I’m sorry for the late post everyone! I know St. Patrick’s Day was last week, but I didn’t have a chance to publish this post until now.
When there’s a holiday, you can always bet that someone in my office brings in sweets. Just a few weeks ago, on Fat Tuesday, a co-worker brought in a home-made King Cake and an array of colorful beads to celebrate Mardi Gras with everyone. That added a lot of fun and excitement to what otherwise would have been just another dull Tuesday at the office for many of us.
So I got to thinking and realized that it had been awhile since I last brought in a home-made treat to share with my friends and co-workers. I’m not much of a baker really. I haven’t got the patience for it to be perfectly honest. Large cakes and pies have never been my thing, but over the past year or so, I’ve taken a liking to baking cupcakes. I find that they’re really easy to bake and decorate and they don’t require the commitment that cakes and pies do.
To start, I decided to use a very simple white cake recipe with a reduced fat whipped cream cheese frosting. I cut the sugar a bit from the original recipes and they turned out delicious. On a side note, just about every person who ate one said some variation of “I love that these aren’t too sweet!”, which is what I was going for. I also added green food coloring to the cake batter to add to the St. Patrick’s Day Holiday and filled them in shamrock cupcake liners that I picked up from a party store. I didn’t add food coloring to the frosting because I didn’t want to walk around all day with green lips and thought others might appreciate not having a green mouth as well. To literally top it off, I also added shamrock sprinkles to every other cupcake, which aren’t shown here.
This recipe is so simple and versatile because it can be used for any holiday or just anytime you feel like eating a cupcake. Add your desired food color and sprinkles and voilà, you have an instant party smash! Or you can leave them plain and they will taste just as good. If your curious, I encourage you to try this recipe for yourself and let me know how your batch of cupcakes turn out.
1/2 cup unsalted butter – room temperature
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
2 (8-ounce) packages 1/3 fat cream cheese – room temperature
1/2 cup butter – room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-4 drops of food color
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
In the bowl beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy with a hand mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and milk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 17 – 20 minutes or just until set and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. If you over bake, the cupcakes will be dry. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
In a separate bowl beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add butter and beat to blend. Add sugar, whipping cream and vanilla extract and beat until well blended.
Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, pipe on each cupcake top with frosting.
Cupcakes are best eaten the same day they are made, but they can be covered and refrigerated for a few days.