The weather outside is still early spring. The trees are just beginning to bud, the grass is a spectrum of muddy browns and dull greens, and temperatures are consistently less than 50 degrees. I am tired of cold weather and cloudy afternoons. I feel like I live in the land of perpetual winter. It feels strange that school ends in two weeks, that summer will finally arrive (though I imagine it will be more in name than spirit for now).
Despite Mother Nature's mixed signals, I could use a little summer in my life right now.
Each spring, when the snow melts and the comfort food cravings disappear, I fill my grocery basket with berries. Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries... whatever happens to be on sale for the week. I pick through half a dozen containers before I find the least damaged ones. I know these berries pale in comparison to their in season counterparts, both in taste and appearance, but I cannot help but fill my refrigerator with them.
They remind me of sunshine, warm afternoons, and good books. Those feelings have been sorely missed.
After a particularly fruitful grocery run, I had a tower of blackberries on the counter ready to be used. Though blackberry and vanilla go together well, I like to believe that blackberry and chocolate go together better. I boiled down the berries to release their juices, used the juice to make a fruity chocolate ganache, and dumped the rest of the berries into the cupcake batter. I infused these cupcakes with berries in as many ways as I knew how.
The finished cupcakes are light, the chocolate is rich, and they are wonderful, no matter the weather.
Chocolate Blackberry Cupcakes combine cocoa and berries in more ways than one. The delicate cupcake and the ganache contrast against one another, bringing out their difference in texture, but emphasizing the similarity in flavor. These cupcakes are lovely when served cold or at room temperature. The cupcakes can be made easily vegan by using dairy-free chocolate and milk.