Friday, July 17, 2009

Nothing like a cold lemonade cupcake on a hot day

For the last month now, I've totally been craving the flavor of lemons. To satisfy my craving I've done everything from eating Chicken Picatta, I made Rhubarb-Ginger-Lemon jam, and this weekend I plan on making a lemon baked pasta.

Now the jam I made was inspired by a jam I had on vacation that was like heaven. I did my best to replicate that jam but mine wasn't quite right because 1) my rhubarb turned the jam pink (the one on vacation was yellowish - yellow orche to be exact) and 2) mine was too sweet. By too sweet I mean that mine was much sweeter than the jam it was inspired by, but it wasn't too sweet to eat. In fact, biting into my bagel, I realized that somehow I had managed to turn pink lemonade into a jam. This was of course happening as I'm reading one of my favorite cupcake blogs, No One Puts Cupcake Into the Corner, so I immediately realized that I wanted a pink lemonade cupcake.

So I googled around to find a a recipie that looked good and I found one at Confections of a Foodie Bride. This recipie appealed to me becuase it looked simple because it was based off of a cake mix. So I went to the store, got my cake mix, got some lemons and lemonade, and a frozen pizza (cause there is no way this chicky is cooking dinner if she's making cupcakes after work). When I got home and opened my fridge to put my lemons away I realized that I had a quart of strawberries ready to be eaten. The rest is history - or as I like to call it Strawberry Lemonade cupcakes.

At first bite - you get the sweetness of the frosting - but then all of a sudden the tartness of the lemonade hits you. They are just so tangy and delicious. So without further ado - here is the recipie for Strawberry Lemonade cupcakes

For the cupcake:
Ingredients - 1 box white cake mix (or if you want even a depper strawberry flavor you could use strawberry)
3/4 can your frozen lemonade concentrate - thawed (I used a generic brand)
8-10 strawberries, pureed
3 egg whites
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut off the tops of your strawberries and then puree them. I did this by dumping those babies into my blender/food processer and hitting the on button but you could also just mash them with fork (I imagine they might be a bit chunkier done that way, but that's ok). In a large bowl, pour in your cake mix, lemonade concentrate (will be in liquid form), oil, and strawberries. Mix these all together until thoroughly blended. The mix should be a pretty shade of pink. Now line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and start filling the liners 3/4's of the way full with the cupcake mix. I was able to fill about 16 cupcakes. I recommend that you you do this in two batches, with each tin holding about 8 cupcakes. I saw this because my pan that held only 4 cupcakes (12+4=16) cooked at a way different rate than the other in (completely filled with 12) and those 4 little cupcakes ended up a little browner than the others. Bake for 15 minutes. Check to see if they are mostly solid. If they seem to be a little liquidy in the middle, keep baking in increments of 3 minutes until they feel solid enough. Once done - take out of oven and cool in pan for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, if you have a cooling rack, remove cupcakes from pan and set on cooling rack. If you don't have a cooling rack, still take them out of the pan, and set them on your counter or a table. Let cupcakes completely cool before frosting them with strawberry lemonade buttercream.

For strawberry lemonade buttercream:

Ingredients - 3 plus more cups confectioner sugar
1 stick butter (salted fine) at room temperature
8 strawberries, pureed
1 Tablespoon strawberry jam (sugar free works)
1 Lemon
Dash vanilla

Start by zesting all the peel off the lemon, put zest aside. Then you want to squeeze all the juice from the lemon into a bowl. You also want to make sure you have pureed your strawberries. Next, in a medium to large bowl - put in your stick of butter and 3 cups of confectioner sugar. With a mixer, mix this sugar/butter mixture on high until they are creamed together. Once creamed, add in the vanilla, strawberries puree, strawberry jam, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix until fluffy. Taste the frosting - if it seems too runny or not sweet enough (cause that lemon will make it tart) start adding more sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time. Mix together until its at a consistency and sweetness level you like. Place bowel in fridge and let sit for 30-60 minutes. Take out and stir a couple of times with spoon. Frost cupcakes by any method you like. I personally like spooning all my frosting into a sandwhich bag and that I seal up and then clip one of the bottom corners off of. Then I squeeze the frosting out in a giant circle onto my cupcake. You will probably have extra frosting - so put it in a sealable container and refrigerate, and then use it on more cupcakes later on. It should be good for a couple of weeks.

I also decorated my frostings by dying white sprinkle balls with yellow food coloring. This really emplasized that these are strawberry lemonade.

*I apologize for the poor quality of photo. I broke my camera on vacation - and all I have is my camera phone which isn't great.

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