Lemon Blueberry Cupcake Perfection

I humbly submit to you that I have just made (and this can’t be stated strongly enough) the best cupcakes the world has ever known.

without rival

underrated brilliance

beyond compare

These are the phrases that leapt to mind when I bit into these amazing Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes.

Overstated? Impossible. Mere adjectives do not do them justice. These cupcakes could bring about world peace.

They involve some of my favorite color combinations: blue, yellow and cream cheese!

Below is the recipe. (You’ll thank me)

A bright, light, summer treat.

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12-15
  • Difficulty: just follow the directions
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INGREDIENTS FOR CUPCAKE BATTER

* 1 and 3/4 cups + 2T flour, divided
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
* 1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
* 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (zest your lemon before squeezing it for juice)
* 3T fresh lemon juice, divided (there’s nothing like freshly squeezed lemon juice)
* 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
* 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
* 1 large egg + one egg yolk, room temperature

INGREDIENTS FOR FROSTING

* 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1) 8 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
* 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
* 1 and 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (the good vanilla)
* 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
* 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

DIRECTIONS FOR CUPCAKE BATTER

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
2. In a medium bowl combine the 1 and 3/4 cups of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt – set aside
3. In a separate bowl combine the sour cream, milk and 2T of lemon juice. Whisk well to combine – set aside
4. Place blueberries in a small bowl. Add remaining lemon juice and toss to coat the berries. Add remaining flour and toss to coat – set aside
5. In mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy
6. Add in the granulated sugar and lemon extract and beat until well combined
7. Add in the egg and egg yolk and mix well. Reduce speed to low
8. Add half of the flour mixture and mix until just combined
9. Add half of the sour cream mixture until just combined
10. Repeat with remaining flour and sour cream mixture until just combined
11. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the floured blueberries and lemon zest
12. Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake liners, filling them 3/4 of the way full
13. Bake for 16-20 minutes (check at 16 minutes with a toothpick)
14. After removing from oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before transferring cupcakes to a cooling rack

DIRECTIONS FOR FROSTING

1. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy
2. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add in the powdered sugar and lemon juice, beating until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes
3. Add in the vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon zest. Beat until smooth. (If the consistency is too thick, add a teaspoon of milk, but only if necessary) The frosting should be creamy and spreadable, but also thick enough to hold its shape.
4. Pipe or spread the frosting on the cupcakes.
5. To decorate: shred lemon zest on top of the cupcake. Add a couple of blueberries and sprinkles of your choice.

Rosemary and Time

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When we first moved into our California house, there was a VERY overgrown bush tucked in between the oleander and a yet-to-be-determined hedge. It was overgrown and dead in places and clearly hadn’t been manicured or tended to for quite some time.

It was on the backlist of things to get around to.

Any yet, one day as we were clearing out another area of the yard, I wandered over and dug a little closer. As soon as I touched it’s branches I knew it was rosemary. Not the little rosemary we grew in clay pots back in the midwest, but a huge bush of an herb. And ohhhh, did it smell heavenly.

Scott got out his big hedge clippers and we went at it. I hesitated, thinking I should probably google when the best time was to trim back a rosemary bush, but it was in such bad shape we thought ‘what the heck’ – what could we possibly do that’s worse than how it looked now?!

As he cut and discarded, trimmed back and tossed out, I grabbed a few sprigs for myself.

And then I grabbed a few more…

An armload of the rosemary went to a new friend in California and the rest I took into the garage to let dry.

Instead of trimming it all the way down to the ground, we left a little of it to stretch out and breathe some fresh air, now that it was newly free to grow and spread with all the room we’d given it.

One evening we found ourselves in front of the tv to watch a christmas movie so I plopped down on the floor with the dried rosemary stems and stripped the herbs from each stem (insert an achy back but fingers that tingled with the aroma of fresh rosemary oils.)

I made the following recipes I want to share with you. We used our backyard rosemary but you could also use the fresh rosemary you buy at the grocery store or garden center.

  1. Lavender Rosemary Bath Salts (we even used dried lavender from the lavender bushes we planted earlier in the fall)
  2. Lemon and Rosemary Sugar Scrub
  3. Lemon Rosemary Bath Salts
  4. Williams-Sonoma Potpourri
  5. and even though I haven’t made it yet, I’m sharing a recipe for extracting rosemary oil to make essential oils and
  6. Infused-oil Rosemary

Our kitchen has been smelling fab.u.lous lately, I’ll tell you that!

