Lemon Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting and much to celebrate (part 2)

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The Scoop:

As I mentioned yesterday, my friends and I threw a surprise baby shower for our friend Christina last weekend to help her celebrate as she gets ready to welcome her daughter Grace into the world.  I’m definitely not one of those self proclaimed “baby people” but there was something about seeing Christina so happy and glowing that even gave me an ounce or two of baby fever.  Let’s just say I was only able to restrain myself for about 3 seconds after hugging Christina hello before I started rubbing her cute little belly!  Yep, even me.

And an occasion so special, well it deserves an dessert that is equally almost as special.

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These lemon cupcakes with fresh strawberry cream cheese frosting suited the day perfectly.  They are light, fresh, and full of springtime flavors.  The cupcake itself is super moist, with juuuuuust the right amount of lemony zing.

And the frosting.  Oh baby, we couldn’t get enough of this frosting.  (I may or may not have been squeezing the extra directly from the piping bag into my friends’ mouths–but we won’t talk about that).  When I was creating the recipe, I knew that I didn’t want to use any strawberry extract.  Strawberry flavoring tastes good enough, but it doesn’t actually taste like strawberries.  This frosting on the other hand?  It’s the real deal.  The extra effort to make the homemade strawberry syrup is totally worth it for the natural, fresh berry taste in the final product.

My friends could not get enough, as they disappeared off the plate before my eyes.  Even the dad-to-be who “doesn’t even like cake” gave these cupcakes a big thumbs up!

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The Goods:

INGREDIENTS:

Cupcakes:

  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 Tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest of 2 large lemons or 4 small lemons
  • 1 stick of butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract

Frosting:

  • 8 oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups  powdered  sugar
  • 2 Tbs homemade strawberry syrup
  • 1 Tbs heavy cream

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The Deets:

For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together  the flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate  bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites.  Finally, in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the lemon zest and sugar and beat on medium speed until well combined, and the lemon becomes very fragrant.  Add the stick of butter and beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.  Once the butter/lemon/sugar mixture is light and fluffy, mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.

In 3 batches, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk mixture to the stand mixer.  Beat well after each addition.  Once all of the ingredients have been added, beat the batter on medium-high speed for 2 minutes.

Spoon the batter into the 24 prepared cupcake tins and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow the cupcakes to cool for about minutes in  the  tins before removing them to finish  cooling on a wire rack.

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I suggest making the frosting ahead of time, because it need  to chill for a couple of hours  before icing  the  cupcakes.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together for about two minutes, or until very light.  Add 3 cups of powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating until fully incorporated after each addition.  Next add the 2 Tbs of strawberry syrup and 1 Tbs of cream and mix until the liquids have been incorporated.  Add the final cup of powdered sugar and mix on low speed, just until incorporated, then crank  up the speed to high and beat the frosting for 3-4 minutes, scraping down  the sides of the bowl occasionally.  The final frosting will be very light in texture, which is what makes it so dream-like.  It will also be on the thin side, so I recommend chilling it for a full two hours before frosting your cupcakes.

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The Inspirtation:

Lemon Cupcakes – My Baking Addiction

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting – Original Recipe.

The adorable decorations are the handy work of my super talented friend Kate.

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Happiness.

XOXO,

Tall One

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