Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Blueberry Lemon Pound "Cupcakes"

Getting tired of blueberry recipes yet?  Well get ready, here comes another one!  Its blueberry season, isn’t everything supposed to be centered on blueberries?

Every morning when I step out of my front door I am reminded of the fact that I need to pick blueberries.  Just about every other day I spend 20-30 minutes picking and selecting only the bluest berries on the bushes, which adds up to a lot of blueberries.  Even though a good deal of them get eaten by the fistfuls, my family can’t keep up with the abundance; this means that the berries that don’t get eaten in the “every other day” picking cycle, get frozen, cooked or baked.

I am grateful to have what seems like a never ending bowl of fresh blueberries on our kitchen counter for about two months every summer.  However, I must admit that by the time the first month has passed.  The excitement wears off and the picking loses its charm, quickly becoming a chore.  When that feeling hits me I need to remind myself that I won’t have this option in about a month.  Then I stop, take a reality check and ask myself… Are you seriously bitching about having too many fresh blueberries right outside your front door? 

Come winter time when I see all those beautiful blueberries in my freezer, I’m sure glad I kept at it!

I adapted this recipe from Ina Garten’s pound cake recipe.  It’s fool proof and easy.  Buttery pound cake with a hint of lemon and stuffed with fresh blueberries. How can these not be amazing?

My dilemma... I needed a dessert for dinner but was running short on time. Pound cakes are welcome anytime of the day, but they take 50 minutes to an hour to bake (and more time to cool).  On a hot summer day it didn't sound like a good idea.  That got me thinking about cupcakes, which would take only a mere 20-25 minutes, half the time it would take to bake a pound cake.  Duh… cupcakes won!

These are delicious straight from the oven (with a short resting period) and most of them were enjoyed with great pleasure exactly that way.  Yet, surprisingly my husband thought these baby pound cupcakes tasted even better straight from the fridge the next day.  I must admit, chilling the cupcakes brought out the flavors of the butter, lemon and blueberries even more.
I toss the blueberries with the flour mixture and fold them gently into the wet mix with a rubber spatula so I don't break up the berries.

As you make this batter everything will seem normal.  The butter and sugar cream up light and fluffy, then when you add the eggs the batter will be perfectly creamy.  THEN, you add the lemon juice and buttermilk to the mix and it curdles into a horrible mess.  DON’T FREAK OUT!!!, and think that you did something wrong!  This doesn't happen every time, but I thought I should warn you of the possibility.
So as I said above DON'T FREAK OUT!!!  When you fold in the flour and blueberries you will end up with a beautiful batter.

1 ½         cups       flour
¼             tsp.        baking soda
¼             tsp.        baking powder
½             tsp.        kosher salt (¼ tsp. table salt)
1 ½         cups       blueberries

¼             pound   butter, softened (1 stick)
1              cup         sugar
2              large      eggs
½             tsp.        vanilla
¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. buttermilk
2              Tbsp.     fresh lemon juice
                                zest from one lemon

Mix dry ingredients together to blend and toss blueberries into the flour mixture.  Set aside.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy.  Add eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, buttermilk, lemon juice and zest.  Mix until just combined.

Gently fold the flour and blueberries into the wet mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.  Mix until just blended.

Spoon batter into cupcake tins lined with paper baking cups.

Bake on the center rack in a 350 degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean (my cupcakes took 23 minutes to bake).  Let cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the tin.

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