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Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

Done

At times it’s hard to believe that just one year ago, I was living in New York City, working as a paralegal and not always happy.

Here I am a year later, living in Bar Harbor, Maine, reinventing myself work-wise, and very happy.

Work had been a struggle. I knew I didn’t wish to be a paralegal any longer. I wanted time to do many things, mostly revolving around cooking.

I give cooking lessons. I work as a prep cook in a friend’s restaurant.

I also work for my friends Chris and Lisa at their fabulous movie theater, Reel Pizza. What a concept! Watch a movie, eat pizza, drink wine … does it get better than that?

By day, I am mild mannered office staff – pay bills, enter info into box office and sales reports, payroll, giggle with Lisa.

By night, though, and just a few nights, mind you, I am sassy box office girl.

The questions, oh, the questions by customers. It takes everything at times not to just burst into laughter! This is particularly difficult when my boss is standing behind these folk laughing!

Let’s see …

To a couple on a busy night – “I’m sorry, folks, there are only singles left.” The woman looks at me, then her husband, and then at me again and says, “But we’re married.”

To a particularly grumpy senior citizen – “Tickets are $6 each.” “No, senior citizen discount?” “Ma’am, the tickets are $6!” “But, I’m a senior. I should get a discount!” “Ma’am, where are you from?” “New York. Why?” “You pay at least $13 for a full price ticket. Seniors don’t get half price, but a discount. So $6 is less.”

Then there was another grumpy senior (imagine!?), arguing about the $6 admission, and no senior discount – “I want a senior discount!” “Okay. Today, seniors pay $12 with a 50% discount. So, $6.”

Ah, the couple when told there were only single seats left. He, “Well, that’s okay. We want to see this movie. And who talks through the movies anyway?” She, glances at him sideways, “Well, I’ll be able to watch the movie in peace! You never STOP talking through the movies!”

The time goes by REALLY quickly with this entertainment!

Well, the entertainment and the GREAT gals I work with! Justine and Grace make getting through 5 hours a pleasure! It doesn’t hurt that Justine makes the BEST nachos and snacks for us!

So, long way around to why I made these cupcakes …

Justine showed me the ropes when I started in the box office. She explained everything in an uncomplicated way, held my hand, made me laugh and fed me. When I found out she had a birthday coming up AND had to work on her birthday (!) I decided we needed to have a little celebration at work.

What to make? What to make? Something with chocolate! Nope. She doesn’t like chocolate. Oh, stop gasping out there! Not liking chocolate is not a deal breaker in life!

I started searching for something fun and festive, omitting chocolate. That’s when I stumbled up these great Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting over at Sally’s Baking Addiction. I knew this was the recipe for me!

They were fabulous!

LEMON CUPCAKES

  • 1/2 C unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature preferred
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 C  milk
  • zest + fresh juice of two medium lemons

RASPBERRY FROSTING

  • 3/4 C unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 and 1/2 C confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 T heavy cream
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t salt, to taste
  • 1/2 C thick raspberry preserves or jam
  • fresh raspberries and lemon slices to decorate, optional

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 12-count muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.

Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed in a large bowl until creamed. About 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until everything is combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.

Ready t0 Bake

In a medium bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 additions, beating on low speed after each addition. Batter will be thick. Beat in the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice on low speed until just combined. Do not overmix this batter at any point. Spoon batter evenly into 12 cupcake liners. Bake for about 20 minutes. Check at 18 minutes, then again at 20. A toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean when done.

Baked

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat softened butter on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes until completely smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 1 minute. Add the raspberry preserves and beat until thick and creamy, about 2 full minutes. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin, is separating (due to the fruity jam) or looks too wet. And then add more salt to offset added sweetness.

FIlling

Before frosting I filled a few of the cupcakes with some frosting before frosting. To fill the cupcakes: use a sharp knife, cut a circle/hole into the center of the cupcake to create a little pocket about 3/4 inch deep. Place about 1 teaspoon of raspberry frosting inside and top with the piece of cupcake you removed to seal. Then frost the entire cupcake.

