Semi-Homemade Lemon Cupcakes with Chardonnay Buttercream Frosting

Happy May! Do you realize how many holidays there are to celebrate this month? May Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, my birthday(!) and Memorial Day to name a few. Maybe you want to wow mom with a great homemade treat, but have only ever made dessert straight from the box and a tub of Pillsbury frosting? This recipe will have everyone thinking you made it from scratch, but in half the amount of time (Yup, cat’s out of the bag my fellow co-workers… I didn’t make the cupcakes from scratch last week. Oops!).

Boxed cake cupcakes are easy to glam up with a simple homemade frosting, and trust me, homemade frosting is a lot simpler than you may think. Most frosting consists only of a butter or cream cheese base, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract.

For these cupcakes, I wanted to use my Chardonnay Buttercream Frosting recipe, so I chose a lemon cake. Lemon and grapefruit usually pair well with the citrus flavors of the wine. For a lighter (and not so sweet) option, this chardonnay cake recipe with hints of orange (minus the almond sugar crust) also makes a great pairing. If you want more details on how I edited the chardonnay cake recipe for my treat, leave a comment or send an email!

I followed the ingredients and directions on a lemon boxed cake mix, and also added a package of lemon instant pudding to the mix to make them extra moist. I’ve learned you can add a package of instant pudding mix to almost any type of cake to keep it moist for longer. Now for the frosting…

Chardonnay Buttercream Frosting

1/2 lb. European-style butter, at room temperature (I used Kerrygold’s Irish)
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons Chardonnay

Cream the butter with an electric mixer, or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on medium to high speed for about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese and continue to mix on medium to high speed for another 2 minutes or until soft and creamy!

Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated, adding the last 2 cups of powdered sugar, and then increase speed to high speed and mix for another minute.

Add salt, lemon juice and chardonnay and mix on medium until the salt and liquid are incorporated. Refrigerate to stiffen before frosting cupcakes.

Frosted cupcakes should be refrigerated before serving. If you let them sit out too long, the butter in the frosting will start to melt!

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