Intro

Chocolate Blackberry Cupcake // Notwithoutsalt.com Chocolate Blackberry Cupcake // Notwithoutsalt.com

I had no intention of using the blackberries in cupcakes but I was on one of those end-of-the-season grocery store trips where I had this seasonal sense of urgency. “I didn’t eat enough tomatoes!” “There weren’t enough peaches in my diet!” “I promised myself I’d buy a case of apricots and I didn’t.” Somberly I dreamt of all the missed pies and cans of jam that I won’t get to tuck into in on a cold morning in January. Where did summer go?

So into my cart I tucked five pints of various colored cherry tomatoes, bags of soft peaches and fragrant nectarines and a flat of blackberries still dusty from the fields. The stone fruit never aspired to more than snacks for the kids and quite honestly I think the tomatoes had the same fate. But when a spontaneous evening sailing invitation came up and I volunteered to bring dessert to the little party, those blackberries found their calling.

This cake recipe is not new to this site. In fact I’m sure this is the third or quite possibly the fourth time it’s been printed here. It’s made so often in this house I have the recipe hand written and taped to the back of my cupboard for easy access. It’s delightfully easy (only takes one bowl!) and perfectly tender with a hearty chocolate flavor that satisfies my bittersweet cravings. At this point I should have it memorized. But the blackberries stirred carefully into the nearly black batter, now that is new and a very happy discovery. Tart cream cheese frosting and a bit of vanilla flecked salt was going to be the final flourish but a friend (hi, Krissy!) and I decided that a salty caramel would really put these little cakes over the top.

If I have completely missed the mark on sharing this recipe and berry season is well behind you, you’ll be happy to hear that frozen berries work very well and raspberries make a fine blackberry substitute. So regardless of the season these tart, sweet and oh so pretty cupcakes can shine any time of year.

Chocolate Blackberry Cupcake // Notwithoutsalt.com Chocolate Blackberry Cupcake // Notwithoutsalt.com

One final word – for those of you who have shared your email address with me over the years you may have noticed a shiny, new surprise email from me! That’s right, I’ve become a big kid and started a newsletter. We’re aiming for this to be a monthly thing and we’ve got plans for all sorts of fun topics to discuss. This month we’re celebrating the in between – you know when the sun still shines but the leaves lose their green for shades of crimson and orange. Where peaches and apples briefly share the same shelf space and we can finally turn on the oven again without fear of overheating. There are a few recipes from the site that are my favorite to cook right now and then there’s a bonus recipe for a pungent Ginger, Pear Bourbon Punch that is perfect early Fall drinking. I’m aiming for a bonus recipe or something else definitely worth your while – so be sure to sign up!

Chocolate Blackberry Cupcake // Notwithoutsalt.com Chocolate Blackberry Cupcake // Notwithoutsalt.com

 

 

Chocolate Blackberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese + Caramel

makes 3 8” inch layers or 24 cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar (I’ve used white or brown or a combination of the two and all work well)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup vegetable oil (or other, nearly flavorless oil)

2 tablespoons white vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups warm water

4 cups blackberries (fresh or frozen)

//

Prepare two cupcake pans with liners.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl until everything is well blended.

Add the wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Fold in the berries.

Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops slowly spring back when gently nudged.

Let cool in the pan for five minutes before finishings the cooling on a rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

3 (8-ounce) packages / 680 g cream cheese, at room temperature

1⁄2 cup / 115 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 – 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (depending on the desired amount of sweetness)

1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or the seeds from 1 vanilla bean

For the frosting:

Beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Stop the machine and add the confectioners’ sugar, salt, and vanilla. Turn on low and mix until combined.

Turn up the speed to medium and beat 4 minutes more.

The frosting can be made up to 1 week in advance and stored, covered, in the fridge.

Caramel

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup heavy cream

Flake salt

Combine the sugar and the water in a small saucepan. Bring a boil and let the sugar caramelize until it’s smoking and deep copper in color. I teeter the edge with my caramel – close to burnt so you get complex flavors rather than a flat, just-sweet, caramel.

Carefully add the cream (it will bubble up vigorously) then stir to combine.

Let cool.

Frost the cupcakes when they are completely cool. Drizzle on the caramel then top with flake salt.

26 Responses to “Chocolate Blackberry Cupcakes, Cream Cheese + Caramel”

  1. Sabrina Pflug

    These photographs are DIVINE!!!! Blackberries are my absolute favorite and I’ve had a recipe idea brewing all summer and the time has simply slipped away and I never made it! Your recipe is inspirational and I shall make the little cakes this week! Hooray for late summer blackberries!!!

    Reply
  2. Taste of France

    These are gorgeous. I am impressed by the layers of flavors.
    We have wild blackberries growing all over the place. Mostly climbing the dry stone walls along the country roads, but I know of a bunch near a field, away from the road. Added bonus:a bunch of fig trees right there, too. The place smells sweet from so much ripe fruit rotting on the ground.

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      I always look forward to your comments for their ability to whisk me away to the magical place where you live. Someday I’d like a visit. It sounds heavenly. In the meantime I’ll continue to fall deep in to your words. Thanks for commenting and giving me the brief vacation through words.

      Reply
  3. Allyson

    There are no more blackberries where I am, so I’m very glad to hear that these work well with frozen berries. Wow. These look so celebratory and beautiful.

    Reply
  4. Brooke @ Chocolate + Marrow

    I feel like the addition of salted caramel really is the perfect touch. And I couldn’t agree with you more about the summer. I am not a pie baker and have promised myself all summer that I would bake some kind of uber seasonal perfect summer berry pie and I have yet to do it. *Sigh* In our defense, I feel like this summer in the PNW was a really weirdly short one!

    Reply
    • Cat

      Never mind – went through all your old recipes to find another version of the chocolate cake and found my answer. Magic cake, eh? Will start baking now 🙂

      Reply
  5. Kristen R.

    I feel your first paragraph so terribly this month! I went into the same manic mode two weeks ago, and to be honest I haven’t really had the time to cook great meals and preserve all my late season impulse buys – which mostly means I’m just finding easy ways to eat them. Thank you for making me feel like I’m not alone, and for this gorgeous recipe!

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      You are definitely not alone. I’m already mourning the loss of summer but at the same time embracing fall. Part of the reason why the jam was never made or the tomatoes purchased was because we were off having too much fun in the sun – so not all is a loss I suppose. Hope you are having a wonderful start to fall.

      Reply
  6. Todd

    Please add me to the mailing list for your newsletter. I have been reading your blog for years and I am a big fan. Thanks Todd

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Hello! So sorry for the late reply. So glad you took it upon yourself and did some sleuthing. It is indeed no mistake as you have found – it’s just the wonders of this great recipe. I could tout its vegan-ness but I seem to always go and mess that up with a heaping pile of cream cheese frosting and cream laced caramel. 🙂 Happy baking!

      Reply
  7. Meggie

    How do we sign up for the newsletter?? I put my email into the pop up box but haven’t received anything, I’m sure I missed a step somewhere! Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Cat

    So… I used the frozen raspberries and I think they’re not really a solution after all. They were all big and solid when I put the cakes in the oven, then thawed and collapsed thereby causing the cupcakes to collapse. It turned into a saggy, soggy mess. I ended up offering people spoons to scoop the cake out of the paper. Maybe breaking the berries up a bit would help? Also if you’re using frozen I would suggest using a little less. Otherwise a yummy recipe!

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Cat, so sorry to hear this. Definitely breaking up the berries is a must. If there are clumps of berries they will – as you describe – sink. You could also thaw the berries, drain them a bit and then stir them into the batter.

      Reply

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