Blue (Berry) Velvet Cupcakes

My lovely children bought me Jamie’s America for Christmas and although I still have the Los Angeles and Georgia sections to read, I am already champing at the bit to try a few recipes from the New York, Arizona and Louisiana.

I decided to start off the New Year with Jamie’s recipe for red velvet cupcakes, but of course I had to make them with my own twist. I had a punnet of blueberries for inspiration so the Blue (Berry) Velvet Cupcake was born.

I followed the recipe exactly but for omitting the cocoa and using a blend of milk and sour cream instead of buttermilk (I forgot to get some). I added a touch more flour to compensate for the lack of cocoa. The milk/sour cream mix seemed to work fine as a substitute. Of course, I also used blue food colouring instead of red. I recommend 2 tbsp blue + 1 tbsp red (I used a touch less red than I should have) though as you don’t want something that looks like Thomas the Tank Engine! It’s nice to have a violet tinge to the blue just like blueberries do.

I made up a batch of Jamie’s cream cheese icing but I found it a bit too tangy with the lemon juice and rind in it. I had a lovely blueberry sauce in mind to be the star of the show so I opted for a simple cream cheese icing instead.

I was nervous about whether the cupcakes would hold their strong blue post-baking in spite of the generous amount of food colouring used. I saw a number of other people’s attempts at baking a blue velvet cupcake and insufficient blue colouring made for cupcakes that looked pretty (though the colour reminded me a bit of Harpic toilet blue…). If the cupcake batter was quite yellow, the blue sometimes ended up giving the cake a slight green tinge which wasn’t terribly attractive. I was aiming for a rich, blue/violet colour reminiscent of well… blue velvet (duh…).

Well Jamie Oliver isn’t Jamie Oliver for his cricket playing abilities after all. I needn’t have worried about the blue being strong enough as his measurements were just perfect. The cakes came out a gorgeous colour and not a hint of browning in sight. Hooray!

I dressed my little pretties up with icing, blueberry sauce (syrup reduced with sieved, crushed blueberries and a splash of lime), fresh blueberries and cashous. Fun indeed and they taste rather good. Just don’t eat them if you’re planning to go out in public later. Blue tongue!

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