Sometimes a cupcake flavor pops into my head and I can’t do anything else until I bake and enjoy said cupcakes. This is true with these beauties. I had a bounty of lemons and an entire pound of strawberries on the verge of rottenness. I needed to do something with them and do it fast. Thus, I embarked on one of the most delicious cupcakes journeys ever. (For me, at least.)
Fluffy, lemon cake paired with a strawberry-cream cheese frosting. I mean…there really isn’t much else to say. I loved every bite of these. 🙂
The only real note I have about these cupcakes is that the frosting was just a little runny. I popped it in the fridge after I mixed it up and it worked perfectly well. I added more powdered sugar to help stabilize it but it was getting to be pretty sweet and I didn’t want to overdo it.
Lemon Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
For the cupcakes:
- 2¼ cups cake flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk
- 4 large egg whites
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
- 1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ tsp. pure lemon extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Place the sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add in the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract.
- Add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, beat the batter on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Divide the batter between prepared cupcake pans and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and spring back to the touch. A thin knife or other tester should come out clean.
- Transfer the cake pans to cooling racks and cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
- ~½ lb. strawberries, hulled and sliced
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
- Puree the strawberries in a food processor until smooth. Strain over a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl, removing as many seeds as possible. Set strawberry syrup aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add in vanilla and salt and mix. Stir in the strawberry syrup and beat until combined. Begin adding powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until mixture reaches desired consistency. If necessary, chill buttercream before frosting cupcakes.