The Perfect Summer Cupcakes

Last year, in my cupcake baking infancy, I jumped out on a limb and tried to make lemon raspberry cupcakes with NO recipe…

Well let’s just say I am glad I don’t have the pictures to prove just how awful these cupcakes turned out. Imagine a dense blob of yellow cake mix and Jello lemon pudding with an artificial tasting purple icing. Seriously, they were that bad.

Anyways, thankfully this year I have learned my lesson about experimenting with something purely scientific. I found a recipe courtesy the Pretty Hungry Girl blog, which I now follow religiously. This recipe is by far the closest I have come to a heavenly experience on Earth.

And here is how they turned out…

Scrumptious right?

The cake is a super simple white cake recipe that is so versatile. I am excited to have this under my belt and start experimenting with different varieties.

Here is what you need…

1 box white cake mix, 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/8 cup canola oil (If you don’t have a measuring cup with this obviously you can use half of a 1/4 cup or a little more than a tablespoon), 1 tsp of vanilla and almond extract, 1 1/3 cup water, 3/4 tsp salt, 1 cup sour cream, 1 egg, 3 egg whites ( I’m not 100% sure why you can’t just use 4 egg whites, but this cake is so yummy I don’t question a single ingredient).

Start by preheating your oven to 325.

Then sift your cake mix, flour, salt and sugar together to make sure there are no lumps in your mix. In your mixing bowl mix together your egg, egg whites, oil, water and sour cream just until combined. Then slowly mix in your dry ingredients making sure not to over mix. Finally throw in your extracts like Emeril Lagasse! BAM!!! Amazing!

Now you want to fill your cupcake liners a little less than half full with batter. At this point we add the secret, summery surprise. The raspberry filling. Of course if you would prefer a different berry flavor you can always substitute raspberry with blackberry or strawberry. I used the Smucker’s seedless black raspberry jam and mixed it up really well to make it super easy to plop down over my cake batter.

After you spread a nice layer of jam on the batter, cover that up with another small scoop of batter and you are ready for the oven.

You want to leave these alone for at least 18 minutes. At that point check on their progress and depending on your oven they may be done. Some ovens may need to go to the 20 minute mark.

Now you cool them and start on the most decadent frosting ever!

I absolutely love white chocolate, but it is so rich I often can’t eat much of it because I start getting that heavy feeling after two bites. So the secret weapon to enjoying unlimited amounts of white chocolate is to add lemon.

Start by melting 4 oz of white chocolate. I use baker’s blocks because it’s easier to measure, but if chips is all you have on hand feel free to measure out 4 oz.

Some people are all about the fanciness of a double boiler, but to me all that does is waste time and dirty a dish. I just pop my chocolate in the microwave for 17 second intervals until it is smooth and melted. Then add 1 tsp vanilla extract and let cool. It is important that the chocolate is nice and cool. I made the mistake of adding it too soon to my frosting and had to overcompensate with more powdered sugar. It was still delicious, but wasteful. So to save sugar let it cool down before you add it to the frosting.

Now beat two sticks of ROOM TEMPERATURE butter until creamy. (Yes it is important to have nice soft butter. It makes for nice smooth frosting.) Add your cooled chocolate.

Then gradually, like about a cup at a time, add 5 cups of powdered sugar. Add a splash (aka a tblsp) of heavy cream just because we really didn’t think this was fattening enough to begin with. Finally, add the zest of a lemon into your frosting.

It is amazing to me how much flavor just the oils in the skin of a lemon adds, so if you are a skeptic like I was and are thinking about adding some of the juice to the frosting, STOP! It is not necessary. All that will accomplish is a sour pucker on your face as you eat these. That was one of the mistakes last year when I made my mess of lemon cupcakes.

I added a fresh raspberry on top and you could add some more lemon zest for decoration, or just pipe the frosting on and devour.

Everyone at your summer picnics and BBQ’s will be so glad you came if you come bearing these refreshing gifts.

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One response to “The Perfect Summer Cupcakes

  1. These look just gorgeous! (And p.s… you can totally use 4 egg whites. I only threw in the one whole egg because I felt bad wasting. It’s silly really.) Glad you enjoy the cupcakes 🙂

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