Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lemon Cupcakes & Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

A friend asked me recently to make some cupcakes for her to take to work. I, of course, said yes, and set about deciding what to make. I was also a little strapped for time, so I made a big decision- I would use cake mixes, and just jazz them up. I know what your thinking… ‘Really? A Cake mix? What kind of cook would not make it from scratch…’

I know, I know, but really- they are so good, and easy, and it’s all about the frosting anyway, right?

I decided on a Chocolate Raspberry, and a Lemon Cupcake.

For the Chocolate Raspberry, I took a milk chocolate cake mix and made it to the specifications, however I added some raspberry puree (thawed frozen raspberries, pureed and strained) in place of half the water. This added a subtle raspberry flavor to the chocolate cake.
I decided to do two frostings- first, I made a chocolate frosting by adding melted chocolate to softened butter, and powdered sugar to taste. For the raspberry Buttercream, I added raspberry puree, a little red food color, butter and powdered sugar to taste. I piped the chocolate frosting on first, followed by a rosette of raspberry frosting. Damn Tasty.

Milk Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Chocolate & Raspberry Frostings

For the Lemon cupcakes, I took a vanilla cake mix, and substituted some fresh lemon juice and some lemon oil, for half the water. I also added 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon zest to the batter. The cake tasted zesty and lemony, but not overpowering- just a hint of lemon to compliment the frosting.

The frosting I made with equal parts Butter & Cream Cheese then added powdered sugar, lemon and lime zest, and lemon oil- as well as some limoncello liquor that I had in the freezer. I made it completely by taste. It was really good, if I do say so myself!

Lemon Vanilla Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese

The finishing touch was to make some candied lemon zest.
Simply strip the zest from the fruit- using either a peeler and then cutting them into thin fine strips, or use a citrus zester-, which peels it off in thin strips. Place the strips in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let it sit for 30 minutes then drain. Heat 2 cups sugar and 1-cup water in a small saucepan, cover and boil. When the sugar is dissolved, add the zest, reduce heat to medium low and cook, uncovered for 10 minutes. I pulled out the zest and placed them on a piece of parchment paper- discarding the syrup, and let cool. Wile they were still sticky, I dusted them with white sugar so they are sparkly.
As you can see from the pictures, they look pretty good!

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