Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

After all of the madness last week, making cupcakes for everyone else, I decided that this week, I was going to make some cupcakes that sounded delicious to ME!

Browsing pinterest (pretty much my favorite website ever), I found the recipe for Lemonade Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting. I know most of you are probably still battling your way into spring, but here in Southern California, summer is already in full force. With temperatures spiking above 100 degrees every couple of days, these cupcakes sounded refreshing and delicious.

I was right!

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Lemonade Cupcakes:

made 36

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

grated zest of 2 lemons

lemon juice from 2 lemons

1 cup milk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare cupcake pan with cupcake wrappers.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla.

3. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture 1/3 at a time, alternating with 1/2 the milk and 1/2 the lemon juice. Beat until just combined.

4. Fill cupcake wrappers about 1/2 – 2/3 full and bake in oven for 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tin and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Raspberry Frosting:

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh raspberries (or thawed from frozen)

1 cup butter, room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

1. In a food processor, puree raspberries until smooth. If you like, press the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds (I did not do this, which is why the frosting looks “chunky.” If you don’t mind the appearance, I wouldn’t bother).

2. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and half of the powdered sugar together until smooth. Add the raspberry puree. Then add the rest of the sugar a bit at a time, mixing until you have a spreadable consistency. Add a splash or two of water if necessary.

3. Put into piping bag and pipe onto fully cooled cupcakes.

Reviews:

Elle: 10/10 These cupcakes are delicious! It tastes just like a raspberry lemonade in cupcake form. The cupcake itself was light and fluffy with just the right amount of lemon in it that the raspberry didn’t overpower it. The raspberry frosting was delicious and sweet without being too sweet. My favorites so far!

Jeremy: 9.5/10 It’s an even mix of raspberry and lemon. One doesn’t overpower the other. I think you should strain the seeds out of the frosting, for aesthetic reasons.

Nate: 8/10 Delicious! I like how sweet the lemon was. It reminded me of a danish or a pastry with the raspberry. The mix was perfect.

Trevor: 8/10 Let me first say I’m not a big fan of raspberry. However, it was a really nice mix of lemon and raspberry.  The lemon is really subdued. I was expecting it to be a lot stronger, but I’m glad it wasn’t. It let the raspberry take over a little.

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4 Cupcakes in 4 Days – Part 4 – Vanilla-nilla Cupcakes

Alright, so originally we were going to make a coffee cupcake with chocolate frosting for Jeremy’s mom, Katie for Mother’s Day (along with another batch of the lemon lemon LEMON ones for my mom). But at Jeremy’s birthday dinner, while talking about all kinds of cupcakes everyone thought I should try in the future (I have a huge list now, haha), she mentioned that she really just wanted vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting. So instead of searching for a yummy coffee/chocolate one, we went off in search of a delicious vanilla one.

For the cupcake, I decided to use the recipe from the lemon lemon LEMON cupcakes, minus the lemon zest, plus some extra vanilla extract. For the frosting, I tried out this vanilla buttercream, that is supposedly based on the one by Sprinkle’s Cupcakes.

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Vanilla-nilla Cupcakes:

Makes 12 cupcakes (made 28)
Ingredients:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
1/4 cup corn oil
1/4 cup whole milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
2.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy (abbout 3-4 minutes). Add eggs, one at  a time, beating after each addition. Next, beat in oil. Graduaally add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk in 2 parts.
4. Fill cupcake liners 1/2-2/3 full. Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes oout clean.
5. Remove from pan and cool completely before frosting.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Directions:
1. In a bowl, combine butter, sugar, and salt. Beat until blended.
2. Add milk and vanilla and beat an additional 3-5 minutes, or until smooth and creamy.
Reviews:
Elle: 9/10 If you like powdered sugar, you will LOVE this frosting. It tastes like a cramy powdered sugar, but not overpowering. The cupcake itself was much better with the added vanilla flavoring.
Jeremy: 9.5/10 The frosting wasn’t completely smooth – the recipe didn’t call for enough liquid to combat all of the dry ingredients. Cupcake is better with the vanilla. It’s not just a plain cake anymore. It’s a vanilla cake.
Nate: 8.5/10 I like vanilla, but it’s not my favorite. As far as the cake, it was nice and fluffy and I like the flavor. The frosting was really good. I thought it was blended well. I felt like the cupcake overall needed a little extra something to finish it off. I don’t know what it was missing, but I think it needed another flavor.
Trevor: 7.5/10 It was a sugar overload, but not so much that you wanted to gag from the amount of sugar.
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4 Cupcakes in 4 Days – Part 3 – Brownie Cupcakes with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting

Today was Jeremy’s birthday, and it took a while to find just the right cupcakes to make for him. In the end, he decided he wanted brownie cupcakes with cookie dough frosting. And based on the things I had available in my house, I actually used this recipe for the brownie cupcakes, and these directions for the cookie dough frosting. I made some minor adjustments, so below are my modified recipes.

