Saturday, July 7, 2012

What do in Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes and Independence Day Have in Common?

I spent my Fourth of July baking these.

While they baked, I parked myself on the couch and watched five hours of History Channel’s documentary, The Revolution.

I get giddy about historical programing.  The dramatic music, powdered wigs, and George Washington impersonators compel me to watch for longer than I really should.  The sad thing is I would gladly spend another afternoon in the same way, only next time I’d make sure to watch all thirteen hours.  That’s right, thirteen hours of Benedict Arnold, Valley Forge, and The Star Spangled Banner.  I’d relish all 780 minutes of it, just as my family and I relished these cupcakes.

 I’ve gone a little off course this week, tinkering not with a cookie but instead a recipe for cupcakes, one which I’d like to bake for my bridal shower next month.   I know I’m not supposed to interfere with the details of my own shower, that I should leave it to my mother and sister since guests might construe it as me petitioning for gifts.  But I can’t help myself.   I want to be involved.  I want to put my care into something for the ladies in my life who will lose precious time from a weekend next month, all to celebrate with me. 

So I did a trial run of these Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes with Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting  for my parents and sister on the Fourth.  It’s my adaptation of a recipe from the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars

The cake recipe is phenomenal, kudos to Lori Jacobs, the original creator.  It is dense with just the right sweet to tart ratio.  My cream cheese frosting, admittedly, needs a little work.  While the blueberry and almond are a dynamic flavor combination, the mixture becomes soft if kept out of the refrigerator for long.  But that didn’t matter to my family and me on Wednesday.  We all reached for a second cupcake.  My father took the remaining dozen to the office the next day and as was, by his account, “…a very popular man at work.”

Still, it’s back to the inspiration board for me until I find a recipe for a blueberry buttercream frosting that can withstand at least room temperature.  I only hope The Revolution will be on T.V. as I’m going through my test-runs, too.  

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes
Adapted by Lauren Wadowsky
v 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
v 1 teaspoon baking soda
v ½ teaspoon kosher salt
v 1 ¾ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
v 1 ½ cup sugar
v 3 jumbo eggs (or 3 extra large eggs)
v 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
v zest of two lemons
v 2 cups sour cream
v 1 ½ cups blueberries, washed and stems removed

Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting
v 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
v 8 oz. cream cheese
v 1 teaspoon almond extract
v pinch of salt
v 3/4 cup blueberries


1 Preheat oven to 350oF.  Line regular-sized cupcake pans with paper liners. 

2 In a medium bowl combine all the dry ingredients except the sugar: flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3 In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy with the paddle attachment of a standing mixer.  I recommend using a stand-up mixer because the recipe eventually yields a lot of batter, too much to stir with hand held beaters. 

4 Add the eggs one by one, stirring well.  Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest.

5 In three additions each, alternate the flour mixture with the sour cream, beginning with the flour mixture and ending with the sour cream.  Mix in the blueberries.

6 With an ice cream scoop, fill the prepared cupcake pans 2/3 full with batter.  Bake 16-20 minutes, until a test comes out clean and the tops of the muffins are lightly golden.    Meanwhile, begin making the blueberry syrup for the frosting.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 In a small saucepan over medium high heat, combine fresh blueberries, teaspoon lemon juice, and sugar.  Cook the mixture until the blueberries pop and there is ample liquid in the pan.  About 6-10 minutes.   Cool completely.

2 In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Stir in the almond extract, salt and 6 tablespoons of the blueberry syrup.  Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. 

3  Pipe over cooled cupcakes.  Store in the refrigerator. 

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