Recipe Post: Quick and Easy Berry Swirl Cupcakes

There’s nothing like the flavour of market-fresh, in-season fruit in cupcakes and muffins. This recipe is not that. Let’s be honest; many of us in the Northern hemisphere are in the cold, dark days of winter, and fresh fruit is expensive and of a lower quality than during harvest season.

But hey, when we want cupcakes to stave off the winter blahs, then darnit, we deserve cupcakes!

I’m all about simplicity (hahahahaha). Ok, not really, but seriously, when you just want to cram your face with carbs and wait for spring, sometimes quick, easy, and simple wins are the best. And when it comes to making cute and delicious cuppies that make you smile but don’t take a lot of time to put together, there’s a simple solution that doesn’t require the extra effort of defrosting frozen fruit and making/cooking off a puree; JAM!

Yes, it’s really that simple. Who doesn’t have a jar of fruity something-or-other hiding in your cupboard unopened or languishing in the door of your fridge, ignored and unloved? Well, bring it out, give it some light and attention, and watch as the recipients of your cupcake mini-obsession wonder how you managed to find delicious berries in the middle of winter. As they cram yet another cupcake, frosting-first, into their faces.

Or is that just me?

While I made delicious strawberry jam cupcakes, it’s really up to you to decide what jam, jelly, preserves, marmalade, or dare I say chutney (go crazy!) you’d like to use; the world is your oyster (*note: I do not recommend oyster cupcakes*).

Quick and Easy Berry Swirl Cupcakes

YIELD: 12 servings | PREP: 15 mins | BAKE: 20 mins

  • 1 cup/320g good quality berry jam
  • 1½ cups/188g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp/5g baking powder
  • ½ tsp/3g salt
  • ½ cup/114g unsalted butter or coconut oil, softened
  • 1 cup/94g vanilla sugar (if you don’t have any, just use 1 cup of granulated sugar + 1 tsp vanilla)
  • ¼ cup/60mL buttermilk or soured milk (substitute dairy-free if necessary)
  • 1 whole egg + 2 egg whites


  • ½ cup/114g unsalted butter or coconut oil, softened
  • ½ cup/116g cream cheese or dairy free equivalent, softened
  • 2-5 drops red liquid food colouring (optional)
  • 3-4 cups/360-480g icing sugar
  • ¼ cup/60mL whipping cream or full-fat coconut milk
  • ½ tsp/3mL pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup/80g good quality berry jam
  • Sprinkles of choice
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F/180˚C and set rack to middle of oven. Grease 6 large (or 12 standard) muffin cups or line them with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. Heat the jam either over the stove or in the microwave until just heated through and fluid but not boiling. Set aside to partially cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and vanilla sugar together until light and fluffy; add egg and egg whites one at a time, and blend until well-combined, scraping the bowl several times. Blend in vanilla if using instead of vanilla sugar.
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in three portions and blend each in well.
  6. Fill the muffin cups to ⅔ full (best to use an ice cream scoop/disher for this). Add about 1 teaspoon of warm jam to each batter; using a butter knife, fork, or toothpick, gently swirl the jam until satisfied with the look (see photo).
  7. Bake in the middle of the oven for 17-20 minutes, rotating the baking tray once during baking, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing cupcakes from pan to cool completely.
  9. Meanwhile, make frosting; Beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy. Add the food colouring (if using) and blend in well. Add the icing sugar 1 cup at a time along with a small amount of the whipping cream, and blend until well-combined and your desired consistency, scraping the sides of the bowl and the beaters several times. Blend in vanilla.
  10. Add remaining jam (about ¼ cup) and blend in until fully incorporated.
  11. Frost cupcakes with piping bag or spoon once they have cooled. Decorate with sprinkles as desired.

Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temp for up to 2 days, or frozen (unfrosted) well-wrapped for up to 2 months.

*to sour milk, add ¼ tsp white vinegar or lemon juice per cup of milk; heat in microwave for 30 seconds and stir


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