Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes
Nothing says springtime like light and fluffy lemon blueberry cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting. They're bundles of joy. But be warned, they're so light and fluffy it may lead to you eating more than one...or in my case four.
This was my first winter in Jackson Hole and it's been eye opening. Snow for days, gloomy gray skies, cold, cold cold! It was -27° one morning while I drove my oldest son to school. I'm not being a baby, -27° is cold. My teeth hurt. My eyes burned. I'm from southern California; we panic when it rains. It gets down to 50° and we bundle up like it's the North Pole. I have a whole new respect for mountain winters. Even more respect for those who have been living in the mountains for years. Especially those with children. It's rough. Everything becomes a chore. I have three boys; it takes me half an hour to leave the house. Layer upon layer, jackets, snow pants, scarves, gloves, snow boots, hats. Then sure enough, my 3 year old has to pee.
You don't realize how much you miss the sight of grass till you go months without seeing it. Furthermore, dirt. I actually longed for the sight of dirt. White is everywhere. We had snow covering 6 feet of our windows.
So when the snow begins to melt your spirit lifts. It's a renewal of both nature and your soul. It's like your hopes and dreams come back to life. You may think I'm exaggerating, but you see it in people's eyes as you pass them on the street. People rejoice. People are happier. They call it spring for a reason. Everything springs back.
My favorite thing about spring is the lightness. The lightness of color, the lightness in the air. Fresh, crisp, and clean. Wildflowers. Birds chirping. The tart smell of lemon. The sweet taste of blueberries. Call it spring fever, if you, will.
These lemon and blueberry cupcakes announce the season of Spring with cheer. They're topped with a lemon cream cheese frosting and loaded with fresh blueberries and lemon zest.
Using fresh lemons and blueberries is essential. The lemon zest is a key ingredient, bringing out the tangy citrus flavor of the batter and the frosting. It pairs splendidly with the sweetness of the blueberries. Use frozen blueberries if you must, however, they tend to color the batter. They'll still taste delicious but the cupcakes won't be quite as pretty. Cupcakes are much lighter in texture than muffins, so look for the smallest blueberries you can find. The smaller the berry the less likely it'll sink to the bottom. But if they sink, oh well, you'll just have a fruity treat at the bottom.
Decorate however you'd like. A candied lemon wedge or daisy would be adorable. I decorated my cupcakes with generous swirl of lemon cream cheese frosting, a single blueberry, and finished with a sprinkle of fresh lemon zest. Let the lemon zest dry out a bit before you sprinkle it on. Happy spring!
Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes
Makes 12-15 cupcakes
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flou
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (for high altitude decrease by 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups of whole milk, at room temperature (for high altitude add 2-5 tablespoons of milk)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups sugar (for high altitude decrease sugar by 1 tablespoon)
- 2 eggs, at room temperature (for high altitude, above 4500 ft, add 1 egg)
- 4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon zest
- 3/4 cup of blueberries, preferably fresh
*Baker's note: See my post on high altitude baking for exact adjustments for your elevation
- Preheat the oven to 350° F (365-375°F for high altitude).
- Line a cupcake pan with 12 liners.
- In mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In another bowl, mix the milk and vanilla. Set aside.
- With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. About 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, slowly mixing till combined.
- Add one third of the dry ingredients, followed by one third of the milk and vanilla. Continue mixing slowly, repeat one third of the dry ingredients, followed by one third of the milk and vanilla. Scrape the bowl if needed. Add the remaining dry ingredients and the remaining milk and vanilla. Mix slowly until combined.
- Add the lemon juice and lemon zest, mix slowly until combined. Don't over mix.
- Gently fold the blueberries into the batter with a rubber spatula.
- Scoop the batter into the cupcake pan. I use an ice cream scoop to ensure evenly sized cupcakes. You want each to be filled about 2/3 full.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes. Less for high altitude, more for sea level.
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 ounces of full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 cups of sifted powdered sugar, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons more if needed
- 1/4 teaspoons of pure vanilla
- 3-4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (start with 3 tablespoons and add if needed)
- 1-2 tablespoons of fresh lemon zest (start with 1 tablespoon and add if needed)
- Mix the butter and cream cheese till combined.
- Add the vanilla, lemon juice, and zest
- Slowly add the sifted powdered sugar. Scrape the sides if needed.
- Once combined, mix on full speed for a few minutes till frosting is light and fluffy.