Cream Cheese Frosting

This is my favorite cream cheese frosting.  I use it for chocolate cake, spice cake, carrot cake, cinnamon rolls, pumpkin bars and so on.  Occasionally, I will sprinkle some pumpkin spice in it for a little something different.  My new favorite variation, though, is to add the juice and zest of one lemon plus a couple of drops of lemon essential oil to the recipe.  It is delightful on a variety of cupcake flavors.  (A bit more powdered sugar might need to be added to create the proper spreading consistency after adding lemon juice.)

1 8-oz. bar cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1 t. vanilla
4-5 c. powdered sugar, sifted

Cream the cheese and butter, then stir in vanilla.  Add sugar to desired consistency.

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Lemon Cupcakes

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I made these tasty treats to celebrate by oldest daughter’s Sweet 16 Cupcake and Ice Cream Float Open House.  They were a hit with almost everyone.  (One guest gasped and puckered and handed her cupcake off to her son.  Too tart, maybe??)  I was especially tickled that these cupcakes pleased my lemon-loving friend, Emily, who sets a high bar for all things lemon.  Plus, my hubby really, really liked them, too.

This recipe makes about 30 cupcakes, so it’s basically a double batch.  Before icing, they freeze wonderfully.  I frosted them with a lemon cream cheese frosting that was a basic cream cheese icing recipe with lemon juice and a couple of drops of lemon oil added.  I could’ve eaten it with a spoon.  (Okay, okay.  I confess!  I did eat it with a spoon!)

3 c. all-purpose flour
3 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
4 eggs, room temperature, if possible
1 t. vanilla
2 T. grated lemon zest
1 c. buttermilk or whole milk
3 T. lemon juice
3-4 drops lemon essential oil, if desired

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each one.  Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest.

Gently beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture, 1/3 at a time, alternating with half the milk and half the lemon juice.  Add essential oil.  Beat until just combined; do not over-mix.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cupcakes cool in pan about 10 minutes before removing to rack.

Berry Lemonade

This would be a fun treat for the Fourth of July!

3/4 c. sugar
1 c. fresh lemon juice
1 c. fresh or frozen raspberries
ice cubesT
thin lemon slices

Mix sugar, lemon juice and 6 cups of cold water. Mix well until the sugar dissolves.

Puree raspberries in a food processor and then press through a fine sieve into a bowl, discarding the seeds.

Mix the raspberries with the liquid. Chill for at least an hour or until desired temperature.

Add ice and lemon slices if desired.