I participated in Cupcake Wars. No, not the show on Bravo that I watch religiously every Sunday at 8 p.m., but the Cupcake Wars that we put on at my place of employment. I had grand plans for my participating cupcake; I went from choosing a vanilla latte flavor, to Nutella, to settling on strawberry cheesecake with cream cheese frosting.
I was ready, I had all the ingredients, even extra cream cheese in case there was a frosting snafu. The preparation was easy, everything looked great…but…the presentation, well, let’s just say it was sub-par. The cakes fell in, all the way to the bottom of the muffin tin. The crust was too moist and did not cook correctly, and the strawberry swirl looked more like a strawberry blob.
After I had a brief moment in the kitchen, I started debating whether I would just try and cover up the shrunken cupcakes with frosting and just call it good, or completely begin again from scratch. I rifled quickly through my Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, straight to the cake section, and found a yellow cake recipe. Unfortunately, it made 24 cupcakes, which was not desirable at 10 p.m. at night.
So, I halved the ingredients, which has rarely turned out well for me. But hey, it’s now 10:15 p.m. and I’m fading.
Loosely adapted from Better Homes & Gardens’ Yellow Cake Recipe
Prep time: 50 minutes
Bake time: 15-20 minutes
Makes exactly 12 cupcakes
2/3 c. butter
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 c. bluberries, (fresh or defrosted ones)
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Leave butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for about half an hour. Grease and lightly flour one regular sized muffin tin.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.
With a stand or hand mixer, beat butter on medium to high speed for about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides with a spatula and mix for about 10 more seconds. Slowly add sugar, about a 1/4 cup at a time, and continue to mix together. Scrape sides once more and continue to beat for about 2 more minutes. Add eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla flavoring and lemon juice.
Add in the flour mixture and beat on a low speed, but be careful not to over mix; beat until only just combined. Spoon about 3-4 tbsp. for about each cupcake. Press 4-5 blueberries into the top of the batter.
Bake for about 15 minutes and check. Continue to cook if cupcakes are not completely done; feel free to stick a toothpick in and check. A clean toothpick means cooked through! Take cupcakes out and let cool for about an hour on a cooling rack.
8 oz. cream cheese
1 little squeeze of fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp. butter
1 c. powdered sugar
Now you’re at the fun part! Making the frosting is quick and super simple. Beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium high speed until smooth. Add the lemon juice and the powdered sugar, about a 1/4 cup at a time. Let chill in the refrigerator for about half an hour.
Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes, and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Just remember to share with others!