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I think I might be a bit of a weirdo when it comes to spring and summer fruits…
Nine times out of ten, I’d prefer to eat fruit raw. As close to off the vine / bush / tree as possible. I want that unadulterated naturally sweet goodness because most fruit is so perfect as it is.
That’s actually why I don’t bake with fruit too often. I just want to eat it up and there’s never enough left to make it into a recipe! However, I had an absolute surplus of blueberries recently that I couldn’t possibly consume before they went bad so I just had to bake them up into something delish.
I was recently reminded of just how delightful the lemon & blueberry flavor combination is so I decided to see if I could create a near-perfect recipe for Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes. I’m SO excited with what I was able to come up with.
I’ve tried this recipe with both regular milk and buttercream, and the buttercream really does make a difference. It’s worth making the trip to the store! You can learn more about the magic of buttermilk here.
I’ve also used a small amount of brown sugar in addition to the standard granulated sugar and an extra egg yolk. These tweaks ensure the cupcakes are as moist and flavorful as possible, while being tender yet sturdy enough to handle a generous amount of buttercream frosting.
For the gourmet swirled frosting, I simply made one batch of buttercream and added fresh blueberry puree to one half. So easy, but so impressive! I used the Ateco #846 which is a large closed star piping tip.
Be sure to check out my full video tutorial on how to achieve beautiful swirled cupcake frosting here. And if you have any questions about perfecting, customizing, serving, or storing your buttercream, check out this free guide:
For the cupcakes::
- 1 3/4 cups (222 grams) all-purpose flour, measured correctly
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg plus one egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- 3/4 cup (115 grams) fresh or frozen blueberries
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
For the buttercream::
- 3/4 cup (115 grams) fresh or frozen blueberries (thawed if frozen)
- 3 cups (306 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 sticks (227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy or whipping cream
- Lemon zest, for garnish
Make the cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two standard muffin tins with 15 paper liners.
- In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to beat the butter and sugars until fluffy and very well combined, about 3 minutes. On medium-low speed add the egg and yolk and beat until combined. Combine the buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add in the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture in alternating batches, starting and ending with the flour, mixing until just combined.
- In a small bowl toss the blueberries with the 2 tablespoons of flour. Add into the batter and fold with a spatula until combined. Be very careful not to overmix, that will create dense and gummy cupcakes.
- Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the buttercream:
- Using a blender, immersion blender or food processor, puree the blueberries. Pass the pureed blueberries through a fine mesh strainer and into a medium bowl to remove the skins. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the salt and vanilla and beat on medium for 1 minute.
- Remove half of the buttercream to the bowl and add the blueberry puree gradually until the buttercream is well colored and flavored but not too thin. If the buttercream does get too thin, add more powdered sugar to thicken. If desired, add a few drops of purple food coloring to enhance the blueberry color.
- To the plain buttercream, add the cream and beat until well combined.
- In a large piping bag fitted with a decorative tip (such as the Ateco #846), use a spoon to scoop the plain frosting into one section of the bag, using your finger on the outside of the bag to help scrape it off. Repeat with the blueberry frosting. Ensure you’re aligning the frosting so it starts at the same place in the bag. Don’t worry if the colors touch each other.
- Squeeze the bag to slightly blur the colors together for a watercolor type effect. Twist the bag and squeeze out a test pipe to ensure the colors are coming out evenly before piping onto your cupcakes. Garnish frosted cupcakes with lemon zest.
- Serve or store at room temperature for up to 1 day, or in the fridge for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.