Vanilla Cupcakes with Blueberry Filling and Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

A new roommate moved in.  He’s super skinny – according to his own weight estimate and the online BMI calculators, his BMI is something like 17.  I’m finding myself unlocking what an old friend used to call “[my] jewish mother complex” – that is, I can’t stop feeding him.  He’s been here a week and I’ve made three loaves of bread, pizza, and now cupcakes.  I probably need to calm down.

Anyway, these cupcakes were his idea (I asked him to describe his dream cupcakes and riffed off of that), and are in honor of the fact that his parents are coming tomorrow to drop off some more of his stuff and I’m mildly afraid they’ll take him away if everything’s not perfect.  I figure I’ll bribe them with cupcakes so that I can keep him.  I need a roommate, badly.

They’re pretty unassuming looking (this is what happens when you inexpertly frost things with a butter knife).

cupcakes

From this, you mostly would assume they’re simple vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting.  You’d almost be right.

This was the base cupcake recipe.  I used the standard trick of making buttermilk by combining acid and milk – whole milk and lemon juice, in this case.  In general, the recipe was easy and easy to follow, although I’m not the hugest fan of oil cake (I think they taste like oil, and I can always tell).  I always use Trader Joe’s bourbon vanilla paste in place of vanilla extract, and in this case the ground vanilla bean gave the cakes a pleasant freckled quality.

This was the base frosting recipe.  I’m just bad at frosting – too impatient.  In this case, I put the bowl with the butter and cream cheese in the only-slightly-warm-I-swear oven to soften a bit, and when I went back to it the butter was starting to melt, which meant that getting the frosting to the right texture was next to impossible and required way too much beating.  Again, I used the vanilla paste and am pretty pleased with the flecks of vanilla here, too.  I added a generous amount of lemon zest and a splash of lemon juice when I could hardly taste the zest (I’m impatient, what can I say), which contributed both to visual texture and flavor.

I added shiny sugar to the top just to make them prettier.

However, when you bite into them, they are actually really cute.

cupcake

You can see the blueberry!  Yay!

I used this recipe for blueberry filling and was surprised at how ridiculously easy it was.  I always freak out a little when putting things in a pot on the stovetop when they aren’t quite covered by liquid – in this case, I was convinced that was a recipe for getting burnt bits of blueberry skin stuck to the bottom of the pot.  However, I took a leap of faith and assumed (somewhat correctly) that it was like cranberry sauce and everything would be okay.  And things were okay!  The sugar and the heat resulted in the blueberries forming more and more liquid and before long it really was a blueberry compote, instead of burnt and dried out blueberries, as I’d feared.

To fill the cupcakes I cut cone shapes out of the cooled cake, spooned in filling, and then cut the top off of the cone and patted it down over the filling – standard cupcake filling procedure.

Now that I write this post, I realize nearly identical cupcake recipes/concepts are all over the place:

Ah, well.  This was a fun project and kept me busy for a while.  The only question is what do I do with the remaining frosting?  I don’t think the correct answer is “eat it with a spoon”.

frosting