First, this Lemon and Rosemary Sugar Scrub. Oh my! It smells unbelievable! Winter brings dry skin. Elbows, heels, arms and legs. They all suffer from the lack of moisture in the air. The defoliating properties in this sugar scrub are both healthy for your skin as well as a healthy aroma in the shower.

Rosemary oils are an antiseptic. They protect skin cells and are very good for your skin and hair.

Lemon and Rosemary Sugar Scrub

1C extra fine granulated sugar
1/2C grapeseed oil
2T dried rosemary leaves
1 tsp lemon essential oil
1/2 tsp rosemary essential oil
1/2 tsp lemon zest

Combine all ingredients together. If it’s too thick, add more grapeseed oil. Too thin, add more sugar.

Store in an airtight container.

Use within one month.

Williams-Sonoma Potpourri

2C water in a pot

Slice up one lemon – put in pot and bring to a boil

Add a few sprigs of rosemary

1/2 tsp vanilla

Simmer – adding water as needed

Lavender Rosemary Bath Salts

1C Himalayan sea salt
1C Epsom salt
1/2C coarse Kosher salt
10-20 drops lavender essential oil
2T crushed, dried rosemary (pulse in the food processor a few times)
2-3T dried lavender buds

Combine the salts, lavender buds and crushed rosemary

Add the essential oil and mix thoroughly

(You can add purple food coloring…I didn’t.)

Store in an airtight container.

Lavender is a go-to essential oil. It’s a stress reducer (perfect for bathtime, no?) and has anti-inflammatory properties. I usually go through my lavender oil more quickly than others because I use it a lot at night for relaxation and sleep. (Funny sidenote: Scott read somewhere that it causes men to lactate so that’s usually an ongoing joke at night too!) 

And speaking of Scott.

Another ongoing ‘joke’ between us since we first met is our ‘role reversal’ when it comes to bathing. Scott is a hard-core bath taker. (As are his parents before him.) He relaxes and enjoys it and I……well, I…….hate baths. (please don’t hate me!)

I know! I know! Everyone loves to take a bath, right? No. Not me. They make me impatient and the thought of sitting in non-moving water kind of grosses me out. Needless to say, they are NOT relaxing for me.

However! I do really really love soaking my feet in warm water with good stuff dissolved inside. Now THAT is very relaxing and rejuvenating. Plus it’s a good activity while bingeing on Mrs. Maisel.

So we will use these bath salts in different ways – but each enjoying our own version of healthy, indulgent self-care.

Lemon and Rosemary Bath Salts

By the way…we used rosemary and lavender buds from our backyard and (fingers crossed!) eventually we will be able to use the lemons off our lemon trees.)

2C Epsom salts
1/2C baking soda
2-3T fresh dried rosemary, finely chopped
8 drops lemon essential oil
2-3T lemon zest

Combine Epsom salt and baking soda

Add half the essential oil drops, mix, then add the remaining drops

Mix in chopped rosemary and lemon zest.

Store in an airtight container.

The next two rosemary recipes I plan to make next…

Rosemary Essential Oil

Fill a pot with water. Put a bowl (or use a double boiler) on top of the pot of water with 2-3 ounces of dried rosemary leaves.

Cover the leaves with 2C of grapeseed oil

Simmer on low heat for 3 hours

Seal and store in a cool, dark place

Infused Rosemary Oil

1 pint jar

Clean and dry your rosemary – make sure there’s no water on the rosemary

Warm the olive oil on low heat for a few minutes. Make sure you don’t get it hot – that destroys the healthy properties.

Put some rosemary sprigs in the pint jar.

Pour the warm olive oil over the rosemary and fill the jar. The warm oil begins the infusion process with the rosemary. Set aside to cool.

Once cooled, seal the jar and store in a dry, cool, dark place for one week to complete the infusion process. After the week, you can strain out the rosemary or leave it in until you’re ready to cook with it.

The Kitchn has a great recipe for freezing the extra herbs to use later on in cooking and other DIY rosemary projects.

I hope these give you some ideas on how to use fresh rosemary in a variety of ways. I’d love to hear how you use rosemary – or other herbs – and let me know if you use one of these recipes and how it turned out. No time to make the recipes right now? Well by all means – pin it for later, right?!

I love simple DIY projects that merely take – a little rosemary and time…
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