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.
Yield: About 16 cupcakes
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.
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.
I have a background in art (check out my oil paintings here), and still get a little excited every year when Pantone releases their color of the year. The Pantone color of the year for 2014 is called, “Radiant Orchid.” It’s a shade of purple with a little touch of pink. The folks at Pantone describe Radiant Orchid as, “magical, warm and intriguing—one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”
Come to think of it, there’s an orchid blooming in my backyard that matches perfectly.
While I’m not usually a purple person, I do have to admit I like THIS purple. It’s a fresh color for spring and I could see it paired with a palette of pale green, gold and white.
You can find this color in everything from fashion to home goods and paint colors (well, it IS a paint color) this year; including desserts! I rounded up some of my favorite, gorgeous purple-y desserts from across the blogosphere in shades of Radiant Orchid to celebrate this beautiful color in time for spring.
Top left: Vegan Radiant Orchid Alfajores from Vegan Miam
Top center: Blueberry Pie with Purple Crust from Delight Dulce
Top right: Purple Ombre Mini Cakes from Glorious Treats
2nd row, left: Purple Ombre Cake with Blackberry Compote from Oh Sweet Day
2nd row, center: Pantone 2014, Radiant Orchid Paint Chip Cookies from Bake at 350
2nd row, right: Purple Sweet Potato Mont Blanc from Little Accident in the Kitchen
3rd row, left: Lavender Rose French Macarons from I Sugar Coat It
3rd row, center: Purple Candied Apples with Tutorial from The Kitchen McCabe
3rd row, right: Swirly Sugar Cookies from Heather Sweets and Treats
Bottom left: Grape Jello Shot Cupcakes from That’s So Michelle
Bottom right: Lavender Panna cotta from Eva Tenova
I hope this collection of 2014 Pantone color of the year desserts inspires you to take on this color in your cooking, wardrobe or home. What do YOU think of Radiant Orchid? I’d love to know!
Easter is around the corner and I’ve been searching for Easter dessert recipes to get me inspired! This collection of creative Easter recipes blew me away so I’m sharing them here with you. These recipes welcome spring with beautiful pastel colors, eggs, bunnies and chicks. They are perfect for an Easter dessert, event or a fun project with the little ones.
Top right (above): Robins Egg Speckled Cookies from The Miniature Moose
Top left (above): Speckled Easter Cupcakes from Urban Bakes
Middle right (above): Flower Pot Cookies from The Gunny Sack
Middle left (above): Cadbury Mini Eggs Layer Cake from The Gunny Sack
Bottom (above): Easter Egg Nest Macaroons from Yummy Healthy Easy
Top left (below): Mini Easter Carrot Cakes from Food Faith Fitness
Top right (below): Green Tea & Honey Cake from Love and Duck Fat
Middle left (below): Bird, Chick or Duckling Cookies from Bake and Bait
Middle right (below): Chocolate Easter Bunny Cake from The Cake Blog
Bottom left (below): Lil’ Chick Cookie Cups from The Gunny Sack
Bottom right (below): Egg Cartons and Coconut Cupcakes from Handmade Mood
I hope this collection of spring-inspired Easter desserts got you ready to cook up some lovely desserts to celebrate this time of year. Check back next week for more inspiration as I begin this new series highlighting some of the best recipes from blogs I love on Love and Duck Fat.
Discussion: Which one of these dessert would you like to make for Easter? Do you have a favorite Easter dessert?
Tea is popular in this household. That’s an understatement. Tea is an obsession in this household. We have a very large drawer full of at least 30 kinds of tea, plus 5 or 6 tea-brewing devices and an electric tea kettle. We have a “tea station” where we make our daily selections, stocked with all of the fancy accoutrements. Honey, measuring spoons, mesh filters, towels and aerators are all present and accounted for. That’s why making this spring green tea cake with layers of honey sponge was such an event in this household.
I’m a black tea girl, preferring a loose leaf Earl Grey or Breakfast Blend with a little honey and milk. My husband drinks a whole pot or two of strong green tea a day. When I brought up the idea of a green tea cake recipe; he latched onto the idea and piped in with a few suggestions. The cake has an airy green tea mousse layered with honey-drenched sponge cake. The pale green color of this tea and honey cake almost screams spring. The flavors and textures are light; reminiscent of a tiramisu.
