cupcakes

Lemon Blue Cupcakes topped with made-from-scratch buttercream icing offers a contrast of colors and a delicious summer flavor.

Summer officially is here and so is hot, humid weather.

As I was thinking about a dessert that would represent summer, I knew it had to have fresh fruit and light flavor. I had just purchased some blueberries at the grocery store and I had some lemons in my refrigerator.

Since I like the taste of both blueberries and lemons, today’s recipe is Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes. It is based somewhat on the recipe from handletheheat.com.

I chose not to make these cupcakes from scratch. Instead I used a white cake mix as my base. The brand of cake mix doesn’t really matter as you are adding additional ingredients to make it taste like it’s made from scratch.

Instead of the ingredients listed on the back of the cake mix, I added a few touches. I melted a stick of butter to use instead of oil. Let the butter cool slightly before adding it to the mix. For the liquid, I added 1 1/3 cups of buttermilk. I used 4 eggs, instead of the threelisted on the box.

You can use the whole egg or just the white. I chose to add the whole egg to give more richness to the cupcake.

To make these cupcakes lemon flavored, I added 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest.

I also used fresh blueberries, but these can be made with frozen blueberries. If using frozen blueberries, don’t let them thaw out — but I will tell you fresh is better — and add the blueberries last to avoid over stirring and developing the gluten. A hint to keep any berry from sinking to the bottom of a pan is to toss the berries in a couple tablespoons of flour before adding the berries to any baked recipe.

The buttercream icing is made from scratch. I added 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to intensify the lemon flavor. Once the icing was finished, I divided it in half. One half stayed white while the other half was blueberry puree. To make the puree, use a blender or food processor and puree ¾ cup of blueberries and then pass the pureed blueberries through a sieve to remove any skins. Add the puree to the other half of the buttercream icing and I added a small amount of purple gel food coloring to get my pretty purple color.

When it is time to decorate the cupcakes, place a small amount of white icing and a small amount of the blueberry icing in a decorator’s bag. I like to place the icing in plastic wrap and make a tube. Place the two colors side by side in the decorator’s bag. Using a 1M decorator’s tip, swirl the icing on top. Garnish with additional lemon zest to finish the look.

If you don’t feel confident enough to make the swirl frosting, I simply add the blueberry puree to the entire amount and cover the top of the cupcake. The contrast between the yellow cupcake and purple frosting is stunning.

If you don’t want to make cupcakes, you can make a 9- by 13-inch cake out of the mixture and frost the top of it.

Either way, the combination of lemons and blueberries tastes wonderful.

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

Cupcakes

1 white cake mix

1 stick butter, melted

1 1/3 cup buttermilk

4 large eggs

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest

¾ cup fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons flour

Blueberry puree

¾ cup fresh blueberries

Dash of purple gel food coloring

Buttercream icing

½ cup butter, softened

½ cup Crisco

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

4-6 cups powdered sugar

2-4 tablespoons heavy cream

Garnish

Lemon zest

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two standard muffin tins with 24 paper liners.

In a medium mixing bowl combine cake mix, melted butter, buttermilk, eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir until all ingredients are combined.

Toss the blueberries with the flour. Fold the blueberries into the batter making sure to not overmix. Overmixing creates a dense, tougher cupcake.

Fill muffin liners three-quarters full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until done. Allow cupcakes to cool in the muffin pan five minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the buttercream, prepare the blueberry puree. Using a food processor or blender puree the blueberries. Put the puree through a sieve or fine mesh strainer to remove the skins.

Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the butter and Crisco together. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Add the lemon juice. Add heavy cream to get the consistency needed to spread the icing.

Remove half of the buttercream to a bowl and add the blueberry puree. Stir until all the buttercream is colored. If desired, add a dash of purple gel food coloring. If the buttercream seems too thin, add a little more powdered sugar to get the same consistency as the white buttercream.

To swirl the icing add both the white and the blueberry frosting to a decorator’s bag. Using a 1M decorating tip, pipe the combined frostings on top of each cupcake.

Garnish with lemon zest.

Let the cupcakes come to room temperature before serving. Any leftover cupcakes can be stored in the refrigerator up to three days.

Cherie Mingus is a retired teacher who taught family and consumer sciences at Central Hardin High School. She can be reached at cheriemingus@gmail.com.

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