Thursday, October 11, 2012

Blueberry Lime Cupcakes: On taking drugs

I've been suffering these past six weeks with a massive attack of eczema, probably having to do with something that is in the air combined with intense stress.  This eczema has literally led me to scratch wildly at my skin during inappropriate times and caused me to scratch myself up so badly that I have scabs and raw patches all over.  It's not pretty.  The itching gets so frenetic at night that Husband has to shake me awake and tell me to stop.  But I can't.  I have to scratch where it itches.  It's compulsive and it's necessary.  I suddenly have a whole lot more sympathy for Son and other babies with eczema as it is just so completely frustrating to live this way.

I knew that if I took antihistamines I would probably find some measure of relief as I was fairly certain it was an allergic reaction.  Only I couldn't take antihistamines because they destroy me.  They literally leave me too groggy to function (all antihistamines, even those touted as being "non-drowsy") and I've fallen asleep standing up, the effect is so strong.  Husband begged me to take something and my response was, "If I take something I can't do what I have to do and that is be a mother who is on top of everything and a teacher who gets the teaching done."  Antihistamines would cause me to destruct and leave me non-functioning.

I promised Husband however, that once Daughters were on break, I'd try taking some, if only at night, if only to help me sleep.  He gave me many exasperated looks not understanding WHY I had to wait six weeks to treat my problem, and my answer?  I can SLEEP IN when Daughters are on break. I don't HAVE to be awake at the crack of down.  I can be conked out in the bed until 8 and not have to dash around so maniacally in the morning.

Even with those crazy reassurances to myself about how the antihistamines were going to be okay, it took a few days before I would allow myself to take it, even once Daughters were on break.  The first day I decided to take them, my desire to scratch myself to death was so strong that I took it mid-afternoon.  It began affecting my teaching so that I taught standing up for two hours, chewing wildly at several pieces of gum that I shoved into my mouth.  Students told me that I was talking more wildly and more animated than usual, and I attributed it to the gum.  Really it was my insane desire to stay awake and not come crashing to the ground.

The next day, I woke up so groggy, but discovered that I was knocked out enough NOT to scratch.  The next evening I took another and slept in a bit the following morning.  It appears that my body does like the antihistamines; I just don't like the way I feel on them.  It also has shown me that I really do need to take better care of myself.  If only cupcakes could cure my ills the way the antihistamines try to, I'd be a lot happier.

These are a blueberry lime cupcake - the cake itself is light and fluffy, filled with blueberries (fresh or frozen) and the hint of lime in the cake and sprinkled on top means that these are not your average cupcake.  The color is striking and the flavor is enough to convince me that I'm not itchy right now.

Blueberry Lime Cupcakes
Makes 30 regular cupcakes, 60 mini cupcakes

Lemon Cake
2 cups regular sugar
2 tablespoon lemon zest
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs (taken out of the fridge the same time as the butter)
1¼ cup buttermilk
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup washed fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake tins with paper liners.

In a food processor, pulverize together lime zest and sugar.  (Doing so releases the lime oils.)

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl with a hand mixer or a stand mixer, blend softened butter and lime sugar until thoroughly combined.  Add eggs, one at a time and beat until well mixed, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is well blended.

Add half of flour mixture and mix until just combined. and add half of buttermilk and mix until just combined. Scrape down sides of the bowl.  Add remaining half of flour mixture, mix until just combined and then add remaining buttermilk.  Mix until just combined.again.  At this stage, the less you mix the better for your cake.  (too much mixing makes for a tough cake.)  Remove mixer blades, and gently fold in blueberries with a spatula.

Divide cake into prepared muffin pans.  Bake for mini cupcakes for 20 to 22 minutes, regular cupcakes for 22 to 24 minutes, or until cake springs back when gently pressed with fingertips.  Cool for 20 minutes, then remove cake from pans and cool on wire racks until completely cool.

Blueberry Frosting
Makes enough to frost 30 regular cupcakes, or 60 mini

1 cup of butter, slightly softened (room temperature for about 20 minutes)
8 oz of cream cheese (room temperature for 5 minutes)
1.2 oz (34 grams) freeze dried blueberries, pulverized in a mini food processor (but not too far ahead of time, otherwise they will begin to absorb moisture) ** Freeze dried fruit has a silica gel packet - do not pulverize this!
5-6 cups of confectioners sugar

Lime zest for garnish

In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer or a stand mixer, mix butter until it is softened and uniform. Add cream cheese and beat together until it is uniform. Add pulverized blueberries. Add 3 cups of sugar to the mixture and mix. Add 2 more cups of sugar. Mix again until mixture is creamy and spreadable. Add more sugar if necessary, otherwise prepare to frost cupcakes.

You can frost with a knife, or you can using a pastry bag and a 1M Wiltons star tip to make the rosettes.  Start in the middle of the cupcake, hold the tip perpendicular to the cupcake (pointing straight down) and swirl outwards.

Garnish with a sprinkling of lime zest.

Printable recipe

If only they made medicines like cupcakes.


Em said...

how did you get the cupcakes to perfectly dome out of the cases like this?!
looks soooo goooooooooooooood x

ann said...

Hi Joanne, these cupcakes look divine!

Regarding the eczema bout you are going through at the moment, unless you are lactose inlolerant, please try half a cup of organic plain yogurt each day. It has helped me and countless others. Please try it for at least 5 days and let me know the outcome.

LadySaotome said...

My sympathies! I actually had an allergic reaction (contact dermatitis) from Tide Pods last weekend. Hives over 90% of my body for 2 days. Antihistamines were the only way I made it. I don't know if eczema works the same way but I found Aveeno colloidal oatmeal baths to be a huge relief. As well as their colloidal oatmeal lotions, body wash, etc. Oh, and those cupcakes look divine!

Javelin Warrior said...

With the eczema bout and antihistamines, I'm shocked you had enough energy and patience to make such gorgeous cupcakes! When I take an antihistamine, I typically get crazy sleeping and am zonked out for hours. Cupcakes would be completely out of the question. These sounds so good and I'm featuring this post in today's Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution as always). Thanks for continuing to inspire me with your creations...

Katie Mar said...

wow these look so good! also, i love the color combination of the limes and blueberries.

Amber said...

The title says lime, but the recipe says lemon-- are they interchangeable?

Amber said...

So, having made these tonight, I have some experiences to share.:-) I had to bake mine about five minutes longer, in FL (not sure if the whole altitude plays a part). The batter is probably also a little better suited for mini cupcakes. That said,I had 30 generously-sized cupcakes. There was plenty of frosting to do a nice rosette.

Oh, and they are freaking delicious.

suzana martin said...

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Anonymous said...

I just made this recipe and it lies! I now have over 80 of the most delectable, mildly sweet, pop of blueberry juicy mini cupcakes. I can't wait to make the icing tomorrow and finish them off. Thank you.


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