Cupcake Friday

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Cake from Smitten Kitchen, Icing from Enlightened Cakes
Makes 18 scrumptious cupcakes

cupcakes

So I’m thinking I need to start a Friday cupcake theme on this here blog. I’m sure it would be catchier if I were doing something alliterative, like Fruit-filling Fridays, or Wiener schnitzel Wednesdays, but I think Cupcake Fridays will work. After all, Fridays are fantastic, and cupcakes are equally so. And also, Wiener schnitzel is disgusting and you will never find a recipe for it on this blog at all, let in alone in weekly incarnations.

And, okay, I need to add a disclaimer, because as delightful as I find cupcakes to be, I don’t bake them all that often. So Cupcake Friday will not appear every Friday, but I will do my damndest to have a Cookie Friday then to tide you over. Because cookies are also fantastic, and I make them a lot.

Onward!

These strawberry lemonade cupcakes were the result of all the leftover batter I had for my birthday cake. I pulled the icing recipe from Enlightened Cakes, which is a wonderful cookbook full of recipes that cut back on fat but not on flavor. The lemonade (really, lemon cream cheese) icing was the perfect complement to the fluffy, strawberry-sweet cupcakes. In fact, my friend Jenn summed it up quite nicely when she called it “lemon creamy deliciousness.” What more endorsement do you need than that?

I know we’re all heading into fall (well, not me so much, what with the hot Santa Ana winds ablowin’), and soon I’ll definitely be indulging in the quintessential autumn flavors of pumpkin and pears and spiced apples, but as one last tribute to summer, let’s admire these light, fresh, strawberry-lemon treats.

cupcake

For the cake, I halved the birthday recipe, which is why you’ll see that random 1/8 tsp. baking powder.

Note: The icing needs to chill for 1 hour, so you might want to make that first, or perhaps while your cupcakes are baking.

Ingredients:

For the cake:
2 & 1/4 C. cake flour
1 & 1/2 C. sugar
2 & 1/2 tsp. + 1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 & 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 C. pureed strawberries*
4 egg whites
1/3 C. milk

*Blend together about 1 & 1/2 C. of hulled strawberries, then press the mix through a sieve (stirring with a spoon to upset the seeds and keep the puree flowing through) until you have 3/4 C. of puree.

For the icing:
1 T. unsalted butter, room temp
6 oz (3/4 of an 8 oz package) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, room temp
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 T. fresh lemon juice
3 & 1/2 C. powdered sugar

To make the cake:

Preheat oven to 350. Fill 18 cupcake tins with paper liners. (Put water in the remaining six tins for even cooking. I don’t know if that’s actually necessary, but I always do it.)

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter in a large mixing bowl and blend blend blend (on medium speed if you’re using a mixer). Stir in the strawberry puree and marvel at how your batter turns pink and tastes like strawberry shortcake on a spoon. Now blend on medium speed for about three minutes, until the batter is very light pink and smooth.

In a separate bowl, whisk together egg whites and milk. Slowly add to the batter in three batches, stirring just enough to combine with each addition. Divide batter equally among cupcake liners. Cook for 20-25 minutes. The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.

Remove cupcakes from tins and allow to cool on racks until they reach room temperature.

To make the icing:

In a medium bowl beat the butter, cream cheese, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice with an electric mixer at medium speed until just blended and smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar. Chill for 1 hour before using. This makes 1 & 1/2 cups of frosting, enough for 18 cupcakes.

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