Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lemon Cupcakes with Strawberry Filling and Lemon Buttercream Frosting

It's springtime in Boston, friends! That means it's time to bake with spring-like flavors...I think lemon and strawberry fit well with spring, don't you? :)  I made these cupcakes for my boss Gina's birthday at work, and they were a hit! I was pleased since it was a new recipe, and I always get a little nervous testing out a new recipe for a real occasion!

I found the recipe I used on a blog called The Cupcakery. I borrowed both the cupcake and frosting recipes from the Cupcakery blog, but the strawberry filling recipe came from a different blog. I'm stealing recipes from all over, people! 

Now, there are a lot of pictures with this post...just wanted to give you a fair warning! And they're not even of each step of the process. That would just be crazy! Believe it or not, I cut down on the pictures included here. ;-)

The cupcakes themselves were super easy; the only steps that took a teeny bit longer were "making" the lemon zest and juice (and that was really only five minutes).

For the cupcake recipe, I used the zest of two lemons and then for the juice, I got about two tablespoons out of one lemon. So, I saved the second lemon's juice for the frosting recipe.

Here you can see the lemon zest and juice before I incorporate them into the batter. They added just the right amount of "tang" to this recipe, I thought!!

I was able to make 18 regular sized cupcakes out of this AND 12 mini cupcakes. That is a lot of cupcakes! I think I ended up bringing all of the large ones to work and about six of the small ones. At the end of the celebration there was one mini one left....was it left out of politeness, perhaps? Nobody ever wants to take that last item left!

Okay, okay, onto the filling and frosting. I get so sidetracked sometimes. :) I had fun making the strawberry filling recipe; aside from my post a couple weeks ago for sweet potato muffins with cinnamon mascarpone filling, I have never "filled" a cupcake or muffin before! And now I think I'm hooked. It's such an easy way to jazz up a recipe!

As I mentioned earlier, I used the filling recipe from another blog. It called for five easy ingredients; fresh fruit, water, vanilla extract, sugar, and cornstarch. You can make this with any fruit, I bet, too. Raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, cherry...lots of options here! The fruit filling smelled sooo good while it was cooking on the stove too. I think it was the vanilla that was so aromatically pleasing. :)

I used the same method I used with the sweet potato muffins to take out the centers of these cupcakes - a grapefruit spoon! It was the perfect tool for this purpose!

Now, the fruit filling really only made enough for 12 cupcakes, so next time if I used the same cupcake recipe, I'd probably double this fruit filling. You can see in this picture below how the filling didn't quite fill the entire center that I had cut out either. Perhaps I cut out too much! Those centers that I cut out though did make for a tasty snack for the baker, if you know what I mean... :)

Frosting time! The recipe was easy...but I think I messed it up. :-(  I somehow decided that skim milk would be fine in place of the whole milk asked for in the recipe. 'Tis not true, friends! The recipe calls for whole milk for a reason. The frosting, as I made it with skim milk, was a bit more runny/liquidy than I expected. Now, it still tasted great, don't get me wrong. But I wasn't really happy with its consistency. We learn from our mistakes I guess! Next time I'll do it right - no substitutions!

You can see how the frosting kind of "sank" down a bit on these cupcakes (the ones with the fruit filling) in the picture above. The rounded-top cupcakes, however, looked a little more pleasing to the eye as far as how the frosting set on them.

I remedied the look of the fruit-filled cupcakes by putting half of a strawberry on each one. That did the trick for the most part! Don't they look better now?

And....ta is one cut open so you can see the filling inside!

I would definitely make these cupcakes again. Delish! I thought they were light and fluffy while moist at the same time. That was the general consensus among coworkers too as we gobbled them up at Gina's birthday celebration at work on Friday. Here are a few pictures of my awesome coworkers, as well as the birthday girl herself, blowing out the candles! Happy birthday, Gina! :)

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