightly and place in the refrigerator until fully chilled.
For the cream cheese frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter together in the bowl of an electric stand mixer until pale and creamy. Add the blackberry juice and lemon zest and continue to beat until the color is even. (The lemon zest has a tendency to adhere to the beater blade. When removing from the mixer bowl, be sure to scrape this off and blend back into the frosting by hand.) Reduce the speed to low and slowly begin adding the confectioners' sugar. Keep adding until the frosting has a medium-stiff consistency. You may not require the full 5 cups sugar. Beat on high speed for a further 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.
To assemble: Remove the center of each cupcake using an apple corer. Fill the cavity with the blackberry curd until it is level with the top of the cake. Pipe the frosting on top using a plain pastry tip. Crumble one of the cakes into small pieces and scatter a few crumbles on top of each cake so that it adheres to the frosting. Garnish with a whole fresh blackberry, if desired.