Raspberry-Lemon-Vanilla Trifecta Cupcakes

The Food Network lied to me. I’ve seen Ace of Cakes, I’ve seen Cupcake Wars (and I’ve seen the TLC ones, too…), and somehow these shows had me convinced that cupcakes are both easy to make and that I was definitely capable of making them. Oh, no no. Not so, young padawan learner, not so! I don’t know what it is about mini-cakes that somehow confounds my ability to make things taste delicious, but I have a really long list of cupcake fails on my baking record.

Fortunately, I have found ONE recipe (so far) that does not suck! It’s this one! It’s probably because I didn’t even find this recipe myself (thanks, Beth!). If Kate, the cupcake impaired baker can make these, you can too. Imagine what it would be like for you if you are already good at cupcakes! These are going to taste SO GOOD!!!

Flavor-wise, you’re signing up for a vanilla cupcake with raspberry filling and lemon frosting, so buckle your seat belts for a ride on the Gustatory Train headed for Happy Palate Village, population: you. Raspberry and lemon make really great flavor friends, and they’re super refreshing. The cupcake itself is really light and soft- slightly reminiscent of angel food cake. I think these cupcakes should make their grand appearance after a really good summer grill session in the park. They have a fresh, bold flavor, but they’re still light enough that you’re still going to want to eat them even when it’s warm outside. De.Light.Ful.Raspberry-Lemon-Vanilla Trifecta Cupcakes1

Vanilla Cupcake Ingredients
1/2 cup shortening (non-butter flavored)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups AP flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 egg whites

Raspberry Filling Ingredients
1 3/4 cup frozen raspberries
1 tbsp. & 1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. lemon juice (fresh is encouraged, bottled is tolerated)
1/4 cup sugar

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
1 package (8 oz.) packaged cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 reduced fat successfully)
1/4 cup butter 2 tbsp. lemon juice (again, please use fresh!!)
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla
2-5 cups** powdered sugar (see directions below)

Raspberry-Lemon-Vanilla Trifecta Cupcakes2Raspberry-Lemon-Vanilla Trifecta Cupcakes3

Cupcake Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line cupcake pan with liners.

Raspberry-Lemon-Vanilla Trifecta Cupcakes4Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk or sift to separate lumps. In a different, smaller bowl, combine milk and vanilla. In another bowl beat the shortening and sugar together until light.

Beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Then, beat in 1/2 of the wet ingredients. Follow with 1/3 of the dry, the rest of the wet, and then the rest of the dry, beating with each new addition. Mix at a low speed for 2 minutes.

Add the egg whites and mix until fluffy and smooth (probably a good 2 minutes).

Fill the liners 1/2-2/3 full (DO NOT overfill. You will cry, your cupcakes will look sad, and absolutely no one goes home a winner). Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let the cupcakes cool completely before you add your filling.

Raspberry Filling Directions

In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and slowly bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring continually. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.Raspberry-Lemon-Vanilla Trifecta Cupcakes5

To fill the cupcakes with raspberry goodness, use a pearing knife to cut out the core of the cupcake. Fill the the hole with the raspberry filling until it’s basically flush with the top of the cupcake. Put the core back in the cupcake (it will, obviously, not fit super well. That’s a-okay. Frosting covers a multitude of sins).

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting Directions

Beat cream cheese, butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla until smooth and fluffy.

Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until it’s creamy.
** I said 2-5 cups. That’s a big difference, but frosting is a cantankerous substance. If you start off with cream cheese and butter that are both pretty soft like I did (it was 94° outside when I made this the first time), you’re probably going to need more powdered sugar. This frosting and I fought for a while (and made a MASSIVE mess), and I ended up using 4 1/2- 5 cups. I’ve read other reviewers of this recipe that said they only used 2-ish cups. So, to be safe, add it in a cup at a time. If it gets too thick, add some more lemon juice. Oh, and fighting with the frosting is worth it- it’s freaking delicious.

Let me know how they turn out!

(Adapted from The Cocina Monologues and AllRecipies)

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