Cupcakes? Always a big “Yes!” because they are: Portable! Hand-Held! Ready-to-share! Colorful! and cupcakes say “Celebrate!” My Blueberry Cupcakes with Lemon Icing are easy to make, easy to take, and easy to love.
This post and recipe were created for #SummerDessertWeek! I was sent samples by some of the sponsor companies but as always opinions are 100% mine.
Cupcakes For the Win!
People say “easy as pie” but the real dessert superhero when I want easy-and-special? That would be cupcakes! They are ready to go, no portions, no cutting in wedges, they have all the party-energy of a layer cake but none of the fuss.
Since it’s summertime, I wanted to bring a little something special to the table, and blueberries came to mind. Pretty, juicy, and almost universally loved, blueberries boosted this basic yellow butter cake batter to something delightful; and bringing the zing of lemon and the sparkly colorful energy of sprinkles to the mix made these a true treat that happens fast and generates smiles.
Blueberries Bring It All
I love blueberries and here’s why:
They keep longer than their fellow berries: strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
They are high in nutrients such as Vitamin K, Vitamin C, fiber, and manganese.
They are a powerhouse source of antioxidants
They are easy to eat out of hand — toss on cereal or oatmeal; add to smoothies or shakes; sprinkle on salads, or fold into cupcakes like this recipe right here!
Cupcakes show up in the written recipe records of the English language in the late 18th century, first in 1796 and again in 1828. From then on, cupcakes were a Thing, and have grown in popularity little by little with occasional bursts of passion on the part of the public.
First big boost to cupcakes’ good name came in 1919 when the Hostess company began producing and marketing cupcakes as a manufactured item. No, not THOSE Hostess cupcakes — the iconic filled ones came along in the 1950’s. But cupcakes grew in popularity as a home-baked item once a commercial version came on the scene.
Second big boost was the appearance of cupcakes in the television show “Sex and the City”, which put NYC’s Magnolia Bakery on the map in an even bigger way than it already was.
Cupcake is a cute name, but I wish we’d picked up the UK term: Fairy Cakes, or the Australian name: Patty Cakes. A little more magic there…but cupcake is good!
Making this Recipe for Blueberry Cupcakes with Lemon Icing:
First come cupcakes: This recipe makes 12 with blueberries stirred gently into a basic yellow cake made with butter, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla. You can double it or triple it if you want more at one time.
Then comes the blueberry lemon icing. Here are the ingredients, with the simple fresh blueberry sauce you make first on the top left, and lemon zest, finely shredded up on a microplane, in the center. The clear bowl is lemon extract, which is clear in color.
For the icing, the blueberry syrup gets strained well and added to the basic confectioner’s sugar icing, made with butter, confectioner’s sugar, half-and-half, lemon extract, and salt. You can make it ahead and store in the fridge for a day. Let it come to room temperature before spreading.
Zest is the Best!
Zest is the thin outer skin on citrus fruits: lemons, oranges, limes, kumquats, grapefruits — all those lovely plump round fruits which are too sour to eat directly but a source of so much deliciousness we can enjoy with a little imagination.
The rind is the entire skin of citrus fruit, with zest outside and thick white pith beneath it. Inside is the juicy pulp. Usually we want the flavor and scent of zest without the bitterness of the pith.
Zest holds the color and scent on citrus fruits because that’s where the aromatic oils reside. By grating up the thin colorful portion, leaving the bitter white pith behind we can bring extraordinary flavor and perfume to our kitchens.
The Icing on the (Cup) Cake!:
This blueberry-lemon icing is easy to make and can be your go-to anything icing. Add chocolate syrup, use strawberries or blackberries the same way, keep it simple with vanilla or almond flavoring.
This summer-fruit-centric version of basic butter-powdered sugar icing is beautiful with its natural blueberry color (which yes tends more in a purple direction than a blue, but that’s the magic!
And speaking of magic, a little kitchen magic seems to happen when sprinkles show up. The color, the tiny size, the mix of sizes, the variety of forms? A quick bit of beauty and fun: Confetti we can eat and share easily and neatly, for no reason at all except FUN!
Make It a Summer Celebration Menu
If you love cupcakes, I think you’ll like my Cinnamon-Pecan Coffee Cake, a delicious celebration cake which is special enough for a weekend breakfast with company on hand, but simple enough to put together for family anytime.
And to set up a spur of the moment summer supper, consider this excellent Southern Summer Tomato Pie as the main course, and a batch of these blueberry lemon cupcakes for dessert. Boil some corn and stir up a pitcher of lemonade and you’ve got a blueberry-lemon party going on!
- 1 cup all--purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup soft butter
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk\
- 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
- 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1/2 cup butter, cut into chunks (1 stick / 4 ounces)
- 3 2/3 cups confectioner's sugar (1 one-pound box)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons lemon extract
- 2 tablespoons half-and-half or evaporated milk
- Sprinkles and blueberries for decoraton
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees F, and prepare a standard cupcake pan (12 cupcakes) by greasing generously or filling with paper cupcake liners
- In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and saltm and stir with a fork or whisk to mix well; set aside.
