Desserts, Sweet Snacks

Blueberry Vanilla Birthday Cupcakes
and Key Lime Margarita Cupcakes

I was asked to bring a few desserts to a birthday party, so sticking on the summer theme, I made two very festive kinds: Blueberry Vanilla and Key Lime “Margarita” Cupcakes. I’m adding both recipes to one post, because I served them (and in a rush, remembered to photograph them!) on one platter/tray. Each are different and unique, but still delicious (I think the blueberry ones were more popular!)

Blueberry Vanilla Birthday Cupcakes

for the Cupcakes
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons table salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but slightly cool, cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs
3/4 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

for the frosting
1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 to 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin pan with paper baking cups and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar on low speed. Add the butter, 1 piece at a time, and combine until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the eggs, 1 at time, and mix until fully combined. Add the milk and the vanilla extract, increase the speed to medium, and mix until the batter is light, fluffy and free of lumps.

Fill the lined muffin cups three-quarters full, being careful not to overfill. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean, about 12-15 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make your frosting: Place the blueberries and the sugar in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Macerate and let the blueberries become soft and the sugar completely melt. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Return to the sauce pan and add corn starch slurry and bring to a boil until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and the blueberry mixture; it will be very blue! Add the sugar a bit at a time and beat until smooth.

To assemble: Frost liberally with the blueberry frosting. and decorate as desired (I used sugar royal icing flowers, but sprinkle or even a few fresh blueberries work great as well). Keep refrigerated until almost ready to serve.

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Key Lime Margarita Cupcakes (Lime Cupcakes with Tequila Lime Frosting and a Hint of Salt)

For the Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Zest and juice of 6 key limes (the little tiny ones), about 4 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon lime extract
1/2 cup buttermilk

To Brush the Cupcakes
1 to 2 tablespoons tequila

For the Tequila-Lime Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoon key lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila
Pinch of coarse salt

Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime zest, lime juice, and lime extract. Mix until combined. (The mixture may start to look curdled at this point, but don’t worry, it will all come back together) Reduce the mixer speed low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated, using a rubber spatula to give it one last mix by hand.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until just slightly golden and a toothpick shows only moist crumbs attached.

Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack. Brush the tops of the cupcakes with the 1 to 2 tablespoons of tequila. Set the cupcakes aside to cool completely before frosting them.

To make the frosting, whip the butter on medium-high speed of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment for 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, and gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated. Give it a mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add the key lime juice, tequila and salt mix on medium-high speed until incorporated and fluffy. If the frosting appears a bit too soft, add some additional sugar, one spoonful at a time until desired consistency is reached. Frost cupcakes and garnish.

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