“Spring has sprung. The grass has riz. I wonder where the birdies is.” –Anonymous
This is still my favorite poem. Sorry T.S Eliot. It was close but, in the end, the birdies won. I can hear the literati heave a sigh of disgust. My response? I believe the expression is “go suck a lemon.” You see, I have a long history of disgusting the intellectuals. It goes as far back as prep school. I wore makeup, cared about fashion, and knew the current pop songs. Appalling! Who has time for such silliness? Um me.
So it is no surprise that today I watch Real Housewives and obsess about desserts. And no one seems to mind my dessert fixation. In fact, it is what many seem to like most about me. While at times my husband and I feel overwhelmed by the amount of cake that seems to be taking over our one-bedroom apartment, everyone else is more than happy to eat it. To us it’s, “How are we going to get rid of all this cake?” To everyone else it’s, “You’re a goddess!” Hmm, too bad Gluten-free Goddess is already taken.
But I digress. So Spring has sprung and to me, the Springiest (I know not a word) flavor combination is lemon/raspberry. It for some reason reminds me of Easter. Though perhaps that reason is because years ago I saved a recipe from Epicurious for a lemon raspberry Easter cake. Or maybe I am not alone in my thinking. Maybe the lemon/raspberry combination really is the exemplar of the season. Who knows? And white chocolate was always my favorite flavor of Easter bunny. Yes, the little Jewish girl had Easter candy too. We had Catholic neighbors and my parents didn’t want me to feel left out.
So what flavor combination represents Spring to you? Comment below, but meanwhile enjoy my Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.
Yields 24 cupcakes
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Best Birthday Cake
Inspired by Melanie Underwood's (Chef Instructor at ICE) Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes
3 cups flour mix D
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon zest (2 to 3 lemons)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 large eggs, at room temperature
Adapted from Melanie Underwood's (Chef Instructor at ICE) Basic Buttercream
Disclaimers: The recipe only works with a stand mixer. If you only have a handheld one, try this recipe from Comfortably Domestic but double it for 24 cupcakes.
DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT try to half this recipe. If you need less frosting, use only 2 sticks of butter.
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt or cream of tartar
24 to 32 tablespoons (3 to 4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 ounces white chocolate
6 ounces raspberry jam
- Position the rack in the center of oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the first four ingredients and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese at medium speed for two minutes. Add the sugar and continue to beat for five minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
- Add sour cream and beat for one minute. Scrape down the bowl.
- Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and beat for one minute. Scrape down the bowl.
- At low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, beating for one minute. and scraping down the bowl after each addition.
- Add the flour in three parts to the batter. Mix each addition for one minute. Scrape down the bowl after each addition.
- Once all the ingredients are combined, scrape down the bowl a final time. Then turn the mixer back up to medium speed for 30 seconds.
- Fill each liner 2/3 full. This will be about 1/4 cup of the batter.
- Place the pans on the center rack and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops spring back when you touch them or a toothpick comes out clean of batter. Tip: Be not sure not to “over” bake these cupcakes. Cupcakes continue to bake a bit when removed from the oven so as long as the cake springs back, it does not need to be hard.
- Remove the pans from the oven and place them on cooling racks. Cool the cupcakes in the pans for 5 minutes before removing them to cool completely. Tip: Do not leave the cupcakes in the pans for more than 5 minutes. They will continue to bake and become dry.
- Melt the chocolate either in a double boiler or microwave. For tips on melting chocolate, click here. Set aside to cool to room temperature..
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg whites and sugar. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Tip: Make sure the bowl does not touch the water. You only need about an inch or two of water. Whisk constantly only until the mixture is hot and all the sugar has dissolved. Tip: Only heat the mixture until the sugar has dissolved. Any longer and the egg will start to cook and your whites will not whip up correctly. Rub a bit of the mixture between your fingers, if it is gritty, it is not ready. If it is smooth, you are done.
- Remove the bowl from heat and place it onto your stand mixer. Add the pinch of salt or cream of tartar and with the whip attachment, whisk the mixture on high until it is fluffy and almost room temperature (about 5 to 10 minutes). Tip: It will look like marshmallow fluff.
- Switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium speed, add the room temperature butter one or two tablespoons at a time. Tips: If your mixture is not smooth and looks a bit like cottage cheese, your butter was too cold. Wrap a hot towel around the bowl. Hold it in place while mixing on medium until smooth. If after adding all the butter, your mixture is oily, your butter was too hot. Wrap a cold towel around the bowl and hold it in place while mixing on medium until smooth.
- Add the melted and cooled chocolate to the frosting and continue mixing on medium until combined. Scrape down the bowl once or twice to be certain all the chocolate is incorporated.
- Left: Stiff peaks., Right: Finished frosting.
- Cut a hole in the center of each cupcake. Save the cake you removed for step 3. For technique, view: How to Fill a Cupcake.
- Fill each cupcake 3/4 full with raspberry jam.
- From each chunk of cake you removed, slice off the top and use it to cover the jam.
- Frost with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. For technique, view: How to Frost a Cupcake Without a Pastry Bag.
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