Last week, the Youth Advisory Council in our town celebrated “Positive Choices Week.” Various events were held to promote making positive choices such as avoiding drugs and alcohol. We were very excited to be guests at the award ceremony the Council held last Thursday, where M was recognized as the pencil slogan winner. Her slogan, “A Positive Attitude = A Positive Life,” was printed on pencils that will be handed out at Council events and to all of the students at her school. This comes on the heels of having one of her art class projects selected for display at the town-wide school art show. Previous school years have been a little rough, but this year she has blossomed and takes both her school work and her friendships very seriously and has excelled. This year, we have emphasized that it is better to be recognized for positive contributions and for doing your best than it is to be recognized for being the class clown. M is an incredibly bright, sensitive, creative girl and it is wonderful that her peers and teachers can focus on that instead of calling home to say “can we get your kid to stop dancing in the middle of class and losing her school supplies?” Setting clear expectations has helped M show everyone the things she has always been capable of, and we’re so glad to see her shine. M has really risen to the occasion this year, and there aren’t enough ways to remind her how proud of her we are.
Cupcakes are a good start. We wanted to have a little celebration to recognize her accomplishments so I made cupcakes. I wanted to pick a flavor that I knew she would love, which meant no chocolate cake. Any time we go out for a meal, both kids want lemonade (“We don’t have to have milk? Now it’s a party!”) so as soon as the thought of lemonade cupcakes came about, there was no choice that seemed more perfect. As a bonus for M, the frosting is pink and so these screamed “Haha, my little brother didn’t get to pick the flavor!” This was important, as she was the guest of honor at this little cupcake party. If you love lemonade like these two do, these are the cupcakes for you. The cupcake is moist and full of lemon flavor, and the pink lemonade frosting gives these a great sweetness. Even if these two drink lemonade even when it’s so tart it’s like sucking on lemon wedges (which they’ve been know to do . . .), the cupcakes are a nice balance of tart and sweet, like a perfect glass of fresh lemonade.
Lemonade Cupcakes with Pink Lemonade Frosting
for the cupcakes:
- 1/2 C. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 C. sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 tsp. lemon extract)
- 1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 C. milk
- zest and juice of two medium lemon
for the frosting:
- 1 C. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3-4 C. confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 C. heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice (or 2 tsp. lemon extract)
- red food coloring (optional)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 cavity muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer) beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until creamed.
Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes until combined.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, stirring to combine after each addition (batter will be thick).
Add the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix just until combined.
Pour the batter evenly into the cupcake liners (I use an ice cream scoop and fill each cavity about 1/2 to 2/3 full).
Bake for 18-20 minutes, checking at 18 minutes to see if a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on wire racks before frosting.
To make the frosting, beat the butter on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer).
Beat for 3-4 minutes until the butter is smooth and fluffy.
Add 3 C. of the powdered sugar, cream, lemon juice or extract, and salt.
Increase the mixer speed to high and beat for 3 minutes.
If the frosting is too thin, add remaining powdered sugar a small amount at a time, beating after each addition. If the frosting is too thick, add more cream in small amounts, beating after each addition, until the frosting reaches your desired consistency. I like to pipe the frosting onto the cupcake, so I need mine a little thicker than I would if I were going to spread it on top instead.
If using, beat in the food coloring (add no more than 1-2 drops or a very small amount at a time, a little red food coloring tends to go a long way) until desired shade of pink is reached.
Frost the cooled cupcakes (I frosted these by fitting a resealable bag with a Wilton #32 decorator tip and piping it onto each cupcake).
Makes 12 cupcakes (you may have leftover frosting depending on how much frosting you like on each cupcake).
Source: adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction