Blueberry-Orange Zest Cupcakes with Citrus Frosting

Warm weather brings with it the fondest memories that leave you nostalgic for bare feet and green grass; blue, sunny skies; tiny, baby buds on the tips of every branch; and the scent of fresh, damp air waiting to turn into rain. Spring is such a tease sometimes.

Iowa's been mid-50's to low-60's for much of the week and that was enough for me to want spring to arrive sooner. I was inspired to bake something I could enjoy on those early foggy mornings with a warm cup of coffee while waiting for the sun. 

Ingredients (frosting)
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 TBS vanilla extract
2 TBS orange zest
2 TBS orange juice
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Directions (frosting)
Mix cream cheese, vanilla, and butter until creamy. Add orange juice and orange zest. Gradually add powdered sugar into the mixture until thick or until it is enough to accommodate to your desired consistency. Let cool in fridge for 1-2 hours.

Ingredients (batter)
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temp)
3 eggs (room temp)
1 3/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
dash of cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. milk
3 TBS orange zest
1 TBS vanilla extract

Directions (batter)
Preheat the oven to 350* and line a cupcake baking tray with paper cups or parchment paper.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the butter and eggs until creamy. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Combine these two and mix well. In another bowl, mix sugar, milk, vanilla, and orange zest. Gradually pour the flour mixture into the sugar mixture until a thick batter forms. 

Fill each paper cup with a little more than half of the batter. Drop/press 4-5 blueberries on top of the batter. Fill the paper cups again with remaining batter-enough to cover the blueberries. Bake for 17-20 minutes. 

Once finished, set aside to cool completely before frosting.
Garnish with fresh blueberries, fresh mint leaflets, or sprinkle with orange zest.