There's possibly nothing more satisfying in this world than blackberrying - getting your jumper snagged and your hands scratched but coming away with bowlfuls of gorgeous, shiny berries. Freshly picked blackberries are a whole world away from anything you can buy in shops; they're sweet, perfumed and taste like the beginning of autumn. They're also just begging to be made into a crumble, which you can eat whilst wearing fluffy socks and watching the Antiques Roadshow.
I love a good crumble but this is a cake column after all, so what is to be done? I tell you: crumble CUPCAKES.
Hazelnut sponge baked with fresh blackberries and crumble topping is seriously TDF. What are you waiting for? Get awn out there and get picking. Hey, if you have any left, you can always make blackberry rum...
Blackberry Crumble Cupcakes (Makes 12)
You will need:
For the cakes
- 4 tbsp chopped hazelnuts
- 175g butter, very soft
- 175g caster sugar
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 175g self-raising flour
- 3 tbsp milk
- 150g fresh blackberries
For the crumble topping
- 55g demerera sugar
- 55g flour (can be plain or self-raising)
- 85g butter, chilled and diced
- Pre-heat your oven to 190C/375F/Gas mark 5. Line a cupcake tin with lightly greased cupcake cases.
- Place the chopped hazelnuts in a dry pan and toast over a low heat for around 2 minutes, watching that they don't burn. Turn onto a plate to cool.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs.
- Add a third of the eggs to the mixture, along with a tablespoon of the flour and mix. Repeat with the rest of the egg.
- Sift the rest of the flour into the bowl and gently fold in, until no streaks are showing.
- Tip in half of the hazelnuts and the milk and stir lightly to combine.
- Spoon into the prepared cases, filling 1/3 full. Press a few fresh blackberries into the centre of each cupcake.
The crumble topping:
- In a clean bowl, stir together the flour and sugar.
- Add the chilled butter, and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Stir in the remaining hazelnuts until well combined.
- Spoon the topping onto the cupcake batter and blackberries, being careful not to overfill the cases (or the mixture will explode over the edge = messy oven)
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, keeping an eye on the tops and covering with foil if neccessary, until a skewer inserted into the cake part comes out with only a few crumbs attached.
- Cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire tray.
Now, IMPORTANTLY: the cupcakes will have a dip in the middle. When I first saw them I thought "Oh no! I fucked up the cakes." But then I realised, THAT LEAVES ROOM FOR ICE CREAM. So I suggest serving warm, with a scoop of ice cream or custard in the centre. Mmm. Or if you have left over blackberries you could make a quick compote:
- Place the leftover blackberries in a saucepan along with 2 tbsp vanilla sugar and 1 tbsp water.
- Reduce over a low heat for 5-10 minutes, until the berries release their juice but some still retain their shape.
- Spoon onto the cupcakes and lose yourself in crumbly, cakey, berry loveliness.