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Brownie Cupcakes:

Makes 12 (made 14)
Ingredients:
 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp milk
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa powder. Pour in melted butter, and combine well. Mix in eggs and vanilla extract. Stir in milk.
4. Add flour mixture in 3 parts, mixing well between each addition. Batter should be fairly thick.
5. Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full. Bake in oven about 16-20 minutes (mine ended up needing 24 minutes), or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Cook a little less for more gooey brownies.
6. Remove from cupcake pan and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Batter Frosting:
Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
Chocolate chips to top cupcakes with.
Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients (minus the chocolate chips and heavy cream) in a big bowl until combined.
2. Measure out 2 cups of the cookie dough mix, and feel free to eat the remainder!
3. Add the heavy cream and mix well.
4. Once cupcakes are frosted, sprinkle the tops with chocolate chips.
Reviews:
Elle: 9/10 This were super good! The brownie cupcake was fudgey and moist. The cookie dough frosting was delicious. They went together really well. I’m not really a “chocolate girl,” but if you are, you are going to love these!
Jeremy: 10/10 These are my favorites so far! Cupcake was perfect – tasted just like a brownie. With the cookie dough on top, it was just a combination of deliciousness.
Nate: 9/10 But only because they were refrigerated, and not anything wrong with the flavor. I almost wanted the frosting to be a little bit sweeter.
Trevor: 9.5/10 I liked it chilled. Much easier to eat a cupcake with a solidified frosting. It was kind of like eating a fluffier version of a cookie. It’s an airy chocolate chip cookie in a wrapper.
Richard: 8/10 I liked them chilled. I thought the cookie dough was going to be soft and squishy, and I was worried it would be messy to eat. But it wasn’t.
Dano: 8/10 The choclate brownie part was really yummy. The cookie frosting with the brownie was almost a little too much.
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4 Cupcakes in 4 Days – Part 2 – Lemon Lemon LEMON Cupcakes

My mom LOVES lemon, so I wanted to make her a very lemony cupcake. I found a recipe for “Triple Citrus Cupcakes,” that used orange zest, lemon zest, and lime juice. I substituted lemon zest for the orange zest, and lemon juice for the lime juice to make it even more lemony. Plus, I added a lemon curd filling. So far, everyone who likes lemon says this is by far and away their favorite of the cupcakes I have made so far (including the brownie/cookie dough cupcakes I will post about tomorrow).

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Lemon Lemon LEMON Cupcakes:

Makes 12 cupcakes (made 28)

Ingredients:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 Tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
1/4 cup corn oil
1/4 cup whole milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 jar lemon curd

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Next, beat in oil. Gradually add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk in 2 parts.
4. Fill cupcake liners 1/2-2/3 full. Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
5. Remove from pan and cool completely before frosting.

Lemon Glaze Frosting:

Ingredients:

3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
5 Tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine all frosting ingredients, until frosting reaches desired spreading consistency. Frosting should be more of a glaze consistency than a thick frosting.

Assemble Cupcakes:

1. Scoop out centers of cupcakes.

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2. Fill with lemon curd.

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3. Pipe frosting over the top so no curd shows.

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4. Refrigerate for a few minutes to harden the glaze.

Reviews:

Elle: 10/10 These are freaking BOMB! I was a little bit disappointed in the actual cupcake. It is not at all lemony, despite the lemon zest. It really just tastes like a vanilla cupcake. I’m very glad we decided to add the lemon curd, because that really pulled the whole cupcake together and made it amazing!

Jeremy: 9/10 The addition of the lemon curd really made this cupcake. Without it, the cupcake was just a little plain.

Nate: 9/10 It was great! I liked how lemony it was compared to a normal lemon cupcake. A standard lemon cupcake is lemon-ish. This was lemonY!

 Trevor didn’t try this cupcake because he doesn’t like lemon flavored stuff.

Richard: 9/10! I liked the texture change between the spongy cupcake, the lemon curd, and the glaze icing. It was a really nice contrast.

Aunt Shannon: Please make these again for Mother’s Day!

Mom: 10/10 Deliciously lemony cupcakes! I made a new descriptive word inspired by them: Gobbly-good! Love their super tarty goodness. What LEMON is supposed to taste like!

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Life Updates

For those who have been following my blog, I know it has been quite a while since I posted, and you might be wondering who are all of these people that I talked about in my latest post?

If you don’t care, just skip this post, and wait for Part 2 of my cupcake adventure to post tomorrow. If you do care, here’s the explanation of what’s happened in the past year.

I am no longer a nanny. I got laid off in December of 2011. I was then a nanny for two other kids (ages 11 and 16) for a couple of months before getting laid off again.

I decided that perhaps I needed to get into a more stable line of work, seeing as the economy sucks, and people can’t afford to have private nannies anymore… With that being said, I went to a job fair, and I got hired at Home Depot as a cashier.

In August, we moved out into a 3-bedroom apartment. After Sean and I split up,  three of my coworkers (Jeremy, Nate, and Trevor), who were best friends and looking to move out together, moved into the apartment with me.

Now, Jeremy and I are seeing each other, I have a new dog named Clover (Sean took Kiera when he moved out), and I recently was promoted/had a position change at Home Depot. I am now a bookkeeper and work in the back office.

