As I mentioned in my last post, I spent a lot of July 4th in the kitchen doing one of my favorite things … baking cupcakes! I, for one, am still amazed at how long this whole cupcake craze has lasted – new cupcakeries are still popping up all over the DC area – but I would be lying if I said they aren’t a frequent output of my kitchen. Maybe it’s because they’re fun to decorate, and less daunting than a full-sized cake … or maybe it’s because a cupcake seems more guiltless than a big slice of cake … or maybe it’s because deep down, we all long for the simpler days of grade school birthdays when our moms treated our classmates to sprinkle-topped cupcakes. Whatever the reason, I think cupcakes might be here to stay, and I’m going to enjoy trying out as many new recipes as I can!
I decided to make two kinds of cupcakes for the Fourth: Berry-Lemonade, because it sounded like a good summer treat; and Spicy Dark Chocolate, because I think you always need a chocolate option (see Cupcakes – part two).
First up, the Berry-Lemonade Cupcakes. I spotted this recipe on Sunshine and Carousels awhile back, and this was my second time making it. The only change I made this time was adding a little lemon zest to the cream cheese frosting, as I thought it could use a little more fresh lemon flavor. The thing I love about this recipe, is the fresh fruit and jam baked right into the batter. It really keeps the cupcakes nice and moist, and is a great surprise when you bite into it!
(makes about 24 cupcakes)
- 1 stick of softened butter (1/2 a cup)
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 extra-large eggs
- 3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 cup of cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3/4 cup of milk (whole) or buttermilk (make buttermilk by adding 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to one cup of milk)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup of raspberry jam
- 1 cup of blackberries (extra for topping)
- 2/3 cup of blueberries (extra for topping)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add one egg at a time and then your lemon zest. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, mix 3/4 cup lemon juice, the milk or buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixture alternating each addition, beginning and ending with the flour. Once your batter is made, gently fold in your raspberry jam, blackberries and blueberries. Scoop into your cupcake liners, 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Let cupcakes cool before icing.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 2 packages softened cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 – 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Fresh lemon zest to taste
Cream the butter and cream cheese. Slowly add the powdered sugar until your desired consistency is reached. Then add the vanilla and lemon zest.
And here’s the finished product! See the next post for the spicy dark chocolate cupcakes.