The bright, vibrant green color of matcha green tea is alluring and complex. This finely milled powder is the center of the Japanese tea ceremony. We all know it’s loaded with healthy stuff, but it can be a challenge to drink, which is why we had a perfectly good tin of matcha tea powder waiting to be made into dessert.
This is the first time I made a sponge cake and it was easier than I thought it would be. The batter mixed easily and the cakes came out of the oven perfectly. The mousse was a challenge for me, despite having made chocolate mousse many times in the past. The first recipe I used called for gelatin powder and all I had were sheets. The substitution didn’t work and I ended up trying to “fix” the mousse. In the end, I remade the mousse from scratch. Don’t you hate when that happens?
The first batch didn’t go to waste. I’ve been enjoying dollops of green tea cream on top of my Earl Grey. Aren’t I fancy?
The final cake was as beautiful as it was delicious. I decorated the top with lots of matcha tea. This may be a little too much tea for some. I recommend using just a little; applied with a stencil. You can also decorate the cake with pistachios, honey brittle or piped mousse as an alternative.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F/ 65 degrees C.
Coat 2 8" cake pans with butter or cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the sugar and continue to beat on high speed until the eggs increase in size by 4x and the color is pale yellow. When you lift the whisk, the mixture should fall in ribbons.
Combine 5 tablespoons of the honey with 2 tablespoons of warm water, reserving the rest. Quickly add to the egg mixture until just combined.
Working in batches, add the flour to the egg mixture, mixing gently until just combined. Do not over mix at this point.
Divide the batter between cake pans. Carefully tap the cake pans on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles. Bake for 30 minutes, then open the oven door and bake another 5 minutes. The texture of the cakes should be spongy.
Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the cake pans and cool completely.
Sprinkle gelatin powder over cold water into a bowl. Allow to soften for 1 minute. Add boiling water and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Allow to cool slightly.
In a mixing bowl, stir together sugar and green tea powder. Add whipping cream and beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until cream is stiff and forming peaks. Add the gelatin mixture and beat until completely blended. Place into the refrigerator to cool completely; about 30 minutes.
Using a bread knife, carefully cut sponge cake layers in half. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons of honey with 1 tablespoon warm water. Arrange the bottom cake layer on a cake stand. Lightly Brush with honey mixture. Add a layer of mousse. Alternate each layer, brushing the sponge layers with more honey.
You can make the cakes ahead; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until assembly.
We recently went on a week-long trip to Puerto Rico, leaving a whole bunch of bananas sitting on the kitchen counter at home. We returned to find a whole bunch of very ripe bananas that needed to be used quickly or face the compost heap. Four bananas went into this tasty banana bread and two more ended up in the caramel on the top of this amazingly delicious banana bread upside down cake. It’s the best banana bread we’ve ever had and I’m excited to share the recipe!
If you read along in this blog (thank you if you do), you know I’m fond of upside-down cakes. They are easy to make and adapt well to all seasons. Living in the subtropics of Miami, we have access to all sorts of fruit. In my yard alone, there’s a papaya, coconut, starfruit, mango and sapodilla tree. Two of my favorite cakes to make with local fruit are this starfruit upside-down cake and kumquat upside-down cake.
The marriage of banana bread and upside-down cake was meant to be. Why isn’t this a thing? You end up with moist banana bread with a buttery-rich banana nut topping– similar to a Bananas Foster. It’s perfection. If you are in the mood for something really luxurious, add a bit of rum to the caramel topping. The alcohol cooks out in the oven, but the rum adds a little extra flavor. You can even take the recipe a step further and throw in some pineapple with the bananas.
I was limited in the ingredients available when I made this recipe, and walnuts were missing from my pantry. Given a choice between pine nuts or pumpkin seeds; I went with the pumpkin seeds. They worked out nicely, giving the cake a bit of crunch. Walnuts or pecans would still be my first (and second) choice.
Of course, you can make this easy banana bread upside-down cake recipe without nuts at all-it’s really up to you. However you make it, it’s a delicious treat the whole family will love—even the ones who don’t usually like banana bread. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did and I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
You can make the entire cake in an 8-inch cast iron skillet. If you don’t have a skillet, use a buttered 8-inch cake pan. You will need to make the topping on the stovetop and carefully pour it into the cake pan while it’s still hot.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/ 180 degrees C.
