The combination of the light, moist, lemon cupcake with a not-too-sweet strawberry cream cheese frosting is amazing. In fact, one of my sisters said it was the best cupcake she'd ever eaten! I'll put that compliment in the books. ;) The cupcakes themselves are very tender, yet they hold up nicely freezing and traveling; the lemon flavor is just the right amount - it doesn't slam your taste buds as soon as you bite into it, but as you chew, the flavor develops in your mouth. And strawberry cream cheese frosting? Enough said.
*On a super-exciting note for me, this cupcake recipe would also make a phenomenal yellow cake. From scratch. I've been searching for years to find one that's moist and flavorful. All the ones I've tried are either too dry, not flavorful, or both of those things. With the few changes I made to the original recipe, this is it! Just make sure you substitute vanilla extract for the lemon and leave out the lemon zest if you just want a yellow cake. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Lemon Cupcakes (adapted from Betty Crocker's Starlight Yellow Cake)
2 1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 1/4 c. milk
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon flavoring
zest of one lemon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans with liners (should get between 24-28).
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat all ingredients on low speed 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl. Beat on med./high speed an additional 3 minutes.
3. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full, and bake approximately 18-22 minutes, or until cupcakes are light golden brown on top and spring back went gently pressed with your fingers.
4. Allow cupcakes to cool for a few minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely before frosting.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor)
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. butter, softened
4 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. mashed, drained strawberries
1/2 tsp. strawberry extract
1. Beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed 1 minute.
2. Add powdered sugar, extract, and strawberries and mix on low 1 minute until combined. Scrape down bowl, and beat again on med./high speed 1 minute more. Add additional powdered sugar to thicken it if needed, or milk, 1 tsp. at a time if you want it a little thinner consistency.
Hugs and cookies,