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Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes with Lemon Meringue Buttercream

June 29, 2011

I love lemon-flavored baked goods.

After I fell in love with the Strawberry Meringue Buttercream recipe I found on Annie’s Eats, I wanted to experiment with different flavors… Lemon.

Since I was baking cupcakes for a crowd, I had no time for trial and error with my own recipes, so I chose to bake a guaranteed winner from Annie’s Eats. Annie’s Eats has an assortment of beautiful and delicious recipes, so it was only natural for me to bake her Lemon-Blueberry Cupcakes topped with a Lemon Meringue Buttercream.

The cupcakes were light, fluffy and not overly sweet. The addition of blueberries complemented the subtle lemon flavor… Although personally, I would have preferred a cupcake recipe that made me pucker my face due to the lemon taste…

(Perfect example of the puckered face I was talking about)

Instead of using a lemon cream cheese frosting, like the original recipe, I used a silky, smooth, Lemon Meringue Buttercream. For the Lemon Meringue Buttercream, I followed the same directions I would as if I were preparing the Strawberry Meringue Buttercream, but substituted lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract for the strawberry puree.

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes recipe from Annie’s Eats:

¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour, divided

¾ cup cake flour

1½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

Zest of  1 lemon

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tbsp. lemon juice

½ cup plus 2 tbsp. milk, at room temperature

1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the ¾ cup all-purpose flour, the cake flour, baking powder and salt; whisk together and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar and lemon zest.  Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla and lemon juice.  With the mixer on low speed, mix in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Blend in the milk.  Mix in the remaining dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated.

In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour.  Using a spatula gently fold the berries into the cake batter.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each about ¾ full.  Bake 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pans 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Lemon Meringue Buttercream recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats:

4 large egg whites

1¼ cups sugar

3 sticks (1½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon lemon extract

Zest of one lemon

Color gel, optional

Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.  (The bowl should be cool to the touch.)

Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (or longer – don’t worry, it will come together!)

Add in lemon juice, zest, and extract until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

If using color gel, add 1-2 drops, then beat until blended to make a pale, yellow frosting.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip with the frosting.

Overall, these cupcakes were a great crowd-pleaser.

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