Food Sugar and Spice

Overachiever Cupcakes

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Hi.  I’m Anna.  I’m an overachiever.  (This is your cue to say “Hi Anna.”)

I spell check the grocery list, coordinate Christmas wrapping paper and own my favorite sweater in 6 colors.  Thank goodness my friends and family understand.

I also love improving recipes.  Good things get better when you modify and add sprinkles.

This week’s project: play with the Columbian’s Fruit Punch Cupcakes.  Adding lemon curd took the white chocolate citrus base from sweetly spring to sophisticated deliciousness.

I thought “lemon curd” referred to curdled lemons.  Turns out lemon curd is the squishy lemony stuff found in doughnuts or cake.  You can make it in advance or cheat with a can. It lasts over a month sealed in the fridge. Lemon curd is fantastic with EVERYTHING- graham crackers, ice cream, muffins, fresh fruit, waffles, whipped with heavy cream for mousse or snitched straight out of the jar. Warning: If you make this, you will have curd snitchers at your house.

Indulge your inner overachiever and give them a try!

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Overachiever Cupcakes:

Lemon Curd Filling:

Makes almost 2 cups.  Can be done ahead of time or bought premade.

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ½ C freshly squeezed & strained lemon juice (no bottled stuff allowed.. about 4 lemons)
  • Grated zest from 2 lemons
  • 6 tablespoons butter

In a plastic bowl, beat eggs, yolks and sugar with a whisk.  Ignore while you zest and juice lemons, stirring periodically.  When sugar and eggs join, add zest and lemon juice.

Pour into sauce pan.  Heat medium low and swirl with spatula or whisk.  Supervise closely; the mixture in contact with the bottom of the pan can cook fast.  In approximately 5-8 mins (depending on how hot your burners are), the mixture thickens and can coat a spoon.  Continue stirring for 3-5 minutes over heat.  Lemon curd will be thick like pudding.

Remove from heat, add butter.  Stir until butter incorporate.  Pour into heatproof storage container with lid.  Apply plastic wrap directly to lemon curd.  Plastic wrap prevents the curd from forming a crust.  Chill in refrigerator for 2 or more hours.

White Chocolate Citrus Cupcakes:

Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of 2 lemons (about 2 limes)
  • Zest of 2 limes (1-2 lemons depending on size)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups white flour, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Generous ½ cup white chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake papers.

In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla, and zests until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating between each addition.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix half of the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture, then half of the heavy cream.  Repeat.

Carefully melt white chocolate in heat proof container.  Microwaves are fantastic but can burn.  I like to microwave 20 seconds, stir and repeat.  Tedious but ensures I don’t ruin the chocolate.  Add white chocolate to bowl.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin cups, filling ¾ full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.  Stay close, they burn easily.  Cool slightly and transfer to rack.

When the cupcakes are cool, use a cupcake punch or a sharp knife to make holes.  Dump curd into a freezer quart bag and cut off a corner.  Use the bag to disperse the curd into the cupcake holes.

Bonus activity:  Eat the cupcake holes with leftover lemon curd.  Sharing optional.  YUM.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting:

Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam (can swap strawberry)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Small pinch salt
  • Fruit and sprinkles for garnish

Use large bowl and electric mixer to combine cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add raspberry jam.  Combine.  Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.  (If you do 2 cups at once, you get a sugary snowstorm on your counter.  Fair warning).  Spread or pipe the frosting onto filled cupcakes.  Decorate with fruit and sprinkles.  Keep in refrigerator until serving.

Congratulations, you’re an overachiever!

Thank you Lynne Samson for the Lemon Curd recipe a few years ago @ the Columbian.

Thank you Alison Ladman for the amazing Fruit Punch Cupcakes recipe (4/3/13) @ the Columbian.

Anna Lookingbill

Anna Lookingbill

I'm a self-taught Betty Crocker. Food should be pretty, delicious and have sprinkles. Professionally I'm a clinical social worker. Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest- Sugar and Spice Baking Blog- for great recipes, amazing restaurants and culinary adventures.

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