Sunday, May 16, 2010

Poppyseed Lemonade Cupcakes

Raise your hand if you suffered through a very long, very painful, calorie-busting hour of "Skinny Jeans" and then promptly donned sweatpants and consumed twice as many calories in cupcake batter and cream cheese frosting as you burned doing squats to Poker Face.  Proof that exercise actually causes weight gain!  Luckily, I think the hedonistic pleasure of stuffing these scrumptious cupcakes into my cheeks more than compensated for my wasted workout.

I normally consider baking from a box to be a form of cheating, but I like to bend the rules when it comes to cake mixes because they make damn good cakes.  And if I doctor the mix, it basically counts as a scratch cake!

These cupcakes were especially satisfying because I made them entirely out of ingredients I had on hand.  An old bag of poppy seeds, the sad little half-package of cream cheese in the fridge, and a redolent lemon that had tumbled into the grass from its perch on the lemon bush combined with pantry staples and a cake mix to make a batch of fluffy, citrusy, springtime treats.  These would be really cute if you topped them with sugared lavender or rose petals, but even I'm not crazy enough to have those on hand! Although, I do have roses in my garden, and the recipe for sugared blossoms committed to memory... but I wanted instant, workout-negating, my-ass-will-hurt-for-the-next-three-days-so-I-deserve-it, gratification.  That's why I love cake mixes!  So easy, so yummy, so EVIL...

Cupcake Ingredients
1 butter recipe golden cake mix (butter recipe is always better because butter is always better)
The things the cake mix tells you to use (probably a stick of butter and two or three eggs - check the box)
1 LARGE lemon (mine was the size of a softball, no joke)
2t. poppy seeds, plus extra for decorating

Frosting Ingredients
4oz cream cheese
1 stick of butter, softened
3c. powdered sugar
1t. vanilla

To make the cupcakes, follow the cake mix directions for preheating the oven, and prepare your muffin tins by either lightly buttering each muffin-well, or filling the tins with cupcake wrappers.  Obviously in my lazy state I went with the latter.  Zest and juice the lemon.  Check to see how much water your cake mix requires.  Pour the lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup, and then add water until you have the amount of liquid specified by the cake mix directions.  In a medium bowl, combine the lemon-water with the cake mix, the other ingredients called for by the mix (e.g., butter and eggs), and the zest of the lemon.  Add the poppy seeds and beat on low speed until thoroughly mixed.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for the time specified on the cake mix box (aaah this recipe is such a cop-out... but it's goooood).  The cake is done cooking when a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

While the cupcakes bake, make the frosting.  Beat the cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar half a cup at a time (adding it little by little will prevent a cloud of powdered sugar dust from erupting over your kitchen), mixing slowly and thoroughly after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla.

When the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost with the cream cheese frosting, and sprinkle with poppy seeds (or sugar encrusted rose petals...).  Eat cupcakes as needed with a glass of milk to mitigate muscle pain caused by Skinny Jeans workouts.  Doctor's orders.

Not much of a sweet tooth?  Check out Evil Batch's new savory-sister blog, Wicked Lickens, jointly edited by me and my beau.  First up, bacon-salmon sandwiches!

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