fresh berry cupcakes

We’ve reached the most wonderful time of the year, when baskets overflow with fresh berries at farm stands and markets across the country. These cupcakes celebrate sweet blueberries and strawberries, and make a festive option for 4th of July (the adorable themed cupcake kit is from Meri Meri). I’ve elevated the classic vanilla cupcake with a spoonful of lemon zest and tucked a few blueberries or strawberry slices between layers of batter for a scrumptious fruity center.

As for the frosting, fresh berry puree lends flavor and a hint of color while a dollop of cream cheese and a bit more lemon zest adds balance. Simultaneously sweet, tangy, and lemony, these cupcakes hit all the right notes. For more berrylicious 4th of July desserts, try my berry-balsamic cobbler or fresh berry phyllo tarts.

Fresh Berry Cupcakes
Cupcakes adapted from Cooking Light
2 cups cake flour*
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup blueberries
2/3 cup sliced strawberries

Blueberry Frosting
1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ounce reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp lemon zest
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Strawberry Frosting
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ounce reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp lemon zest
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F and line two 12-cup standard muffin pans with baking cups; coat lightly with nonstick spray. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in a large mixer bowl at medium speed until fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, and beat until combined; beat in vanilla and lemon zest. Reduce speed to low and add half of flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat just until combined. Add buttermilk; finish with remaining flour mixture.

Using an electric hand mixer with clean and dry beaters, beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean bowl at high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula, carefully fold egg whites into the cake batter in 2 additions. Divide half the batter evenly between cups. Place 2 or 3 blueberries in 12 baking cups; add 1 or 2 strawberry slices to remaining 12 cups. Spoon remaining batter evenly into cups and bake for 20 minutes, until cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 2 minutes in pans on a wire rack, then carefully remove from pans and place them on the wire rack to cool completely.

For the blueberry frosting, place berries in a food processor and puree; strain into a small bowl and discard solids. Beat butter, cream cheese, and lemon zest in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add 2 tablespoons blueberry puree; reduce speed to low and gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth and creamy. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before using an offset spatula to frost blueberry cupcakes. Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator up to 2 days.

For the strawberry frosting, place berries in a food processor and puree; strain into a small bowl and discard solids. Beat butter, cream cheese, and lemon zest in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add 2 tablespoons strawberry puree; reduce speed to low and gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth and creamy. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before using an offset spatula to frost strawberry cupcakes. Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator up to 2 days.

*Make your own cake flour: place 2 tablespoons cornstarch in an empty 1-cup measure, then top up with flour. Sift the mixture several times to evenly distribute the cornstarch.

Yield – 24 cupcakes (serving size: 1 cupcake)
Calories – 195
Carbs – 27

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Comments

  1. says

    These cupcakes sound delicious, Laura. I am such a huge fan of all berries and I can’t get enough of them in the summer months. I love how you incorporated them into the frosting, and the cupcake kit accessories are adorable. Hope you have a great 4th of July!

  2. says

    Your cupcakes are adorable! I love the simplicity of the frosting, and the fact that you included two different kinds. They’re perfect for the 4th of July (without going overboard)! 😀

  3. says

    These berry-licious cupcakes are sweet! I like that you’ve used real blueberries and strawberries in the frosting-that’s a wonderful idea;-)
    I hope you have a great 4th of july and plenty of berry treats come your way over the holiday;-)

  4. says

    You know how much I love blueberries and anything berries actually! These cupcakes are decorated so patriotically and I love how they look! Very very cute cupcakes and I fell in love with liners and those little flags (?) and strings!

  5. says

    Beautiful little cupcakes Laura – love the look of all those lovely berries. Speaking of which – I’m going to be picking up some strawberries soon for my jam making! Can’t wait :)

  6. says

    A perfect dessert for the holiday, seasonal and easy to transport to a celebration event. I very much like the idea of both blueberries and strawberries, except how would I choose! Dessert dilemmas are soooo much fun! Have a great holiday!

  7. says

    Delicious looking cupcakes and I love that you have added berries to the frosting, natural food colouring with real flavour!

  8. says

    Laura, I bet these cupcake taste so good. Great idea to put the fruit inside, and the frosting berry too, yum! I can’t get enough berries, I never tire of them :)

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