Frosted

I couldn’t find my piping bag, so I put all the frosting in a zip-lock bag, cut a corner and frosted away!

I toped each with a fresh raspberry (from my freezer stash) and a lemon slice.

Valentine Cupcakes with a Surprise #SundaySupper

Done HALF

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and I know I would like to make something super duper fabulicious for Valentine’s Day! Something that not only tastes great, but LOOKS great – anything flambé is out, we all know what happens when I try to light things on fire! I just can’t try something new for a special occasion without taking it for a test drive first.

Done CUT

So when the opportunity came to FINALLY be able to play with my foodie friends from Sunday Supper again, experimenting with a super duper fabulicious dessert for Valentine’s Day for two was the perfect plan.

At least now I know it works and how it works and can bake this again as a dessert for Valentine’s Day!

This looks like far more work than it actually is and the end result is worth making a wreck out of your kitchen and dirtying every baking utensil and mixing bowl you own!

Sunday Supper Movement

Pink Cakes 
  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 T sugar
  • 4 T butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C  cake flour (AP flour is fine)
  • 1/2 heaping t of baking powder
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 3 T milk
  • Red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350

Pink Mixing Batter

In large bowl, whisk together the egg whites and sugar.   Stir in the melted butter and vanilla. All at once, stir in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Keep stirring until everything is smooth and well-combined.  Add milk and stir until incorporated into the batter.

Add a few drops of red food coloring. The color lightens a little while baking, but you don’t want it too dark.

Pink Ready to Bake

Lightly spray a small baking pan and pour in batter.

NOTE: I used a loaf pan. You don’t want this to be too thick.

Bake  14 minutes or until just done, remember it’s baking again inside the chocolate batter. Cool completely.

Pink Cutout hearts

Once cool, using a small heart shaped cutter cut hearts out of the pink cake and set aside. 

NOTE: This is WAY more cake than you’ll need and more hearts than you will need! With the left over hearts, I spread a little raspberry jam on one cake heart and placed another on top and dipped them in melted chocolate.

Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1/3 C flour
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 3 t cocoa powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/4 C cold water
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1/8 t vanilla
  • Chocolate Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 325

Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a small bowl.

In a second small bowl or spouted measuring cup, combine the wet ingredients.

Add the dry to the wet and stir till combined, whisking well.

NOTE: Here’s the tricky part! Remember this makes two cupcakes!

Placing hearts

Dollop a couple of tablespoons of batter into two wells of a cupcake tin. With the pointed end going into the bottom of the cupcake, place heart standing up in batter. While very lightly holding the heart in place put batter around and on top of cupcake. Repeat with second cupcake.

NOTE: When I did this I faced the flat part of the hearts toward the short end of the tin so I knew where they were and which way they face so when cut in half you were cutting through the heart.

Cupcakes baked

Bake for 18 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.

NOTE: The cake hearts rose a little during baking. Was perfectly fine. Once you frost you won’t know. Well, YOU will know, but the object of your affection will not know. This makes it easier to line them up properly to cut.

Frosting

  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T + 2 t cocoa powder
  • 3 T confectioners sugar
  • 1 t half and half or any milk/cream
  • dash of salt

Frosting

Melt the butter in a small bowl.

Add all the remaining ingredients to the butter and whisk to combine. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes or until frosting is partially set.

Whisk again then allow to rest at room temperature until cupcakes are cool enough to frost.

Cupcake frosted

Check out these other Valentine’s Day treats for two!

Alluring Appetizers:

Exquisite Entrees:

Decadent Desserts and Drinks:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy! You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes with a Surprise!

Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday! Happy birthday!
Happy birthday to you!

What better way to celebrate the birth of one of your favorite people on the planet than to bake a goodie with all their favorite flavors crammed into it.  Really, does anything express love and sentiment better than a lovely cupcake? Yes, I am sure there are other ways, but this is one powerful cupcake! Now, what to bake for a peanut butter loving, chocoholic?

This further becomes a daunting task by the fact that Tommy doesn’t eat chocolate, Tom doesn’t like frosting or peanut butter – quite frankly this isn’t for them, so I don’t really care, but 12 of these beauties would be way too  many.

