I really dig cupcakes right now for a few reasons:
1. love the idea of individual desserts
2. easier to make than most desserts
3. the casual nature of cupcakes is perfect for summer
4. presentation-wise they can be challenging but the end result is always pretty
This cupcake stand from Hallmark is so cute--especially with coordinating ribbon woven throughout the top. How utterly clever...a cupcake (or cake) stand that changes its look with each use. Love it.
These cupcake-holding-boxes from Martha Stewart Crafts would be fun to use if delivering cupcakes to neighbors and friends. I know I'm always at a loss as to how to deliver cupcakes without losing half the frosting on top to plastic wrap. These seem like a great solution. While on the subject of MS Crafts, I have to say how thrilled I am with this bargain-priced fabulous line of beautiful, classic craft items. If you want to see it in person, Michaels Arts & Crafts carries many of her MS Craft products now.
And of course this post would not be complete without my favorite summer cupcake recipe...
Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 box Duncan-Hines Lemon Supreme cake mix
One 3.5 ox box jello instant lemon pudding
1/4 fresh squeezed lemon juice
zest of one lemon
2/3 c. canola oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the cupcakes: In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the cake mixture and instant pudding anad sete aside.
In a measuring cup, add the lemon juice and enough cold water to make 2/3 cup. Add the eggs, lemon water, and lemon zest to the dry ingredients and combine. Pour in the oil, and beat at medium speed for 6 minutes or until smooth.
Place cupcake liners (like these ones) into a pan, pour in the mixture, and bake for 25-35 minutes or until the tops are golden and the cupcakes are springy to the touch. Cool the pan on a wire rack. Once completely cooled, frost with this yummy frosting:
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
One 8 oz. package Philadelphia Original cream cheese, room temperature
1.5 cups powdered/confectioners' sugar
zest of one lemon
1 TB fresh lemon juice
With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese until softened. Slowly add the sugar, zest, and juice and beat until creamy, about 3 minutes.
If you want to add candied lemon peel (see picture below) for even better presentation, click here for an easy recipe. It's worth the extra effort and can be made in advance.
Note: I've found that using Philadelphia Original cream cheese is the only way to go for both cheesecakes and cream cheese frostings. Do not be tempted to try other brands or to do lowfat, even if it is Philadelphia, or your results will be compromised. After a few disasters and mediocre results, I learned this lesson!