May 28, 2011

Rejoice in the Lemons!

Super Typhoon Songda is fast approaching we're stocked with emergency supplies and plenty of movies to keep us occupied. The only thing missing is something yummy out of the oven. But that is about to change!

Typhoons can be very exciting in Okinawa. Our house is a cement fortress and the Japanese have built the infrastructure of the island to withstand it's wrath. As an added bonus typhoons mean a day off for most people working on the bases including my husband! Nothing beats some additional time together! While the day stuck inside, walking the dog without being blown away or soaked and the serious potential for damage on the island are not the highlight of typhoon season, the time spent with family is very sweet. It's always a great excuse to set aside normal daily activities and simply enjoy each others company.

Even when the day seems to deliver lemons, it is wise to remember that each day is the day the Lord has made; rejoice and be glad! (Psalm 118:24) Even lemons can be made into something sweet and if we don't look, sometimes we miss the blessing in the most seemingly awful of circumstances.

Strawberry-Lemonade Cupcakes 
With Cream Cheese Frosting

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. lemon zest
12 tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Whisk together. Set aside. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add sugar and beat until creamy. Add eggs in one at a time allowing them to be completely incorporated before adding the next. 

Combine the milk and lemon juice. Alternatively add the flour mixture and mild mixture to the creamed butter beating on low speed until smooth. Fold in the fresh strawberries with a spatula.

Fill paper liners two-thirds of the way full with batter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcake comes out clean. Allow pan to cool on wire wrack for 5 minutes before removing cupcakes. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 tbsp. clear vanilla extract
1 Lb. sifted powered sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

Cream butter and cream cheese together in stand mixer on medium speed. Add in vanilla. With mixer on low speed slowly add in powdered sugar and salt. Once sugar is incorporated, increase mixer to medium speed until frosting is creamy.

Use a pastry bag filled with frosting to pipe cupcakes. There is no need to use a cuplet or tip for this. 

Top cupcakes with strawberries if desired. Whole, halved or fanned strawberries shown below.

Enjoy and try not to eat them all at once!