As far as my arts and crafts go, I am working on a huge undertaking – I want to cross stitch all 150 original Pokemon in their own hoops. So far I have made: Bulbasaur, Blastoise, Caterpie, Butterfree, Abra, Articuno, Diglett, Vulpix, and I am currently working on Kabuto. That makes 8.5/150. I know it will take me a while, but I think they all look super cool, and I am very excited to get these first ones hung up so I can get some pictures of them to share with you all!

Also, I have obviously been doing a lot more cooking. I am no longer vegetarian (gave up back in July of last year, and I keep trying to go back and failing miserably. It is very difficult when we cook collective meals, and the boys are all very carnivorous). I have some new recipes to share with you (have I ever told you how much I love pinterest? Because yea, without pinterest I would be lost in the kitchen, haha).

I think that’s all I have right now for  my life updates. Look forward to tomorrow’s post about Lemon Cupcakes!

-Elle

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4 Cupcakes in 4 Days – Part 1 – White Russian Cupcakes

My cupcake fever started when I found this adorable Papyrus brand Mother’s Day card with macarons on it. My mom and I went to France when I was 13, and again when I was 15, and while we were there, we fell in love with French macarons.

I decided that for Mother’s Day, I would try my hand at making my very own macarons for my mom.

Let me tell remind you now that this is a post about cupcakes, not macarons. They turned out absolutely awful. Delicious, but just awful as far as how they were supposed to turn out.

So when that failed, and with my mothers birthday coming up on Thursday, along with Mother’s Day Sunday, I decided perhaps cupcakes would be a better way to go.

Then the boys reminded me that our friend Jack’s birthday was Wednesday. And with Jeremy’s birthday slipping in on Friday, you can now see why I’ve been spending all bloody week in the kitchen!

I am separating this into 4 parts, because I don’t want all 4 cupcake recipes and reviews to be all mushed together (and also because its only Friday, so I haven’t made the Mother’s Day cupcakes yet.

Jacks birthday came first on Wednesday, and a 21st birthday usually means lots of booze and drunken debauchery. But his father was taking us all to a very (VERY) nice restaurant, and some of us had work very (VERY) early the next morning, so we decided to keep it rather tame.

However, when I saw the recipe for White Russian cupcakes, I couldn’t resist giving him a little bit of the normal experience (you know, where the whole night is just alcohol themed).

I found the recipe in IHeartCuppycake’s blog, and made only minor changes (like which brands of alcohol I used).

Here is the recipe, which yielded a whopping 30 cupcakes! Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of these cupcakes before the party. Sorry!

White Russian Cupcakes:

Ingredients:

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1-1/2 cup sugar

12 Tbsp butter, room temperature

2 large eggs + 2 egg whites, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup Smirnoff Vanilla Vodka

1/4 cup Coffee Liqueur (I used Heritage, but Kahlua works well, too)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

2. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and butter until well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and egg whites, one at a time, beating on low. Next, add vanilla, Vodka, and 1/4 cup coffee liqueur. Next, add flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with heavy cream in 2 parts. Mix until combined well.

4. Fill each cupcake liner about 1/2 full. Bake about 17-20 minutes (mine were done in exactly 17 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

5. Remove from pan and cool completely before frosting.

Kahlua Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

Ingredients:

5 large eggs whites

1 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar

2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces

3-4 Tbsp Kahlua ( I used 4 and would use even more next time)

Directions:

1. Place sugar and egg whites in a heat-proof bowl. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Whisk until sugar is completely dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, ~ 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers. Texture should be completely smooth.

2. Transfer to a medium bowl, and whisk on high until mixture has cooled completely and has formed stiff glossy peaks (~ 8-10 minutes). Reduce speed to low. Add butter one chunk at a time, mixing completely between additions. Don’t worry if buttercream appears curdled after the addition of the butter. It will become smooth again with continued beating.

3. Add Kahlua and beat until just combined.

4. Switch to paddle blender and beat for about 5 minutes to eliminate any air pockets.

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Cali Style Quinoa (with Recipe)

Last night I had pulled out the leftover cooked quinoa from the freezer, and put it in the fridge to defrost. I had thought to make some more yummy quinoa patties with it, but today I had another idea. Totally on the spot, pulling things out of the fridge and cabinet  to mix with the quinoa, this is what I came up with.

Cali Style Quinoa (makes 1 bowl)

Ingredients:

Quinoa (pre-cooked, add as much as you want)

1 Egg

Black Beans (pre-cooked, add as much as you want)

1/2 Avocado

Handful of Mozzarella Cheese

Salt, pepper, and soy sauce

Directions: Put the quinoa and egg in a frying pan, cook like you are making fried rice. Add the cooked black beans near the end (to warm them up). Add avocado at the same time if you want it warm, add it after if you want it cold. Put in a bowl and stir in the cheese. It should melt in and sort of stick everything together. Add salt, pepper, and soy sauce to taste.

There are lots of other things you could throw in, too. I just used what I happened to have on hand. Other things that sound yummy: mushrooms, spinach, onions, bell peppers, garlic (will definitely put garlic in next time!), tasty herbs, tomato, corn, etc. You’re really only limited by your imagination and what’s in your kitchen.

Please share pictures if you try it yourself, and let me know what extras you threw in!

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