- Combine the butter and the sugar in a large bowl and use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to beat them well, until fluffy and well combined 2 to 3 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat until smooth and evenly combined, 2 minutes more.
- Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat at low speed until barely mixed in.
- Add half the buttermilk and beat until just mixed.
- Add half the remaining flour, then the remaining milk, and beat until just combined but still floury.
- Scrape batter off the beaters and finish by hand, using a spatula or a large spoon to stir in the rest of the flour and smooth out the batter.
- Quickly scoop batter into cupcake pan, dividing evenly into 12 cupcakes.
- Bake at 400 degrees until the cupcakes rise and brown nicely, 18 - 20 minutes.
- Remove and let cool to room temperature. Store airtight until ready to ice and serve
- In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, brown sugar, and water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Adjust heat to maintain a gentle boil and cook, mashing and stirring often, until blueberries pop and form a juicy, chunky sauce, 2 to 4 minutes.
- Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl, and scrape the blueberries and their liquid into the strainer; then press and mash and scrape to push out all the liquid and sauce, leaving only peel behind.
- Discard peel and place blueberry sauce by the mixer to add to the icing.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until soft and fluffy.
- Add confectioner's sugar, salt, lemon zest, and lemon extract, and and beat until well combined (it will still be dry.)
- Add half-and-half and beat, stopping to scrape the bowl well, until you have a smooth, fluffy, evenly colored icing, light purple in color.
- Spread a generous crown of icing onto each cupcake; decorate with sprinkles and blueberries and serve at room temperature.
- Store extra icing covered well in the refrigerator for 5 days and in the freezer for 1 month.
Video Tips on Zesting Lemons
Here’s a #411 video on zesting citrus. Quick how-to on four methods of getting the colorful flavorful aromatic zest from the outside of a lemon (or lime or grapefruit or orange…etc.) from the rotund fruit to your mixing bowl, batter, dressing, or marinade.
Four tools to help you do the job. Microplane is the most modern, yielding the softest, most delicate form of zest, but all four work well, and you may need zest sometime when you are camping! visiting friends! cooking in a hotel room, and knowing how to improvise with a paring knife when you have the perfect tool but not right there and then? That’s a good thing to know. Here’s how to with:
Swivel vegetable peeler
Sponsored Products for #SummerDessertWeek
I used products from these #SummerDessertWeek Sponsors in this recipe:
Adams Extract: Lemon Extract and Vanilla Extract
Dixie Crystals: Light Brown Sugar
Sweets & Treats Boutique: Sprinkles
Check out the amazing #SummerDessertWeek recipes from our bloggers today!
- Mermaid Pineapple RumDum from Big Bear’s Wife
Ice Cream & Frozen Desserts:
- Cotton Candy Cupcakes from Daily Dish Recipes
- Drumstick Layered Dessert from Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Mermaid Milkshakes from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Mojito Popsicles from The Spiffy Cookie
- Fried Ice Cream Cake from Cookaholic Wife
- Unicorn Milkshake from For The Love of Food
Sweet Summertime Cakes and Cupcakes:
- Mojito Cupcakes from Jen Around the World
- Pina Colada Cupcakes from The Beard and The Baker
- Lemonade Cupcakes from The Domestic Kitchen
- Summer Sangria Cake from A Blender Mom
- Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Cupcakes from Doughmesstic
- Sunflower Cupcakes from Home Sweet Homestead
- Easy Pina Colada Poke Cake from Love and Confections
- Classic Vanilla Cupcakes + Summer Cupcake Decorating from Books n’ Cooks
- Almond Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting from The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine
- Peach Upside Down Cake from Home Sweet Homestead
- Jam Breakfast Cake with Streusel from Shockingly Delicious
- Summer Berry Cupcakes with Lemon Icing from Nancie’s Table
No Bake Treats:
- Million Dollar Bar Pies from Fake Ginger
- Blackberry Cream Cheese Dessert from Eat Move Make
- No Bake Lemon Cheesecake from Cooking With Carlee
- S’mores Cheesecake from Kudos Kitchen by Renee
- Strawberry Cheesecake Shortbread Bars from The Bitter Side of Sweet
- Drumstick Babka from Sweet ReciPEAs
- Raspberry Lemon Brownies from Sweet Beginnings
- Peach Streusel Crumb Bars from Blogghetti
- White Tea Peach Panna Cotta from Palatable Pastime
- Homemade Strawberry Swirl Marshmallow from My Sweet Zepol
- Blueberry Lemonade Lollipops from Our Good Life
Disclaimer: These posts and recipes are part of the week-long event, #SummerDessertWeek but all opinions are 100% mine! We would like to Thank our amazing sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Adam’s Extract, Wilton, Sweets and Treats Shop and Anolon ! These wonderful sponsors provided the prize packs for our giveaways and also sent samples and products to the #SummerDessertWeek bloggers to use in their recipes.