Raspberry Swirl Lemon Cupcakes..Valentine's Day Special

"Love is a many splendoured thing".
We all know that, don't we? Now while some of us may not think that love is what makes the world go around, the few that are die hard romantics like me would beg to differ. 
For us,love is what makes the world go 'round...and dizzingly so!! And it also makes the ride worthwhile! 

So there. Go on judge me...call me a fool..a silly lil 30 yr old...but here's the fact.
I love being in love. 
I love having someone to love and to cherish, to care for and to call my own. 
I love my dear daddylonglegs and babyD to bits...
and yes, I would fly him to the moon and back if needed. 

I wish Simplicity was my middle name. It isn't. But the first dish from the "built for love" dessert series I bring to you is.. 
If its simplicity that makes your amore swoon, make these and sit back as he swoons all over you, after he polishes off these of course! 
Enough of the mush though!
While I am celebrating love, and cooking...I can't of course NOT share this delightful little experience I had in the kitchen with my baby girl.

All of 3, she is immensely interested in cooking and ever so curious as to what mama's baking!
Now originally, I had planned to do ombre raspberry frosting for the cupcakes ,but the poor darling wore such a sad look (not to mention the tantrum she threw) when I said she can't do it, that I just didnt have the heart to stop her.

After all isn't this the day I had been waiting for in my heart??
The day my baby would share my passion for cooking and share the kitchen with me? 
Coz isn't cooking or rather making a mess in the kitchen with my mom how I really learnt the nuances of cooking? 
Coz look at that sweet little face and tell me you could say no to it??

End result: the ombre cupcakes had to do with being simply frosted cupcakes. 
She spread the frosting on all..and I laid on the decoratives...
We licked our fingers ..and knives clean... 
ate many a few choc bars kept to be shaved on top...
competed with eating the butterscotch chips and all in all had the most amazingly loving time ever. 
Coz in the end, thats what Valentine's Day Celebration is to me. 

PS: My 3 yr old frosted these vanilla cupcakes..so it may not look neat or professional, but they tasted super yum with the taste of raspberries...and a soft and spongy cupcake base.

As a special treat for my friends at the fiesta, I am going to bring this to the party! Lets get started folks..and there can be no better way than this to welcome my dear friend Sonal @simplyvegetarian777 and Josette @thebrookcook in their new roles as the co-hosts! 
And here's hoping the "Amazing Angie" of https://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/ as I like to call her gets her work sorted out soon and makes me swoon with some of her fabulous dishes again!
Here's to a sweet start ladies.... 

For the Cupcakes:

2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen (thawed and drained)
1 tablespoon plus 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 cup buttermilk (see Tip)

8 ounces cream cheese , at room temperature (available at most gourmet stores)
1 cup packed confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

To prepare cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups with paper liners; coat the liners with cooking spray or butter.
Puree 2 cups raspberries and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, pressing with a rubber spatula to extract all the puree; discard seeds. Reserve 4 teaspoons of the puree for the frosting.
Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
Beat 3/4 cup granulated sugar and oil in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Beat in eggs, vanilla and 1 teaspoon lemon zest until well combined. With the beater on low, alternately mix in the dry ingredients and buttermilk, starting and ending with dry ingredients and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined.
Fill the prepared cups half full of batter. Place a scant tablespoon of raspberry puree on each cup (you may have some left over). Divide the remaining batter evenly among the cups. Use a wooden skewer or toothpick to swirl and fold the puree into the batter.
Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

To prepare frosting:
Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest and the reserved 4 teaspoons raspberry puree with an electric mixer until smooth. Refrigerate the frosting until very cold, at least 2 hours. Spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes and decorate as desired.
I topped it with butterscotch..and a dusting of cocoa powder alongwith some cake decorative

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