Melt the butter in an 8-inch cast iron skillet or saucepan. Add the brown sugar and orange juice or rum. Stir until the mixture begins to boil and the sugar is melted. Remove from the heat. If you are using a cake pan, immediately pour the caramel into the bottom of the pan.
Once the caramel is cooled, arrange the sliced bananas around the outside edge of the skillet in a pinwheel design. Sprinkle nuts in the middle or arrange them in a design as well.
In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the eggs and mashed bananas and mix until well combined.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and slowly add the wet ingredients. Add the vanilla. Stir in the nuts.
Carefully spoon the batter on top of the caramel layer and spread smooth. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out smooth.
Allow the cake to cook in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully flip the pan onto a serving platter, being careful not to burn yourself on the hot caramel that may leak out.
Banana bread recipe adapted from lkadlec’s Best Banana Bread
Ever since I started thinking about St. Patrick’s Day recipes I’ve had Bailey’s Irish Cream on my mind. One of the recipes I love to make is panna cotta, an Italian custard made with cream and gelatin. It’s versatile, delicious and oh-so-easy. This recipe for Bailey’s Irish Cream panna cotta with espresso caramel is the very satisfying result of all my brain storming. It’s a little Irish, a lot delicious and sophisticated to boot. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Bailey’s Irish cream isn’t something we keep in the house; in fact this is the first bottle I ever purchased. It’s not something I order at a bar either. Still, I have nostalgia for the drink. My first experience with Bailey’s Irish cream was something to remember. I was 14 years old and staying at my grandmother’s home in St. Louis, Missouri for New Year’s Eve. As the clock ticked toward the New Year, she brought out a bottle of Bailey’s Irish cream with a flourish, along with two little shot glasses.
I was sitting in one of those big reclining swivel chairs when she handed me a glass and poured a little “nip” as she called it. The Bailey’s was strong and sweet and I had to shut my eyes and swallow it quickly just like cough medicine. I swiveled in my chair to hide my scrunched-up face as I swallowed it, rotating back into grandmother’s view with an empty glass. She was impressed with my drinking skills. I just wanted to swallow the stuff. She poured me another, and then another. That was the first time I was tipsy.
Grandmother would love this Bailey’s Irish Cream panna cotta. It’s smooth and creamy with just a little kick from the liquor. The salted espresso caramel sauce goes perfectly, with flavors reminiscent of tiramisu. This recipe is the perfec–elegant–way to end a St. Patrick’s Day meal. You can pour the panna cotta into little shot glasses, wineglasses or beer glasses to serve. You can harden the custard in a ramekin and turn them out onto plates, with the caramel sauce drizzled on top.
However you presented this dessert, it’s a delicious, boozy way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day—or any old day. One bonus I have to mention: This recipe makes enough of this crazy-yummy espresso caramel for an extra cup to save. Pour it in a little jar and drizzle it on ice cream or cheesecake or just eat it with a spoon.
This recipe wraps up my collection of St. Patrick’s Day recipes for 2014. Please check out my other recipes for some inspiration. I wish you and your family a happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Yield: 8 servings + extra sauce
Heat the cream and sugar in a heavy saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in vanilla extract.
-If you are using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds into the cream and drop in the vanilla pod. Let infuse for 30 minutes and then remove the bean. Reheat to continue..
-Lightly oil custard ramekins with a neutral tasting oil if you plan to turn out the custard onto plates.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow it to "bloom".
Add the gelatin to the hot cream mixture and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Add the Bailey's Irish Cream
Pour the custard mixture into glasses or ramekins, dividing evenly. Chill until firm, about four hours.
In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of water and espresso powder.
In a heavy saucepan over low heat, stir remaining 6 tablespoons of water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil sugar mixture about 8 minutes, swirling the caramel mixture until darker and bubbly.
Remove saucepan from heat. Add cream, butter, salt and coffee mixture to the caramel.
Return to heat. Boil the mixture, whisking constantly until smooth and thickened. Pour over chilled panna cotta and save remaining sauce in a canning jar for up to 2 weeks.