Strawberry Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing Strawberry Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing

Continuing on my faceless February with the Ambassador program, I found these formerly faceless cupcakes.  These cupcakes have a surprise inside! A dollop of strawberry puree gives them a little extra lift, and the lemon cream cheese icing pairs nicely with the strawberry

Strawberry Puree Ingredients
1 cup frozen strawberries
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon white sugar 

Strawberry Puree Directions
Pulse 1 cup frozen strawberries in a blender until evenly chopped. Add 2 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, and 1 tablespoon white sugar. Blend until smooth and set aside.

Cupcake Batter Ingredients
1 box Strawberry Cake Mix
1 cup water
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Cupcake Batter Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line about 20 cupcake cups with paper liners. Beat cake mix, 1 cup water, 3 eggs, and vegetable oil in a large bowl with electric mixer on low speed until moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes. You can also beat this by hand until well mixed. Fold in lemon zest. Fill prepared cupcake liners 2/3 full. Drop a spoonful of strawberry puree into the center of each cupcake. Bake cupcakes in preheated oven for 18 minutes or until tops spring back when pressed lightly. Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes and then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

NOTE: baking at the lower temp of 325 degrees gives these cupcakes a nice flat top. I prefer that to the domed top you get when baking at higher temps

Lemon Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

Icing Directions
Place 8 ounce cream cheese and 1/4 butter in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Mix in 2 cups confectioner's sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest (not pictured) until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to use and a good consistency for piping. Frost cooled cupcakes with icing and enjoy.

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