I have always been a big fan of the cupcake-way before they became hip and expensive (I mean really, I have seen some of those fancy-shmancy cupcake places hawk their wares for $4.00 a cupcake. $4.00 people! For cake that fits in the palm of your hand!). I know, it's totally a first world problem, but anywho, I have been trying to come up with summery cupcake conncoction and while I was rooting around my kitchen i found blueberries, lemonade mix, honey, butter, a lemon and cake mix. Ding, ding, ding, winner, winner, chicken dinner! What is more summery than blueberries, lemonade and honey. So I decided to do some freestyle baking and whip up a batch and they turned out AWESOME! Yeah me!
Step 1: Gather Up the 'gredients
I am going to be totally upfront with you-I am a lazy baker. I know I should probably make my cupcakes from scratch because that it the way all mom's do it, right? Well, not this one. I have no shame in my game when I say that "I ain't got time for that". I work 40+ hours a week, I am training for a half marathon, I am on numerous committees and I am a wife and a mother of two young boys who have their own committments that I have to be there for, so I just don't have time to bake from scratch. I also don't use a recipe which can be good and bad. If i make something super awesome it is pretty hard for me to recreate it since I am just winging it and throwing stuff together. So the fact that I am writing receipe for something I made up is truly ironic.
Not all the ingredients are shown in the picture so don't try to go off the picture and then get mad at me when it doesn't turn out. The ingredients below are for the cake. The frosting ingredients will be in a few steps.
- 1 box of white cake mix
- 3 eggs
- canola oil
Step 2: Stir It Up, Stir It Up
Preheat the oven according to the cake directions (mine says 350 degrees). Line your cupcake pan with liners. I like to use pretty liners because it is all in the presentation, but I wanted to show the way the cake looks with the blueberries so i went with just plain white ones.
Combine the cake mix, eggs, oil and water as indicated on your cake mix. Add in the lemonade mix. The batter will get frothy because of the citric acid. FYI the molecule formula of citric acid is C6H8O7. Holla! Science nerd in the house! Also at room tempature citric acid looks like granulated sugar. I found this out the hard way. In 7th grade our science teacher was discussing something (I wasn't paying attention. I was staring at the cute new guy) and the teacher came up to me and offered me something I assumed was sugar. He said it was "edible science"...rubish, is what I say! Pure rubish! As soon as I put it isn my mouth my eyes started to water, my face contorted and I started cry. Long story short, I never lived the "citric acid incident" ever again, and I never did date the cute new guy. Junior high sucks.
Back to the cupcakes...I like to use an old school whisk to combine my ingredients. The clumps break down and you don't over beat your batter. No one likes a overbeaten batter, particularly the batter.
Right before you are ready to start filling the liners, add in the FROZEN BLUEBERRIES. Why frozen, you ask? Good question! The reason is that when you use frozen berries they won't sink to the bottom. They evenly disperse in your cupcake and as an added bonus, the batter doesn't turn purple like it would if you used non-frozen berries.
Step 3: Line Up! Line Up! Everybody Line Up!
Have you ever read the directions on the back of a cake box? It tells you to fill your cupcake liners 2/3 full and so you scoop it in and when you are done some are overflowing and some look like you didn't even put anything in them. A good way of ensuring even distribution of batter in your liners so you have the perfect looking cupcakes is to use a ice cream scoop or in my case, a Pampered Chef medium cookie scoop. I have had this one for years and it works like a charm. Every time I use it I get perfect portion of batter for cupcakes and I don't have to guess if the liner is 2/3's full.
When you have the liners full, place in the oven for 25-30 minutes until a cake test or tootpick comes out clean. Time will vary based on altitude and oven, but generally it is around a half hour.
Step 4: Let's Make Some Frosting
While your cuppycakes are baking you can start preparing the frosting.
Even though I love cake, I am particular about my frosting. I can make a mean buttercream, but I typically make it with Crisco (I know, complete misnomer). I never found a buttercream recipe that was made of butter that I actually liked and that could hold its form like frosting made with vegetable shortening does (until now). So when I was pulling this recipe together, I knew I wanted to use honey because of its summery sweetness, but vegetable shortening buttercream tastes heavy, so I needed a light frosting that could hold its form. With that in mind, I gathered the following ingredients:
- 1 1/2 sticks of butter (softened)
- 1/3 cup of honey
- 4 cups of powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp meringue powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (not the imitation, get the real stuff)
- dash of milk
- Blueberry perserves
- Zest of 1 lemon
Step 5: Mmmmm Frosting Goodness
Add the butter, honey and vanilla extract and mix it until it is smooth. Next I put in the meringue powder. Meringue powder gives buttercream form. You know how bakery frosting has a crispy feeling to it...that is the meringue powder. Some people like it, some don't. It doesn't have any flavor, so if you don't use it the flavor of your frosting won't be impacted. I like using it with buttercream because it makes the frosting look good and it gives the frosting a nice sheen (insert your own Charlie Sheen joke here).
I use a Kitchenaid mixer (Best. Gift. Ever.) and I found that when I add powder sugar and turn on the mixer, my kitchen looks like Mt. St. Helen's erupted. Powder sugar finds its way in every crack and creavice in my kitchen. So now I put a dish towel over the mixer when I add the sugar to keep the sugar explosion to a minimum.
Continue adding the sugar slowly as each cup should be mixed smooth. If the frosting gets too thick, add a splash of milk. I used vanilla almond milk because I like the taste and thought the vanilla flavor would add to the frosting taste, but any kind of milk will do.
Step 6: Pulling It All Together
By now you have pulled your cupcakes out of the oven and let them completely cool.
To frost the cupcakes I used a disposable frosting bag and a star tip to frost these cupcakes, but I was just being fancy. This frosting is so delicious and smooth that you could easily just frost the cupcakes with a butter knife. Did you get that? Buttercream..butter knife...Thank you, Detroit! I'll be here all week! Don't forget to tip your waiters and waitresses!
After frosting them (fancy or not fancy), drizzle blueberry perserves on top of each cupcake. A little goes a long way.I will own up to the fact that drizzling is not one of my strong points. It looks like I mastered the art of plopping perserves but I need to work on my form. As a final touch, I put a little lemon zest on each cupcake. This balances out the sweetness of the honey and the perserves with just a hint of zest that enhances the lemon cake and compliments the perserves and honey buttercream. The perserves and lemon zest tie the whole cupcake together. Like a good rug. Or so I'm told.
And that my friends, is how you make blueberry lemonn cupcakes with honey buttercream frosting.
My 5 year old said "These cupcakes are the bomb-diggity mom plus it has fruit in it, so it is good for you too. Everybody wins!"
True dat, little man. True dat.