Finally sick of over-frosted, really dry, store-bought birthday cakes, the staff at school asked a few of us to volunteer to bring in the monthly birthday celebration cakes. I, of course, was more than happy to help!
My original intention was to make a lemon cheesecake topped with a marble of blackberry puree. However, one of my co-workers and good friends had a bit of a health scare and hospital stay this week. So, on the night I was to make this cheesecake, he was released and I went to bring him dinner and hang out with him. I was so thankful he was okay and he took dibs on that evening.
I didn't want to show up empty handed, though. I knew I didn't have time to make a large cheesecake and I would've made mini cheesecakes but, on my way home, I realized I didn't yet have the cream cheese. So my plans changed. I immediately thought of lemon cupcakes. I gave in and used a can of frosting we had at home. I hate doing that because homemade tastes so much better, but it was kind of a time crunch. Not wanting to waste the gorgeous blackberries I had, I decided to put one on the top of each cupcake. For a last minute birthday treat, I think they turned out pretty well.
1-2-3-4 Lemon Cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart, The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
1 TBSP baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 c. granulated sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 can vanilla or white frosting (or make your own, which is what I wish I could've done)
zest of 1 lemon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners and spray with non-stick cooking spray to prevent overflowing tops from sticking.
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter on low speed to fully soften. Increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy and light in color. Keep beating while gradually adding the sugar. Beat until fluffy, about three minutes.
4. Gradually drizzle in beaten eggs, beating between additions until the batter is no longer slick. Scrape down sides twice during addition.
5. With the mixer on low, alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, a little at a time, starting and ending with the flour.
6. Beat in lemon juice and lemon zest.
7. Divide batter between cupcake liners and bake for 18-20 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, mix frosting and lemon zest and wash and pat dry the berries.
9. When cupcakes are completely cooled, frost each one and place berry on top.