Lemonade Cupcakes with Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemonade Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting

Lemonade Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting

I loved the light, fluffy flavor of these cupcakes.  They were a nice change of pace from the ordinary cupcake texture–almost like a cross between a pound cake and an angel food cake–in a very good way.  We used Duncan Hines white cake mix.  This recipe would make a great regular cake as well.  This is another Southern Living recipe.  I have altered the original instructions: pour the batter into the cupcake pan until it is almost full, not 3/4 full as the original states.  We found that the cupcakes barely rose at all.  This will change your yield to roughly 21 cupcakes.

Frosting:  the original recipe goes for an easy, semi-homemade approach using a canned cream cheese frosting and assorted colorful candies for topping.  However, semi-homemade cupcake batter was about as far as we were willing to trod down the easy-path.  We did try a canned frosting to save time for testing purposes only, but we can testify that the unbalanced, sugary taste  of the canned stuff definitely detracts from an otherwise great recipe.  Take the time to make the homemade stuff.

You don’t need a ton of frosting with this cupcake.  We even managed to get a pretty presentation without any kind of cake-decorating skill required.  We simply used the largest round tip we had and iced in a spiral, then topped each cupcake with three blueberries and dusted with lemon zest.  I loved that the zest added color and flavor without all the artificial coloring.  It’s a great alternative to sprinkles.Sometimes my spirals didn’t turn out perfectly; but when finished with the blueberries and lemon zest the mistakes almost disappeared.  Magical!  The blueberries and zest were added for looks, but I was surprised by the wonderful impact they had on the flavor.  It really brought the whole thing together.

Lemonade Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 (6-ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

1 (18.25-ounce) package white cake mix

1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream

1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

3 large eggs

Preparation:

Remove 2 tablespoons lemonade concentrate from can, and reserve for another use.

Combine remaining concentrate, cake mix, and next 3 ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat at low speed with an electric mixer until moistened. Beat at high speed 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides. Spoon batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each almost full.

Bake at 350° for 22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans; cool completely on wire rack.  Serve with homemade cream cheese frosting.

Homemade Cream Cheese frosting

Instructions:

1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese

1 stick butter

1 box powdered sugar

1 tsp. genuine vanilla

Preparations:

Beat cream cheese and butter.  Add sugar a little at a time, creaming after each addition.  Add vanilla,

Lemon-Basil Sherbet

I know what you are thinking.  “Basil???…Sherbet???”  But trust me, this is lovely.  This may be my favorite recipe from my daughter’s first birthday party.

It was wonderfully light, summery, and fresh with a very subtle basil flavor.  This would make a gorgeous little palate-cleansing entremets if you were planning a truly luscious dinner party.  We used it as a simple taste-of-something-sweet after lunch, but before the real dessert, lemonade cupcakes, was served.

I found this recipe over at Baking Obsession, where you’ll also find a beautiful (but a bit labor intensive) presentation idea: serving in a lemon-half.

This recipe freezes perfectly, so feel free to make this several days in advance of your event.  That’ll give you more time to scoop out lemons and find itty-bitty basil leaves for garnish.  😉

Lemon-Basil Sherbet

Ingredients:

A large bunch of basil (leaves weight – 30 g)

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)

2 2/3 cup whole milk

Grated zest of 2 medium organic lemons

Preparation:

Tear the basil leaves roughly. Put the leaves and sugar into a medium bowl. With your fingers massage the leaves with sugar to release the basil aroma. Add the lemon juice to the bowl, stir, cover, and let stand for an hour.

Stir the milk into the lemon juice mixture. Strain through a fine sieve into another bowl or a large liquid-measuring cup, pressing lightly on the basil leaves. Add the lemon zest. Chill for about 4 hours. Process in an ice cream maker. If there’s any lemon zest accumulated on the dasher, scrape it and stir it back into the sherbet with a fork. Serve the sherbet soft right from the ice cream maker or transfer into an airtight container and transfer to the freezer to firm up (at least 3 to 4 hours) before serving.