i made the best frosting of my life (well, until i make the next frosting that blows my mind)–lemonade frosting. i paired it with strawberry cupcakes, and i am proud to say this strawberry lemonade cupcake combo was one of the few recipes that i have ‘made up’ (i say that extremely loosely – i’m sure it’s been done, by many people, all around the world, for centuries), versus being inspired by a recipe/article/photo.
while at the store the other week i picked up some strawberries on sale. the strawberries sat in my fridge until they were at their use-em-or-lose-em date and as i’m on a lemon kick right now, i was inspired to make strawberry lemonade cupcakes. and they were delish (according me, ryan, neighbors and folks at work).
cast of characters: oil, strawberry cake mix, powdered sugar, strawberries, eggs, lemon, lemonade mix, butter, cream cheese
not pictured: water
so yea, i used a mix again. so shoot me. i really wasn’t going to, but i had it in my pantry (there must have been a great sale on mixes) and had to use it at some time, so why not. if you prefer to not use a mixes i found this one from sprinkles, the ‘world’s first cupcake bakery’ (there’s now one in chicago, i must try!), that i plan on trying next time. anyway, let’s begin.
cut the stem of your strawberries off. you can leave your strawberries whole, or if they’re behemoth, cut in half or quarters.
put strawberries in a ziplock bag. remove the air and close the top. now take a rolling pin or a can and smush the strawberries into a pulp (if you have a food processor you can smush them in that. mine is mysteriously missing).
(for this recipe, i ended up with about a cup.)
make your cake batter. since the strawberries have a bit of juice, after some googling, i decide to reduce the amount of water needed from 1 1/4 cup to about 3/4 of a cup (this was an experiment since i didn’t find an exact answer, and they turned out pretty moist and not mushy). add the strawberries to the batter.
you will have quite a pink batter.
fill lined cupcake tins about 2/3 full. bake according to directions on mix.
while the cupcakes are baking, make your frosting (note: i also experimented with this recipe. this is a first. i did a little googling and most recipes called for frozen lemonade concentrate, which i didn’t have).
beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. mix in the lemon zest and lemonade mix (i used crystal light–these are healthy cupcakes :)).
add powdered sugar, about 1/2 a cup at a time, tasting as you go to get your desired sweetness (i added more than i usually do to balance the tartness of the lemon). add more lemonade mix if you want the flavor more pronounced (i did). eat some frosting while you wait for the cupcakes to cool.
(i love the flecks of lemon zest)
after the cupcakes have cooled, frost them up and devour (side note: i try to use the ‘frosting in a ziplock bag with a cut corner’ technique, but i never like how it comes out, so i spread it after with a knife. i can’t wait to buy a piping kit).
the strawberry flavor was there, but not as much as i would like. next time i will try sprinkles recipe to see if it’s more pronounced. i didn’t care too much though, as the lemonade frosting made the cupcake. it was tart and sweet and creamy, and so so perfect.
strawberry lemonade cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes
1 box strawberry cake mix
3/4 cup water (instead of 1 1/4 as indicated on the box)
1/3 cup veggie oil
1 cup (or a tad more) mashed strawberries (about a pint of whole)
pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. line two cupcake trays with liners (or use non-stick spray). mash strawberries in food processor or ziplock bag. mix cake batter and add the mashed strawberries. fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full. bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out just about clean. cool. frost with lemonade frosting.
1 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2-3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (to taste)
1 – 1 1/2 teaspoon dry lemonade mix (crystal light) (to taste)
zest of one lemon
beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. mix in the lemon zest and lemonade mix. add powdered sugar, about 1/2 a cup at a time, tasting as you go to get your desired sweetness. add more lemonade mix if you want the flavor more pronounced.
these are perfect for a summer get together (or when it’s supposed to be spring but it’s not so you need some ‘warmth’ in your life). i hope you enjoy – and please let me know if you do.
aaaaand, happy friday! what a week. i don’t know about you, but this has been one long, stressful week. i’m looking forward to this weekend when i have my favorite pizza (piece), look at a couple potential houses and meet my friend’s new baby girl. i’ll let you know how it goes, as (mostly) always. :)