Enter Google and my foodie friends! Small batch baking!

Two cupcakes. Yes, folks, two cupcakes. Absolutely perfect for this momentous occasion! And not just momentous because you are older than I … neener neener neener! (and I get to say that every day for the next 6 months!)

Chocolate Cupcakes (Makes 2)
(adapted from Manhattan Craft Room)

  • 3 T flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 1/2 t cocoa powder
  • 1/2 t instant espresso powder
  • 1/8 t baking soda (you can eyeball half of a 1/4 t)
  • 1/16 t salt (a pinch)
  • 2 T cold water
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1/16 t vanilla (a few drops)
  • 2 small peanut butter cups FROZEN

NOTE: Freezing the peanut butter cups keeps them from completely melting during baking.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a small bowl.

In a second small bowl or spouted measuring cup, combine the wet ingredients. Add the dry to the wet and stir till combined, whisking well.

Divide batter between two cupcake liners and push in the peanut butter cup so it is covered by batter.

Bake for 18 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.

NOTE: Pour half the batter in, add the peanut butter cups, add the rest of the batter to cover is easier!

NOTE: Not sure how or why, but this made ONE cupcake! Which is fine, my tush is big enough without having to gobble up this cupcake!

Peanut Butter Frosting (MAKES ENOUGH FOR 2)
(adapted from Our Small Table)

  • 2 t peanut butter
  • 1/2 T shortening
  • 1/4 C powdered sugar
  • 1/2 T milk

In a small bowl, cream the peanut butter, shortening and powdered sugar until well combined. Gradually beat in enough milk to achieve spreading consistency.

Once the cupcakes are completely cooled frost the cupcakes using either an offset spatula or a piping bag.

I added these chopped peanut butter M&Ms to the top.

I would show pictures of the frosting, but peanut butter frosting is really unattractive!

NOTE: This was inhaled in seconds, with chocolately yums sneaking through greedy bites. I was offered a bite, but there was so much enjoyment going on, how could I steal a bite away!?

 

Love Buns

What better for Valentine’s Day than Nigella’s Love Buns from Feast. So easy to put together! Everything in the food processor!. The frosting is a little fiddley, but it’s just time consuming.

Cupcakes

 

  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon soft butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk

Take everything you need out of the fridge in time to bring to room temperature — this apparently makes a huge difference to the lightness of the love buns later — and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put all of the ingredients for the buns, except for the milk, into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Pulse while adding the milk down the funnel to make a smooth, dropping consistency.

Divide the mixture into a 12-bun muffin tin lined with muffin papers or heart-patterned cases, and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. They should have risen and be golden on top; you want a little peak if possible.

NOTE: The casings don’t look really full, but they really do rise quite a bit.

Let them cool a little in their tin on a rack, and then take them carefully out of the tin to cool in their papers, still on the wire rack.

Now for the topping. The problem with the topping is you make more than you need for the 12 cupcakes, but if you halve the quantities, you don’t have quite enough.  My solution was to top the cupcakes, and with the leftover topping, I melted chocolate in a double boiler, some cream and the topping. Made a great hot fudge sauce for icecream.

Topping

 

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Heart-shaped sprinkles or colored sugar to decorate

This is a frosting that has a kind of meringue base, by which you whisk egg whites over heat until they’re stiff and gleaming. So make a double-boiler with a heatproof bowl that will fit snugly over a saucepan of barely simmering water, and put all of the ingredients for the frosting, except for the vanilla and sprinkles, into the bowl. Whisk everything with an electric beater until the icing becomes thick and holds peaks like a meringue. This will take about 5 minutes, so be patient.

Take the bowl off the saucepan and onto a cool surface and keep whisking while you add the vanilla. Then keep whisking until the mixture cools a little. You want a proper peaked and whipped covering here, so spoon some frosting over each bun and then dollop another spoonful over in a swirly fashion. Immediately shake over your choice of sprinkles, as the icing will set very quickly.

NOTE: I have made these many times before. For some reason, after adding the vanilla, the topping wasn’t as stiff as it had been. Sigh. Still very yummy though!