Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Glee! Blackberry Blackbird Cupcakes


Welcome to the second installment of Glee cupcakes!  I was so excited to discover that it would be a 90 minute episode tonight, that I couldn't wait to get started on the next cupcake.  I seemed to hit it right on the money last week - a diva cupcake for Mercedes paired with an episode with her being a true diva (puppies, anyone?). Seeing the previews for tonight's episode made my pick for this week easy - Kurt!


 One of my favorite performances from Kurt is the recent Blackbird, sung after the death of Pavarotti (the Warbler's canary mascot), and that became the inspiration for Kurt's Glee cupcake. I used my favorite vanilla bean cake recipe for the cake, because I knew they bake up with a flat top that would be perfect for the design I had in mind.



Kurt's Blackberry Blackbird Cupcake combines vanilla bean cake, blackberry filling, and lime swiss meringue buttercream. A nest of candied lime peel holds a fresh blackberry on top of a beautiful rose of buttercream.


Blackberry Blackbird Cupcakes

Blackberry Blackbird Cupcakes

Source: Cake reworded from Confections of a Foodie Bride,
Buttercream slightly adapted from The Culinary Life/Garrett McCord and Beantown Baker/epicurious,
Candied lime peel reworded from Martha Stewart
Yield: about 16 cupcakes
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes


For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed and softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 large eggs (beat the third egg in a small bowl, use half)
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup blackberry jam
  • 16 fresh blackberries, rinsed and dried

For the buttercream:

  • 8 ounces egg whites (from a carton is fine)
  • 12 ounces sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • juice of one lime

For the candied lime peel:

  • 1 lime
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • superfine sugar, for coating


For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line two muffin/cupcake baking pans with 16 cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment. Split and scrape the vanilla pod into the butter, discard pod (or reserve for another use). Beat for 3 minutes on medium-high speed until the butter is light and creamy in color. Stop and scrape the bowl. Cream the butter for an additional 60 seconds.
  3. Add the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl before each addition. Add the eggs one at a time. Reduce the mixer speed. Stir vanilla into the buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Mix just until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. Lift up and drop each pan onto the counter top a couple of times to burst any air bubbles and allowing the batter to settle. Center the pans onto the lower third of the oven and let bake 15-18 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.
  5. Let cool completely in the pans. While baking and cooling, prepare buttercream and candied lime peel.

For the buttercream:

  1. Add egg whites and sugar to a heat-safe bowl. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk lightly until the muixture reaches 140 degrees F and the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Pour hot whites into a room-temperature bowl and whip with a wire whip until double in volume on medium-high speed. When the mixer stops, the meringue should not move around in the bowl. Meanwhile cut up butter into 2-inch pieces. (The butter should be slightly moist on the outside but cold inside.)
  3. On your mixer, remove the whip and attach the paddle. Add half the butter into the bowl immediately and pulsate the mixer several times until the meringue has covered the butter completely. To pulsate the mixer, turn it on and off in a jerky motion. This forces the butter on the top to the bottom of the bowl. Add the balance of the butter and pulsate mixer several times. Slowly increase the mixer's speed, starting with the lowest speed and increase the speed every 10 seconds until you reach a medium-high speed.
  4. Continue beating until the mixture begins to look light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl. Reduce speed to low. Add vanilla and lime and continue to beat on low speed for 45 seconds. Then beat on medium-high speed for an additional 45 to 60 seconds.
    Leftover buttercream can be placed in plastic containers with lids and kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost completely (several hours) and rewhip before using. Storage: Store the icing in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.

For the candied lime peel:

  1. Peel lime with peeler from top to bottom. Using a sharp knife, carefully remove any thick white pith from lime peel. Cut peel into thin strips.
  2. Bring a medium pot filled with water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice-water bath. Add lime peel to boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lime peel to ice-water bath to cool. Repeat process.
  3. Heat sugar and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved. Drain lime peel and add to saucepan; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lime peel to a wire rack set over parchment paper to drain. Toss with superfine sugar to coat. Store candied lime peel in an airtight container up to 3 days.


  1. Prepare cupcakes for filling with the cone method: Using a small, sharp knife, cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake. Fill the cupcake with a rounded teaspoon of blackberry jam. Remove the tip of the cone (to leave room for the filling) and replace the top to the cupcake. Cake is a terrible thing to waste, so be sure to enjoy all those little pieces you cut off!
  2. To make rose design, fit a pastry bag with a large star tip, such as Wilton # 1M. Fill bag with buttercream, and pipe onto cucpcake in a circular motion, starting in the center of the cupcake and moving outward.
  3. Top with fresh blackberry and pieces of candied lime peel.


  1. Wow, these cupcakes are absolutely gorgeous! Perfect spring dessert!

  2. I'm in love with your Glee cupcakes! Mmmm, these are too perfect for Kurt, and this song plays too frequently on my Itunes playlist. Lovvvvvvvvvvvve! Awesome job!

  3. I am loving your Glee cupcakes. What a fun idea. Keep 'em coming!

  4. It would be more look good if you use a sky blue color cupcake wrapper. But this still looks great.

  5. These are SO SO SO PRETTY!! Thank you so much for sharing! :-)

  6. YUM these look delicious!! I was just told about the 90 minute episode as well and I'm SO EXCITED!!! I haven't seen the preview yet but I will have to check it out now! Can't wait :)

  7. So pretty! I'm so excited for tonight's episode.

  8. YUM! love glee, love blackberries! :)

  9. Thanks,everyone!
    LoveCupcakes- I am seriously lacking in the cupcake liner department. I need to get some fun colors/designs.

  10. I adored glee and I adore these cupcakes!

  11. These look amazing! what a great flavor combo!

  12. These sound delicious. Great photos.

  13. I love this series! These cupcakes are definitely Kurt-worthy and I just wish I had one right in front of me right now!

  14. These look awesome! They are so pretty, and look like they are very light and fluffy!

  15. Very creative flavor combination and "Glee" theme as well, I look forward to more of your delicious posts.