Monday, July 15, 2013

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Baking with fresh summer berries is the one thing that's always on my summer bucket baking list... and the one thing I overlook each and every summer (along with homemade pie crust)... usually in favor of all things and everything ever s'mores.

But did you know? July 10th was National Blueberry Muffin Day! How did you celebrate? Tell me there were muffin-shaped cake pops and purple party streamers. Can I tell you how I celebrated those berry-studded muffins? Because I totally didn't.

I baked blueberry cupcakes instead! 

Sometimes finding the inspiration for baking comes simply from wanting to do the things I love. Like frosting sugary swirls onto cupcakes or baking with bright colorful blueberries. It's the little things.

For these, there was absolutely no baking daydreaming involved... which is totally a thing I am constantly doing. Somedays I just want to brown butter. Other days, just give me a reason to bake with rainbow sprinkles. Just let me live my life.

Today was simple. I just wanted to zest some lemons!

I cannot be the only one out there who loves zesting citrus and these warm, sunny, summertime days are perfect for baking little lemon cakes. Just look at the flecks of lemon in these fluffy cakes and cream cheese frosting!

These soft, cakey lemon cupcakes are full of lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, and bursting tangy-sweet blueberries... and they are one of the best cupcakes I have ever made. Just the buttery, vanilla, sugary-sweet lemon scent alone of these berry cakes baking in my tiny apartment kitchen had me nearly ripping the door off my oven to eat the blueberry batter with a spoon.

Which is why baking with lemon is a once a year thing... because I'm completely obsessed. It's real! Two years ago I made lemon raspberry cupcakes. One year ago I made cakey lemon bar brownies. Lemon pound cake at Starbucks? Just stop. It's my weakness, even more so than the pumpkin spice scones.

I'm still not sure where the self-control came from to let these cakes cool long enough to frost. Side-by-side with a vanilla bean peanut butter cup-stuffed cupcake I would choose one of these lemon blueberry dreams everytime. That's love. They are decadent, summery, and absolutely irresistable.

And serve chilled? I can't even.

You could definitely frost these with a vanilla buttercream frosting instead. Vanilla + lemon is always a good way to live. But what made these one of the best cupcakes I've ever had was the sugary lemon cream cheese frosting. I'm not usually a fan of cream cheese frosting and will always and forever frost my cakes with a buttercream if I can, but this pillowy cream cheese frosting full of lemon zest and freshly-squeezed lemon juice reminded me a little of lemon supreme pie, one of my favorite pies with its thick layer of creamy lemon cheesecake. 

Frosting that reminds me of cheesecake? It's love.

And to top it all off? Sparkling blueberries- fresh blueberries tossed in sugar and sprinkled on top. Summer baking. We're doing it!

On a side note, unfrosted... you could totally get away with calling these cakes muffins. 

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes 

Printable Recipe

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 cup cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
1 cup fresh blueberries

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 1 large lemon
Additional blueberries for garnish

Prep. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside. In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour; set aside.

Whisk. In a medium bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

Mix. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and lemon juice. With the mixer on low, gradually mix in half of the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the milk. Mix in the remaining half of the flour mixture until just combined.

Bake. Use a spatula to gently fold in the prepared blueberries. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Beat it. When cupcakes are completely cooled, make the frosting. Combine cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until well-combined and smooth. Mix in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until totally incorporated, increase speed to high, and mix until smooth and fluffy.

Frost! Frost your cupcakes (I used a Wilton #1M piping tip for these cupcakes). Garnish with fresh blueberries tossed in granulated sugar.

Tip: store extra cupcakes in the refrigerator. The cream cheese frosting tastes even better when served chilled and the fresh berries will keep longer.

Makes 18 cupcakes

Source: Annie's Eats.