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Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

It’s SPRING and I’ve got the FEVER!  Fresh fruit is everywhere and I am buying a lot of it! I had about a flat of strawberries and these beautiful lemons in my kitchen and an itch to come up with a new recipe. So, I created a lemon infused cupcake baked with strawberries and topped with lemon buttercream and fresh strawberry.  A JavaCupcake Original Recipe!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and the people who have tried this little yummy!

Makes approx 3 dozen (36) cupcakes.

Cupcakes:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
Zest of one lemon

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp salt

4 large eggs, room temperature

2 tsp vanilla
¾ cup milk
The juice of ½ a lemon

4 cups strawberries, roughly chopped + 1 cup sugar + 2 tbsp butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line cupcake pans with 30 liners.

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter.  Add the strawberries and coat with melted butter.  Stir in sugar and cook on medium heat for 3-5 minutes until strawberries begin to reduce and a thick strawberry sauce is made.  Divide in half and then set aside to cool.

Prepare the sugar by working the lemon zest into sugar by pressing the back of a spatula down into sugar, thus releasing the oils from the zest into the sugar.  This process should take about five minutes, and the sugar will become very fragrant.

Cream the butter for 2-3 minutes using electric mixer and the paddle attachment.  Add the sugar to the butter mixture and continue creaming until fluffy.

While butter/sugar are creaming, in another bowl sift together flour, salt and baking powder and set aside. Sift at least twice to ensure all ingredients are combined.

Add eggs one at a time to butter and sugar, mixing thoroughly after each egg.

In a measuring cup that pours, mix together the milk, lemon juice and vanilla.

SLOWLY alternate adding the flour and milk mixture to the butter/sugar.  Begin and end with the flour and make sure to mix very well after each addition.

Scrape sides of the bowl and fold in ½ the strawberries.  Do not over mix.

Fill liners 1/2 full with batter.

Bake for 13 minutes and rotate pan 180 degrees in oven. Bake another 3-6 minutes.

Cool in pans for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to completely cool.

Buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 lbs (approx 8 cups) powdered sugar
1/4 -1/2  cup milk
Zest of ½ a lemon
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 tbsp light corn syrup

Directions:
In an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter.

One cup at a time, add the powdered sugar.  Between each cup, add a splash of milk.   Mix until smooth & scrape down the sides after each addition

Before the last cup of sugar, add the zest and juice of the lemon.  Mix until smooth.

Add the corn syrup.

Add any remaining milk until you get the texture and consistency you want.

Mix on high for 4-5 minutes.

Remove ½ the buttercream and set aside.  Add 5-7 drops of yellow food coloring to the remaining frosting and mix until it’s the color you want.

To Assemble:
Strain the second half of the strawberries, reserving the juice for later.

Spoon a small dollop of strawberry on top of each cupcake.  (NOTE:  My cupcakes sunk in the middle because I DIDN’T use ROOM TEMPERATURE butter!!! Eeeek)

Put half yellow/half white frosting into a pastry bag with a star tip and frost the cupcakes.

Drizzle cupcakes with reserved strawberry juice.

Top with a fresh, clean strawberry.

Take pretty pictures of your cupcakes!

Guest Blogger: Army Wifey Debbie shares a tutorial for Froggie Cupcakes
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