Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Raspberry Lemonade CupcakesSummer is finally within reach! The pools are open (but still kind of chilly) and the sun is shining! It's even getting warm enough that I’m starting to sweat in my apartment! (my air conditioning is still broken.) And of course, with summer officially approaching, it means loads of fresh produce in our gardens, farmers' markets, and grocery stores. I think it’s probably because of this that IronCupcake: Earth announced the June challenge of Summer Berries! Yay! I absolutely adore berries! They’re both sweet and tart and pair beautifully with so many things. One of my favorite combinations is ripe red raspberries paired with lemon. There’s just something about the tartness of the lemon mixed with the sweet tang of the berry that explodes on your tongue in a purely delightful burst of flavor! The greatest example of this is in a tall glass of ice cold Raspberry Lemonade—the perfect summertime refreshment. Take that inspiration and turn it into a cupcake and you’ve got one incredibly tasty treat! Or at least I thought so. The Baking Gods seem to have thought differently.

I’ve been eyeing a Pink Lemonade Cupcake recipe that I thought sounded pretty good for awhile now. Turning it into a Raspberry Lemonade Cupcake sounded even better! Everything seemed to start off great. Raspberries were on sale for $1 at the grocery store, I had plenty of time to bake before work, and it was a beautiful sunny day outside! (Sunny day = good pictures!) But as always, as I was setting out all my ingredients I realized I was missing something… My return trip to the grocery store to buy the 95-cent pint of buttermilk I forgot turned into 15 minutes of standing in line watching the best show of passive aggression I’ve seen in a very long time. The lady in front of me had a $300 purchase, most of which was fresh produce. The cashier, not having memorized every single code, had to look things up on her little cheat sheet every once in awhile. (Come on! How dare you not know what each and every item's PLU# is!! *that's sarcasm if you didn't catch it. I worked in the produce department of a grocery store for 8 months and couldn't tell you any of them.*) This totally infuriated the customer because it was taking longer than the 2 minutes she thought it should. She sighed and huffed and rolled her eyes at me to show her disgust. None of this was lost on the cashier. She, in turn, showed her mutual contempt by going even slower--which caused more sighs and eye rolls, which lead to even slower service. Although it took me a full 15 minutes to get to my 30 second transaction, as a fellow retail slave for the last 8 years, I could truly appreciate the move, and just want to say, well played, my cashier friend. Well played.

Although it was a great show, it put me behind on baking before work. I only had about an hour to get the cupcakes out of the oven and cooled, iced, and photographed. I was cutting it REALLY close. And of course the guys from the maintenance office show up right as I'm making the icing to take a look at my air conditioning. Why is it that all maintenance/repair/installation people show up at exactly the wrong time? Is it an innate sixth sense? Are they trained that way? Whatever the reason, it threw my whole plan WAY off. The icing was made, but the cupcakes weren’t completely cool yet. And I felt way too silly taking 100 pictures of it once it was done with 2 guys standing there watching me anyway, especially with my jerry-rigged lighting and backdrop system. (Yes. That’s a desk lamp and a cereal box...) Guess I’ll be taking pictures after I get home from work. But at least I’ll finally have air conditioning, so I guess I can forgive it this time.

I walk in the door after work, and I’m immediately met with a blast of hot stuffy air. That means still no AC. Fan-tastic. I sat down at the kitchen table, right next to my cooling rack, with a snack and my laptop to check my email and relax a little before getting to my bad pictures. The cat, so excited that Mommy was home, kept trying to jump up on the table with me. I kept knocking him back down, but he was so determined to stay that he hooked his claws into anything he could find—which happened to be my cooling rack. As I pushed him off, he took the rack with him, cupcakes and all. Every single cupcake landed on the floor, face down. There was no salvaging any of them—not even a single one to take a picture of because they were all covered in dirt and cat hair. It was a wonderful end to a great day… I ended up having to cut the top inch of one cupcake off to taste to even see if it was worth making another batch. Sadly, it wasn’t. It wasn’t that great. Maybe the actual Pink Lemonade Cupcake tastes alright, but my variation—not so good. I decided to forgo the “lemonade” part of the idea using a can of lemonade concentrate, and make a Raspberry Lemon Yogurt Cupcake instead.

