Ultimate Summer Cupcake: Lemon with Raspberry Buttercream

*This article originally posted to www.Somerville.Patch.com*

These lemon cupcakes with a light raspberry buttercream are a fabulous summer treat!

It’s hot. It’s sticky. It’s summer. In a season of refreshing fruits, like watermelon, and cool deserts, like ice cream, who wants to even think about using the oven? Even someone like me, who’s obsessed with baking, is wary of baking in this heat. However, when I came across this recipe I knew I had to brave the heat, and much to my delight it was well worth it!

This recipe combines two refreshing flavors to create a cupcake that embodies summer and exudes sunshine. I can guarantee this recipe will be a crowd-pleaser at any barbeque, picnic, or staff meeting.

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For the lemon cupcakes:

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ c cake flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ c buttermilk
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 ½ c sugar
  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp lemon extract

Directions:

A quick note about the ingredients and substitutions; when it comes to baking there are some substitutions I am willing to make and others I am not. Cake flour is not one of them, when a recipe calls for cake flour I am not willing to substitute it because cake flour generally results in a lighter cake. These lemon cupcakes are already a bit denser than your average cake, although not quiet as heavy as a pound cake or a muffin. Using all purpose flour as a substitute might make the cupcakes denser and heavier, so I would recommend using cake flour for this one.

To start, preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare your cupcake pan with either cupcake liners or a non-stick cooking spray. This recipe yields about 24 cupcakes.

Next, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites and set aside. Then, in another mixing bowl combine the sugar and lemon zest and using your fingers rub the two together until the mixture is well combined and the sugar is moist.

Cream together the butter and the sugar mixture using a hand mixer or paddle attachment on a stand mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes. Next beat in the vanilla and lemon extracts.

Now alternate between mixing the dry and wet ingredients. Start with 1/3 of the sifted dry ingredients. Mix until all the ingredients are incorporated then add ½ of the milk and egg whites mixture. Continue alternating between the dry ingredients and the milk and egg white mixture. Stop to scrape the side of the bowl as needed. Beat the batter for an additional 2 minutes to ensure all the ingredients are well combined.

Using a ¼ cup measuring cup distribute even amounts of the cupcake batter into the cupcake tins. Bake for 18-22 minutes until they cupcakes are raised and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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To prepare the frosting you will need;

Ingredients:

  • 1 c fresh raspberries
  • 16 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 tbsp shortening
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ lbs confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-4 tbsp cold milk

Directions:

Start by rinsing and carefully drying the raspberries. Next using a fine mesh sieve held over a mixing bowl and a fork press the raspberries through the sieve so that the juices fall into the bowl but the seeds are left in the sieve. Set aside the raspberry juice.

In a mixing bowl beat together the butter and shortening with a hand mixer or stand mixer until it is combined. Next add the vanilla extract and the raspberry juice and mix until thoroughly.

Begin to add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Once all the sugar has been incorporated add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached, mixing the frosting at a medium-high speed.

Allow the cupcakes to cool for at least 2 hours before frosting them. If you’re feeling fancy top the cupcakes with a fresh raspberry and candied lemon peel as garnish.

To make the candied lemon peel garnish peel 1 lemon lengthwise with a vegetable peeler and then cut the peel into narrow strips. In a small saucepan bring ½ cup of water and ½ cup of sugar to a boil. Add the lemon peels to the syrup and boil until the peels become slightly transparent (about 7 minutes). Carefully remove the peels from the syrup with a fork onto wax paper to cool. Once the peels have cooled add them to the top of the cupcakes.

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