If there were ever a dessert that just screamed spring to me, it would be these cupcakes. Light and fluffy lemon cake dotted with fresh, juicy blueberries and topped with pillowy lemon cream cheese frosting. Everything from the flavors to the light, bright colors makes me think of a breezy, sunny spring day…pretty much the complete opposite of the gray and rainy days we have been having for nearly a month now. I suppose even if the weather doesn’t provide, I’ll take my sunshine anywhere I can get it, including in the form of cupcakes.
I used a lemon cream cheese frosting this time around but I think they would also be wonderful with a lemon version of Swiss meringue buttercream. I really wanted to try them with both frostings to see which we preferred, but since I was literally frosting them just in time to run out the door and gift them to a friend, Swiss meringue buttercream just wasn’t in the cards. Even a lemon-spiked whipped cream would be a nice compliment. Whatever way you choose to top them, I hope these bring some sunshine into your home.
Yield: about 16 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour, divided
¾ cup cake flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. lemon juice
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. milk, at room temperature
1 cup fresh blueberries
For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 1 large lemon
Additional fresh blueberries, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the ¾ cup all-purpose flour, the cake flour, baking powder and salt; whisk together and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar and lemon zest. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and lemon juice. With the mixer on low speed, mix in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Blend in the milk. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated.
In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Using a spatula gently fold the berries into the cake batter. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each about ¾ full. Bake 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired. (I used a large, unlabeled star tip to frost these cupcakes.) Garnish with fresh blueberries.