It took a few days to get around to making the next batch, but this time everything went smoothly. No drama! Taste-wise, the second batch was much better, but still not fantastic. The cupcakes were a little gummy and the icing was a little grainy. I’m not sure if the gumminess was because I didn’t bake it long enough, or a problem with the recipe itself, but the icing was my original batch, so it was a few days old at that point, so I understood the problem there. The flavor itself was alright. Not terrible like the first batch, but not completely mind-blowing either. It’s a poor substitute for a cool, refreshing glass of delicious Raspberry Lemonade. (And it took me almost a week to have time on a sunny day to take pictures.. So that pretty cupcake up there? Went straight into the trash after I was done with the shots. No way was I eating a week old cupcake with a week and a half old icing.)

With all the trouble I had with these cupcakes, I’m going to give the idea another chance before I write it off completely. Maybe it was just bad luck rather than bad recipes that caused so much drama. Or maybe the Baking Gods just had it out for me. But on a positive note, the cat and I have made up. Cause really? Who could stay mad at this guy?

As always, I'll let you know the info when the voting begins, so make sure you come back to find out! And stay tuned--this challenge isn't over. I'm submitting TWO entries this month!! Meanwhile, check out the awesome goodies I could score.

Our June ETSY PRIZE-PACK is from artists:

* A sweet cupcake ID bracelet by INSANEJELLYFISH, http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5021935
* A groovy linocut piece from BLOCKHEAD PRESS http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6108705
* a sweet surprise from Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Cupcakery, http://www.acupcakery.com/
* PLUS, IronCupcake:Earth can not forget our good friend, CAKESPY, http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5243382, who is now going to be doing a piece for our winner each month until further notice - sweet!

Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS, http://www.fiestaproducts.com, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, http://blog.hellocupcakebook.com, JESSIE STEELE APRONS http://www.jessiesteele.com; TASTE OF HOME books, http://www.tasteofhome.com; a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM http://www.upwithcupcakes.com/. Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, http://www.1800flowers.com .

Raspberry Lemonade CupcakesRaspberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Adapted from Lemon Yogurt Cupcakes in 125 Best Cupcake Recipes by Julie Hasson
Makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used vanilla flavored)
2 tsp grated lemon zest
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon oil or lemon extract1/4 cup raspberry puree

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, butter, and egg until smooth. Add yogurt, lemon zest and juice, and lemon extract, beating until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating just until smooth.
Scoop 1 tablespoon or so of batter into each prepared cupcake liner. Drop about a teaspoon of raspberry puree onto batter in each liner. Add another tablespoon or so of batter on top of raspberry puree, filling cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Top with additional teaspoon of raspberry puree, and swirl batter with a toothpick to make a decorative pattern in batter. Bake in preheated oven for 22 to 25 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on rack. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting.

Raspberry Lemonade Buttercream
Makes about 2 cups (16-20 cupcakes)

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp raspberry puree
1 tbsp lemonade concentrate, thawed
½ tsp raspberry extract
Pinch of salt

1. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together confectioners’ sugar, butter, raspberry puree, lemonade concentrate, raspberry extract, and salt until smooth.
2. Spread frosting over cooled cupcakes and set aside at room temperature until ready to serve or for up to 8 hours.
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How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Awwww kitty!!!!?!?!

Ingrid said...

Kudos for keep trying. I on the other hand would have thrown in the towel.

Question? Have you ever had a problem with your cupcakes coming out perfect looking (nary a crumb on the tooth pick slight bounce back when touched)and then shrinking after they've coooled? Yeah, mine did that recently any ideas?

Vanessa Contessa said...

YUMMY!! You got my vote for sure on both of your entries! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I am wondering why you needed to go back to the store for buttermilk? I can't find it on the list of ingredients for these cupcakes. Am I missing something?

Danae - The Busty Baker said...

Anon- The buttermilk was for the first attempt at the recipe that ended up on the floor. The recipe listed is for the 2nd try.

Autumn Moses said...

This was my first attempt at making cake batter from scratch and I blew it by a long shot! They came out hard and biscuit like. YUCK! I need more practice!

Anonymous said...

I wanted to bake this as a cake... is this possible?

Danae - The Busty Baker said...

Anon- It might be possible, but honestly, I wasn't 100% thrilled with the flavor of the cupcakes. So I'm not sure how it would turn out! I'm working on testing another version of the recipe (hopefully to better success than either of these attempts!), but for now, I'd probably say, stick with the idea, but maybe look for a different recipe, because this version isn't quite up to par.

Vixen said...

I made these for my daughter's birthday party, but adapted them a little and I really liked them!! I linked this up on my blog today. Come check it out: http://vixenmade.blogspot.com/2011/08/raspberry-lemonade-cupcakes.html

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