Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes


I have raved and raved about my cupcake recipe. Just recently, I used it for several different cupcakes, adding flavors in as needed. It works smashingly, but I decided to spice things up. A colleague,  knowing my love of kitchen time, often shares lemon cake recipes. Lemon, in light use, is a refreshing, slightly tart flavor in desserts (see Lemon Bars). When mixed with sugar, it makes a really great cookie or cake.

The mildly subtle recipe hints added up, so when it came time for her birthday, Lemon cake was #1 on the list. And here's where I made a change - I used a new cake recipe. And it is the simplest yet most awesome recipe ever.



How many times does a recipe say, "Just dump all this stuff in a bowl and mix it." Unless you are making a packet of french onion dip, NEVER! Ok, this one didn't say that verbatim. But you get the gist. I mixed the flour, sugar, eggs, butter, shortening, vanilla, salt, milk, and baking powder into a bowl and mixed.

Now, I used half butter and half shortening, as the recipe called for shortening but I prefer a buttery flavor. I knew the shortening would keep moisture in the cake longer than butter, though, so it made sense to use. In addition, I mixed in some chia seeds in place of one of the eggs. Chia seeds puff up and add some texture, plus they are super good for you. It's a win-win in this cupcake.

To get that lemon flavor, I added in some lemon juice and a good amount of fresh lemon zest. This lemon was fully utilized, inside and out.


The mixing was that easy! Into the cupcake papers the batter went, and into the oven to bake. Look at how light and fluffy the batter is; it didn't even sink into the papers.



But wait, there's more! A cupcake without frosting is just a muffin. I decided to combine fruit flavors in this cupcake and make a blueberry frosting. Which really just meant making buttercream and then smashing up blueberries and mixing them in. To add some more blue, I used a drop of blue food coloring as well.


Piping was a bit challenging as I relied on my mixer to mash up the blueberrries as it stirred; well, some hunks survived and kept clogging up the piping bag. Note to self: blend those berries first! Or use a knife for this job.


This recipe was great. The cake turned out SO MOIST! I know people hate that word. It's some psychological thing where people are disgusted by the word, "moist". Well, it's required here. And it's meant in the completely positive, delicious cake descriptor way. These were some of the best cupcakes I have made, because they held up when you took the paper off, but just crumbled when you bit into them. The blueberry and lemon mix worked out ideally; the 2 fruits worked so well together. But truly, blueberries make a great flavor for a frosting add in. I have found my new go to cake recipe, and it's an easy one!

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes Recipe

Ingredients:

For the cake:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 tablespoon chia seeds (mixed with 1 tablespoon water)
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice

For the frosting:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup crushed blueberries
Blue food coloring, if desired

Instructions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, milk, butter, shortening, baking powder, salt, vanilla, eggs, chia seeds, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Beat on low speed until combined, and then increase speed to medium and continue mixing for 4-5 minutes. The batter will be light and fluffy. Spoon in to cupcake pans and bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool. To make frosting, beat butter on high speed for about 1 minute, until light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar and milk. Mix in blueberries and frost cooled cupcakes.

adapted from the good housekeeping cookbook yellow cake recipe

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