Nothing says summer to me more than citrus and fresh berries. My favorite combination being lemon and raspberries or lime and raspberries. I absolutely adore fresh raspberries and can't wait for summer and raspberry season.
So, of course I would make a lemon cupcake and top it with fresh Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream. And just to amp that flavor up a bit, I decided to fill the lemon cupcake with lemon curd.
Makes 24 Cupcakes
1 (18 3/4 ounce) box lemon cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
1 (3 oz) box lemon gelatin
3/4 cup lemon lime soda (do not use diet)
1/3 cup key lime juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular size muffin cups. In large bowl, beat cake mix and gelatin with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Add remaining cupcake ingredients. Beat with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds; beat on medium speed additional 2 minutes, scraping bowl as necessary. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.
Bake 17 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan around 10 minutes. Remove from pan to cooling rack and let cool completely.
Zest of 4 lemons
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 egg + 2 egg yolk
In a heavy medium saucepan, stir together the lemon zest, juice and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolk. Whisk the lemon mixture into the eggs to temper them. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat, whisking constantly until it thickens, about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat, and let cool completely.
Fresh Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 lb. (6 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup fresh raspberries rinsed and pureed
To make the frosting, combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl (I used the bowl of my Kitchenaid mixer) set over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F and the sugar has dissolved. (A candy thermometer is crucial anytime you are cooking sugar.)
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (using the bowl of your mixer makes this step a breeze). Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8-10 minutes.
Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated. If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (don't worry, it will come together!). Once all the butter has been incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and switch to the paddle attachment; continue beating on low speed until all the air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Add the Raspberry puree and stir in the vanilla extract. Mix until incorporated.
Assemble the Cupcakes:
Cut a hole into each cupcake with the large end of a melon baller or the back end of a large pastry tip. Or use a Cupcake Corer. Fill each cavity with the lemon curd. Fill a pastry bag with a piping tip (I used Ateco #885) with the fresh Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream and pipe onto each cupcake. Decorate with a lemon flavored chocolate wafer and a Red Chocolate Pearl and dust with Red Sugar Crystals, if desired.
Enjoy this delicious taste of summer...