My inspiration for a 4th of July recipe came while looking through this month’s Food Network magazine. I saw cupcakes decorated with white & red frosting, and immediately felt up to the challenge. I thought the ‘blue’ portion of my cupcakes could be blueberries – and what goes better with blueberries than lemon? The idea for my ‘red, white, & lemon blueberry’ cupcakes was born!
While I don’t typically reach for lemon baked goods before chocolate, I have to say this recipe has become one of my favorites. They are extremely moist with the addition of buttermilk and Greek yogurt, plus the lemon zest and juice gives them a refreshing burst of tart, yet sweet flavor.
I’d seen multi-colored frostings on Pinterest before & was worried I was setting myself up for failure, but it ended up working out! I had to work slowly and carefully to make sure the colors didn’t blend together. Patience in the kitchen can be particularly difficult for me, but I was motivated to get that perfectly patriotic white & red frosting combination.
- Coat the blueberries in flour. This recipe calls for an extra tablespoon of all purpose flour to coat the blueberries with before adding them to the batter. This will prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of each cupcake, and will give you an even distribution of ‘blue’ in your red, white, and lemon blueberry cupcakes.
- Automatic cookie scoop. I use a medium automatic cookie scoop to place the cupcake batter into the pan before baking. This makes it easier to distribute the batter, plus each cupcake will be the same size. With the medium-sized scoop, each cupcake gets about 1 1/2 scoops of batter.
- The red and white frosting is optional. If you are anxious about a multi-colored frosting, feel free to skip the red food coloring step, and decorate the cupcakes with the white frosting. These cupcakes are so delicious, you won’t miss the patriotic frosting.
- For the Cupcakes -
- 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (see Notes), plus 1 tablespoon to coat the blueberries
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 extra large egg, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 generous tablespoons plain Greek yogurt, room temperature
- 2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed
- For the Whipped Frosting -
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- Red food coloring (optional for decoration)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with liners of your choice - I used white so the blue from the blueberries would show through. Spray with non-stick spray & set aside.
- In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour until coated. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda & salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the egg, sugar & yogurt until totally combined. With the mixer on medium-low, add the buttermilk, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla until totally combined.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix the batter or you'll end up with dense cupcakes.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour coated blueberries into the batter until evenly distributed.
- Using an automatic cookie scoop, fill the prepared baking sheet 3/4 full, per cupcake. Bake 15-18 minutes. You'll know the cupcakes are done once they pass the toothpick test. Let cool completely before frosting. (This recipe makes about 18 cupcakes so, if you're using a 12-cupcake pan, you'll need to repeat this step.)
- While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment (see Notes). Add the cream cheese and whisk on medium-high until totally smooth/fluffy, about 5 minutes - You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times. With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar & vanilla. Once the sugar starts to incorporate, raise the speed on the mixer to medium-high. Slowly stream in the heavy whipping cream and beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form.
- If creating the red and white striped frosting, take half the whipped frosting & place it into a Ziploc bag. Set aside in the refrigerator. With the mixer on medium add as much red food coloring as needed to the remaining frosting to turn it red. Once you've achieved the red color, add the red whipped frosting to a separate Ziploc bag. Set aside in the refrigerator.
- Prep a separate frosting bag with the tip of your choice, by cutting a small hole in a large Ziploc and pushing the tip half-way through. Remove both frosting bags from the fridge and cut holes into the corner of the each (white and red) bag. Place them together inside the prepared/empty frosting bag with the tip, and squeeze. The red and white frosting should flow into the prepared/empty frosting bag, and there should be a clear distinction between the red frosting and the white. Frost and decorate as desired.
- For the all purpose flour, simply measure 2 cups then take out 2 tablespoons.
- The toothpick test - stick a toothpick in the middle of a cupcake. If the toothpick comes out completely clean, it's cooked through. If the cupcake is still moist in the middle, pop it back into the oven for 1-2 minutes.
- The whipped frosting for these cupcakes needs to be whisked at high speed to turn to whipped cream consistency. If you don't have a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, a hand-held mixer will work just as well - it may just take a few minutes longer!
- Store these cupcakes in the fridge until ready to eat.