Let me just brag for a moment…Texas is having an AMAZING winter this year (and now I’m sure I just jinxed it). In fact, I’m currently enjoying the sunshine and 65 degree weather as I write this (I’m pushing my luck at this point, I just know it). I think my favorite part about it so far are the abundance of bright, springy flowers in the shops around here. Bushels of bright yellow calla lilies can be seen everywhere! Perhaps this is the normal time of year for it but for some reason it just feels like this is the first time I’m thinking “yay!” versus the typical, “ok, you’re getting ahead of yourself spring.” Maybe it’s the calla lilies, maybe it’s the sunshine, but at this point in time all I can thing about is getting out from the heavy dark chocolate lava cakes and making springy, fluffy, bright desserts.
Here’s the deal with fruity desserts: it’s basically the only way you’re getting me to eat fruit. Crazy right? I will eat and enjoy almost every vegetable under the sun but fruit? Eh. And it kills me because fruit is so beautiful and my eyes are telling me – that is going to taste so yummy! But then…eh. Perhaps that’s what spurred this sudden kitchen exploration. The strawberries and lemons were telling me, “Eat me! Eat me!” and my mind was saying “Aye aye fruit. But first, let me combine you with butter and douse you in sugar.”
I tend to take a lot of liberties when following recipes, however, baking is not nearly as forgiving as cooking when it comes to changing things. I finally built enough confidence to truly create a baked goods recipe of my very own! And it’s pretty darn yummy if I do say so myself. Cue applause and curtsy.
I started with my favorite vanilla cake recipe that I used for baby girl’s birthday back in September. I searched and searched for a recipe that would be light and fluffy yet still moist. I finally came across this Salted Caramel Cupcake recipe by From Calculus to Cupcakes which had both cream cheese and sour cream! How could that not be delightful?
And so the baking journey begins…eggs and butter at room temp! And lots of beautiful strawberries 🙂 Pssst…keep your egg carton handy! These little guys are the perfect size to hold your mini cupcakes!
Don’t forget the sour cream and cream cheese!
This is where things get flavorful. Rather than using your regular bar of cream cheese, I opted for strawberry cream cheese (generally these are in the spread form which is ok, just measure it out or eyeball as best you can!)
In addition to the strawberry cream cheese I wanted to get some actual fruit into these cupcakes (remember…I need to get my fruit intake up guys!). Much like those super moist coffee cake recipes, you fold in your sour cream at the end verses blending into the batter completely. I wanted to do the same thing with the strawberries so rather than double folding things, I pre folded the strawberries into the sour cream.
Don’t forget that lemon extract and zest! I’ve become obsessed with adding lemon and orange zest to my baked goods. The citrus flavor against sweetness is killer.
Make sure to get a little bit of strawberry in every cupcake cup!
Remember when I told you to hold onto those egg cartons? Voila! A perfect display or gift wrap option.
And you guys – the lemon, the strawberry, the sugar! I mean, who doesn’t love a good strawberry lemonade? It’s almost as much of a necessity in Texas as sweet tea!
Excuse me as I stuff my face over here. It’s healthy because there’s fruit…right? Isn’t that how it works?
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 4 oz strawberry cream cheese
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp veggie oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- zest of one large lemon (about 1 tbsp)
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 8 oz sour cream
- 1 cup diced strawberries
- Preheat oven to 350 & prep cupcake tins with liners.
- In your large mixer, cream together butter, cream cheese, sugar, brown sugar and oil until light and fluffy.
- One at a time, add your eggs making sure each is mixed in completely before adding the next. Remember to scrape your sides every now and then!
- Add vanilla, lemon extract and lemon zest and mix until completely combined.
- Next slowly add in your dry ingredients – baking powder, baking soda, salt & flour. Do this in batches and make sure to scrape the sides of your bowl!
- In a separate bowl, mix your strawberries and sour cream until strawberries are fully covered.
- Using a large spoon or spatula, fold the sour cream/strawberry mixture into your batter until it’s swirled in (to where you think you could easily get some strawberry in every cupcake tin).
- Fill cupcake tins 3/4 full and bake for about 15-20 mins (mini cupcakes should be about 15, full cupcakes may take full 20)
- Let cool and ice and decorate as you like (Strawberry Hearts / Buttercream Icing)