Lemon Berry Shandy Cupcakes

Although Labor Day has passed, it still feels like summer here in Ohio. I’m still clinging to all the wonders that summer brings to the kitchen. Yes, this means I’m still eating zucchini. My fridge is also stocked with some summer brews. One of my favorites has been Leinenkugel’s Lemon Berry Shandy and I decided it would be perfect in a cupcake. Originally, I envisioned topping the cupcake with raspberry buttercream but this post was almost named, “The Raspberry Buttercream Incident of 2013.” More on that later. First, here’s the recipe for Lemon Berry Shandy Cupcakes. A perfect way to say farewell to summer!

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Lemon Berry Shandy Cupcakes
(Adapted from The Brooklyn Baker)

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

Ingredients
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup milk
1 cup Lemon Berry Shandy (or your favorite summer shandy)

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line cupcake pan with liners.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In your mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar gradually and continue to beat until the sugar is completely mixed in.
4. Add the eggs, beating after each.
5. Add the vanilla and lemon juice.
6. Mix the beer and milk in a cup. Add the mixture and the flour alternately.
7. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 18 minutes. Cupcakes should be golden, do the toothpick test to make sure.
8. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost away. If you successfully make raspberry buttercream, I want to hear all about it!
9. Garnish with fruit of your choice if you’re feeling fancy.

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So about that raspberry buttercream…I’ve only strayed from traditional buttercream by making it a little boozy. I was armed with what seemed like a great recipe, but I failed. The fresh raspberries were just too juicy. I decided I had plenty of butter so I tried again. The end result resembled zombie brains and somehow found its way all over my poor kitchen floor. One day, I will conquer the raspberry buttercream. But for now, I picked up some icing from the store and called it a day.

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What has been your favorite recipe this summer? I made this zucchini pasta several times. I also loved making zucchini nachos. Yes, I may need an intervention about my zucchini obsession.

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Summer Kitchen Tunes

In my opinion, nothing takes the stress away like a little baking and dancing to some great tunes. I put together a playlist of what I’ve been stirring and jamming along to recently. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Summer Kitchen Playlist

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Highlights

Closer, Tegan & Sara: I have to admit, I was never a huge fan of this duo but I really like their latest album. Closer is just a perfect belt it and stomp it out song.

Royals, Lorde: Oh my goodness. Obsessed. This girl isn’t even 18 yet and she’s already creating a ton of buzz after the release of her EP. Her debut album is set to drop in September. This song is sassy and I absolutely love it.

If You Didn’t See Me [Then You Weren’t on the Dance Floor], Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.: Hate the name, love the band. Check out the video for this one. I’m pretty sure this song requires some spin moves.

Earthquake Weather, Matt Nathanson: One of my favorite human beings just released his latest album on July 16 (just in time for my birthday). Every single song is fantastic. It’s like a love letter to San Francisco. When my favorite song is constantly changing I know it’s an amazing record.

Call Me Maybe (Cover), Us: I love a good pop song, and you guys, Call Me Maybe is a great pop song. I won’t deny it but this version makes me feel a bit cooler.

What have you been listening to lately? Do you have a genre you like to listen to while you’re in the kitchen?

Zucchini!

For me, nothing says summer like throwing some delicious zucchini in almost every meal I can. Zucchini Bread was a staple in our house growing up. My mom has it down to an art and now I’m going to share it with you!

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Connie’s Zucchini Bread

Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients

2 cups grated zucchini
3 eggs
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce (you could also skip the oil and just do 1 cup applesauce)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray two loaf pans with cooking spray.
2. Grate zucchini.
3. In a large bowl whisk eggs and mix in vegetable oil, applesauce, lemon juice  and vanilla.
4. In a medium bowl mix dry ingredients and add to wet ingredients. Pour in zucchini and mix.
4. Divide batter in loaf plans and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of batter.
5. Bake one hour.

Another one of my favorite ways to enjoy this summer veggie is Zucchini Sticks. I’ve been known to make these every single day. They’re fast, easy and I always have the needed ingredients.

Tried and True Zucchini Sticks

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Ingredients
1 large zucchini
1/4 cup grated parm
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 425 and spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.
2. Cut zucchini in to strips.
3. Combine cheese and bread crumbs in a bowl. Mix egg in another bowl.
4. Coat each stick first with the egg and then roll into bread crumb/cheese mixture, place on cookie sheet.
5. Lightly spray cooking oil over the sticks and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Easily adjustable recipe if you want to make these for a crowd, just create a larger bread crumb and cheese mixture.

For months I was pinning new zucchini recipes to try this summer and these are my favorites so far:

Zucchini Roll-Ups: I used regular goat cheese, added some fresh basil and skipped the capers.
Zucchini Pasta: I use a garlic clove and regular olive oil.

Do you have any favorite zucchini recipes? What foods do you look forward to in the summer?