It was my lovely coworker's birthday yesterday and since I consider edible gifts to be the best kind there is, I decided to make her some cupcakes. As a sidebar, I just want to point out how eeeevil sites like Tastespotting are--pages upon pages of delicious looking foods...so that you start off looking for a chocolate cupcake recipe and the next thing you know, you're making a shopping list that includes a leg of lamb, cucumbers, candied shiso, and couscous. So much food, so little time.
Anyway! Before I get too distracted again, after considering the approximately 8trillion chocolate cupcake recipes that I have, I suddenly decided I wasn't in the mood for chocolate. And yes, I know, these weren't for me, but I felt like something fruity would be more seasonally appropriate. Okay, and I figured I would get to eat any misshapen or ugly ones.
These are actually quite simple to make--the cake has a nice quantity of zest in it and then a lemon syrup is poured over the top. It's pretty tasty on its own, but I didn't think it was festive enough, so I whipped up a quick cream cheese based frosting and folded in some crushed raspberries. Yay, pink! The problem I always have with frosting is that by the time you add up enough confectioner's sugar to get the right, pipeable consistency, the frosting is way too sweet for my tastes. Hence, the runny frosting. Fortunately, what they lack in beauty, they make up for in tart deliciousness.
I won't print the recipe for the lemon syrup cake since I just used this one from Williams Sonoma; just bake it as 12 cupcakes instead of in a loaf pan. It's best to put the lemon syrup on while they're still warm because it seems to soak up better. Once they have cooled completely, proceed with the frosting, plop on a raspberry, and enjoy!
Raspberry cream cheese icing
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
2 C confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 C raspberries
Mash the raspberries thoroughly with a fork and set aside. Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and well combined. Add the lemon juice and 1 cup of the confectioner's sugar and beat. Gradually add the remaining cup of sugar until you have achieved whatever stiffness you want--if you want something you can pipe, you will actually probably need close to 3 cups total. I stopped at 2. Stir the mashed raspberries in and marvel at the beautiful pink you have now produced. Makes enough frosting for about 20 cupcakes.