Love and Duck Fat has over 100 recipes at this point, and not a single cupcake. Until now–with these spring-inspired blueberry cupcakes with lemon curd filling and blueberry cream cheese frosting. I admit; I’ve shunned the pretty little cupcake so far.
I’ve managed to make some cakes. There are several chocolate cakes, an apple cake and even a few upside-down cakes in my roster. I’m proud of those cakes. Cakes are imposing. They are a big accomplishment to pull off for a beginner baker like me.
Not that cupcakes aren’t difficult to do…they just don’t have the dignity a cake possesses. Eating one doesn’t require you to cut open the whole thing to take your one little slice—cut just so. They are perfectly portioned out (usually a little heavy on the frosting for me) and so damn trendy.
Let me take that back, cupcakes are actually a little passé. They are everywhere. Aren’t cake pops the thing now? Or is it gourmet doughnuts? Cronuts?
Who really cares. Because when presented with a perfect little cupcake, I still want to devour it.
In the case of these blueberry cupcakes, I thought of making a cake version first. Except I have a full-time job now, and a toddler and a blog. I needed to make something a little more forgiving. It’s one thing to screw up a few cupcakes. Screwing up a whole cake when I barely have time to sleep is not an option.
Cake decorating is a talent that eludes me, despite plenty of fine art training. Cupcakes make for good decorating practice because I can mess up most of them and still have a few that are photo-worthy. They also taste pretty damn good.
The cake in these blueberry cupcakes is perfectly-moist and loaded with vanilla bean specks. A few fresh blueberries in the batter burst when you bite into them. The frosting has a ton of blueberry cream-cheesy flavor, and is naturally colored. When you take a bite, you get a mouthful of fresh lemon curd filling that is not too sweet—or too tart. It’s delightful. The whole experience screams, “spring.”
I wonder if this blueberry cupcake with lemon filling and blueberry cream cheese frosting will remain my single cupcake recipe? Or have I opened the door to a flood of cupcake creations? I’m honestly a little concerned. Don’t be surprised if I start making donuts to stave off the cupcake flood. I already have a donut pan saved in my Amazon cart.
You can make this recipe easier by using a store bought lemon curd (find it in the jelly section of your supermarket). I've included a lemon curd recipe if you prefer to make it from scratch.
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 cup (225 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 cups (175 grams) cake flour, not self-rising
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/3 cup (75 grams) full-fat sour cream (or full-fat plain yogurt)
- 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil (60 ml)
- 1 tablespoon pure (not imitation) vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup (160 ml) whole milk
- 32-48 fresh blueberries + more for garnish
- 4 tablespoons frozen blueberries
- 1 cup of butter, room temperature
- 8 oz of cream cheese, room temperature
- 1.2 oz (34 grams) freeze dried blueberries, processed in a mini food processor until it is powder
- 3-5 cups of confectioners sugar, sifted
- 3 lemons
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 extra-large eggs
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350 F/175 C.
Split vanilla bean down the middle. Using the back of your knife, run the knife up the cut in the bean, scraping the seeds out of the bean. They will clump together, Add the tiny seeds to the sugar in a small bowl.
Use the back of a spoon to break up the vanilla bean clumps and mix them thoroughly into the sugar. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Stir in the vanilla bean sugar.
Add the butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes, The texture should look like a very fine crumb texture.
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla extract.
Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, beating on medium speed until just combined,
Slowly add the milk while mixing on low speed.
Fill cupcake liners just over half full. Drop 2-3 blueberries in each.
Bake for 15 minutes and test with a toothpick to see if they are done. If not, bake a few minutes more. They should not brown.
Remove cupcakes from tin and allow to cool.
In a very small saucepan, cook frozen blueberries over medium heat until they soften. Mash with a spoon and cook another 2-3 minutes more on low heat, allowing the juice to evaporate until a thick paste forms. Do not let it burn. Set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until combined and fluffy. Add blueberry powder and blueberry paste.
Add 3 cups of confectioners sugar and mix until well combined.
Add more sugar if necessary, until the mixture is creamy and spreadable.
Zest the lemons with a zesting tool or vegetable peeler. If using a peeler, scrape the back of the skin to remove any white.
Add the zest to a food processor with a steel blade.
Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is finely chopped.
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter. Beat in the sugar mixture. Add the eggs 1 at a time. Add the lemon juice and salt and mix well.
Pour into a 2-quart saucepan and cook on medium heat until thick while stirring constantly (about 10 minutes). It should remain just below a simmer.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Using a melon-baller or small spoon, scoop out the middle of each cupcake. Fill with a spoonful of lemon curd. Frost with blueberry frosting and garnish with fresh blueberries.