Cupcakes have become a bit of an obsession for me lately. I absolutely love the joy I get from baking them, and the creativity that can be employed when making them makes it more fun than ordinary baking. There are so many different flavors, fillings, and frostings, not to mention garnishes, baking cups, sprinkles......the possibilities never end!
Recently I was asked to bake cupcakes for a luncheon that some friends and I were hosting. We were honoring a friend who is about to move away to another town. While it is a sad occasion to say goodbye, I am very excited for her and her family as they begin a new adventure. When trying to decide what flavor cupcakes to make, there were a few things that came to mind.
1) I know that my friend likes fruity flavors, and since it is summertime that seemed like a natural fit.
2) Since I was making two dozen cupcakes, I thought it would be nice to make two different flavors
for the guests to choose from.
3) I had these cute baking cups that I have been waiting for just the right occasion to use, so I wanted
to choose a flavor that would look nice in them.
So, with all of that in mind, I decided to make Lemon Blueberry and Key Lime. (I'll share the Key Lime recipe at a later time).
These cupcakes were my inspiration. Because I often bake gluten-free (I have celiac disease and so selfishly I want to be able to enjoy my goodies), I have gotten into the habit of doctoring a gluten-free cake mix. Perhaps I need to experiment more, but I just haven't found a from scratch recipe that tastes as good as the doctored recipe I use. I mixed up the cake as usual, adding pudding, eggs, oil, sour cream, milk and vanilla to a Pamela's gluten-free Classic Vanilla Cake Mix. I love the texture and flavor of this cake. When I finished mixing the cake, I added the zest from two lemons, then I mixed the blueberries called for in the recipe with about 2 teaspoons of gluten-free flour. You could also hold out a little of the cake mix and toss the blueberries in that. I gently folded the blueberries into the batter and scooped into my cute baking cups, filling about halfway.
After baking and cooling, I cored out the center of the cupcake and filled with the lemon curd. Then, since I didn't have the ingredients to make the icing called for in the inspiration recipe, I decided to make a traditional cream cheese frosting with lemon curd. For a garnish I cut some mint leaves from my herb garden and then added a blueberry. I thought they turned out lovely, just right for a ladies luncheon. The baking cups make a dainty size that is a little smaller than a traditional cupcake, but still plenty of cake.
So, how did they taste? They got rave reviews from the guests at the luncheon, and I thought they were fantastic. Also, my husband got home and tested them (he loves that job!) and gave them a thumbs up as well. I definitely recommend this flavor combination! And I don't think anyone even realized they were gluten-free (except my friends who saw me enjoying one!).
Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes
1 basic vanilla cake mix (gluten-free or regular)
1 small vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Zest of two lemons
3/4 cup blueberries, tossed in two tsp. reserved cake mix or two tsp. gluten-free or regular flour
Combine the first seven ingredients in mixer bowl; mix on low speed until moistened, then mix on medium speed for two minutes. Add the lemon zest, and mix briefly until combined. With a rubber spatula, fold in the blueberries. Be sure to coat them with cake mix or flour so they don't bleed in the cake.
Fill cupcake liners. Depending on the size of your cakes, bake 15-20 minutes or until pick inserted comes out clean. DO NOT OVERBAKE! Remove from oven and allow to cool.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup lemon juice
zest of two large lemons
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks
Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and zest.
Mix together the sugar, salt and cornstarch and add it to the pan. Whisk in the egg yolks until smooth and return to heat. Cook over medium-low heat for roughly 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
Once thickened, strain the mixture though a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Allow to chill in the refrigerator completely before using.
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2/3 cup lemon curd (recipe above)
Zest of two lemons
To assemble, take cooled cupcakes and core a hole in the middle (you can use a vegetable peeler to make a small indention in the center of the cupcake). Fill hole with lemon curd. Use a decorating tip (Wilton 1M) on a pastry bag to pipe icing on the top, then garnish as desired.
Click here for printable recipe
I hope you enjoy these as much as me and my friends did!