blueberry-lemon stuffed cupcakes • no story here

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Hello? Anybody there?…

Well if you are, I have very good news.

Remember the last entry I wrote? It was the first entry of sweet-lab…the one where I blabbed about the stupendous ratio for quick cakes. The ratio was 2:2:1:1: (2-flour, 2-liquid, 1-egg, 1-butter). Let me take just a second to remind you that I took that quick cake ratio to create a Chocolate-Vanilla Ice-cream Sandwich  recipe.

Well anyways, guess what? That same ratio that is used to make quick cakes and quick breads is the same ratio that is used to make muffins and/or cup cakes. If you think about it, the texture and consistency of a quick cake, a cupcake, and muffin are very close — a cupcake  does seem a little less dense and sweeter than a muffin, but you get the point. A cupcake is also frosted, whereas a muffin isn’t and many recipes use shortening instead of butter. To view more differences and similarities among the two please view this foodie blog I have stumbled upon, but please do come back!

BUT how cool is that? How cool is it that we can take one ratio and come up with two completely different sweet creations?!

I simply used the 2:2:1:1 ratio, thought of the star ingredients for this recipe, and came up with delicious blueberry-lemon cupcakes.  Last week I took the same ratio and modified the ingredients to create something chocolaty. So far we have one ratio, two recipes, and the list of yummy creations could keep going on and on. Before I tell you all about this recipe, let me take a quick pause to ….

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Alright, I’ve been keeping up with some food blogs for sometime and there seems to be a trend…a certain formula that many bloggers seem to follow when submitting entries. This formula may already be very evident and familiar to you. The recipe that is presented is most likely accompanied by a story or a quick personal anecdote… an anecdote that just so happens to make the connection between the recipe that is presented and the story appear to be – oh so natural.

If you haven’t noticed this trend in blogs, perhaps you have noticed it in some of the cooking shows in the Food Network. That theme is the key that pushes the show forward and ties everything together at the end. Do you see it now? Okay good. If you don’t see it, you will after watching just one episode of the Italian woman who sounds so American even when she exaggeratedly pronounces panceta and mozzarella with an Italian accent..

Well, I don’t have one of those today. I think that the personal story is a pretty amusing element to include in food blogs, since it gives a personal touch to each recipe that is being showcased. However, I’m telling you that I won’t always be including a personal anecdote about my happy childhood in Spain in which I spent eating magdalenas for merienda time or about my awkward teenage years which I spent listening to the Backstreet Boys while munching on chocolate, which only made my breaking out episodes worse. Sometimes I like to be less sentimental about things. Sometimes I like to experiment and create new recipes solely for the reason that I want to create something new or because an idea popped into my head–without any story or connection being arranged simultaneously. I hope that is alright with you 🙂

For example, I won’t go through the trouble of trying to tie a recipe to a personal story that explains why I inevitably had to try to recreate a lemon pound cake on June 17th of this summer (the last day of school) because my grandmother would always bake me such cake at the very beginning of my summer vacation. That would seem lovely and all, but it would also be false. So let’s keep it real shall we?

On the other hand and to contradict everything I have previously mentioned, I’m sure that there will always be a story of some sort, as the entire process and elaboration of creating a recipe can be quite a story in itself. So once upon a time…

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Research Question: Will these cupcakes bring out a fine balance between the two flavors (blueberry and lemon) while both making a strong stance?

Hypothesis:

– the maple syrup and the blueberry jam will add extra sweetness to the cupcakes, which will battle against the sourness of the lemon zest, lemon juice, and blueberries.

– using cake flour will make for a lighter cupcake that resembles…well, cake! A cupcake is basically like a little piece of cake after all.

– the combination of the lemon zest and the lemon juice that is found in the batter will yield an extra lemony and citrusy cupcake. The lemon zest that is found in the frosting will also contribute to that citrusy flavor.

Materials/Ingredients:

scale

8 oz cake flour

4 oz sugar (2 oz white sugar, 2 oz light brown sugar)

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons of baking powder

8 oz of liquid (6 oz of buttermilk, 2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice)

4 oz eggs (2 large eggs)

4 oz vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 ½ Tablespoons of lemon zest

About ½ cup of wild blueberries

1 jar of wild blueberry preserves or marmalade for filling

Materials/Ingredients for Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 oz softened cream cheese

4 oz mascarpone cheese

8 oz or 1 cup of powder sugar

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 tablespoon of lemon zest

**Yield: 10 cupcakes**

Procedure/Recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 10 cupcake tins with paper liners.

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Sift the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder together into a bowl.  In a different large bowl, combine the buttermilk, lemon juice, eggs, melted butter, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and lemon zest. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Gently fold in the wild blueberries to the wet batter and scoop into greased paper liners.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick has been inserted and comes out clean. Remove to a rack and allow to cool completely.

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Meanwhile, whisk the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, powder sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon zest to make the frosting.

When cupcakes are cool core the center of each cupcake using a cupcake corer and fill each hole with blueberry jam or lemon-cream cheese frosting. Your choice! You can simply frost the cupcake using a spatula or get fancier with icing bags, tips, and more.

Enjoy!

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Observations: The 3 hypotheses for this experiment were proven and confirmed. These cupcakes taste citrusy, lemony, fresh, and sweet. The blueberry and the lemon flavors don’t compete with one another, but rather work together to make a powerful and well-balanced cupcake. The sweetness of the sugar and the maple syrup cancel out the sourness of the fruit completely, and the refreshing characteristics of the lemon zest and lemon juice lingers in your mouth. The frosting is very smooth and makes a nice accompaniment to the cupcake itself.

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Results/Conclusion: Nothing much else to say, except that I really enjoyed these blueberry-lemon stuffed cupcakes and I hope you do as well!

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