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Celebrate spring with these festive cupcakes

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - 12:01 am

Bright citrusy flavors. Splashes of colorful sugary confetti. Rich creamy frosting flecked with berries.

These cupcakes have it all and are a perfect way to welcome spring. We start with a moist white chocolate cake recipe, but infuse it with lemon and lime zest so the flavor pops that much more. Then we spike the cake with confetti — finely chopped jelly beans. Finally, we top it all with a cream cheese frosting blended with raspberry jam.

Resist the urge to use a food processor to chop the jelly beans; we tried and it doesn't work. Just use a good knife and finely chop them. Sprinkling them with a bit of flour while chopping will help keep them from sticking to the knife.

Pectin jelly beans may be a little harder to find than the regular variety; you'll need to read the ingredient list to find them. But the pectin variety will have a better texture when baked. The more common cornstarch-based variety will still work if you can't find the pectin kind, but be extra diligent about finely chopping them, as they sink even more readily.

Fruit punch spring cupcakes

Start to finish: 1 hour (20 minutes active)

Makes 12 standard cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup superfine sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 lime

2 whole eggs

2 egg yolks

1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted, plus extra

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup milk

4 ounces white chocolate bits, melted

8 1/2 -ounce bag (about 1 cup) pectin-based jelly beans, finely chopped and tossed with a bit of flour to coat

For the frosting:

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup raspberry jam

Heat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake papers.

In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla, and both zests until light and fluffy. Add the whole eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating thoroughly between each addition.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix half of the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture, then half of the milk. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk.

Gently but thoroughly fold in first the melted white chocolate, then the bits of jelly beans. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin cups, filling them three-quarters full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack and cool completely.

To make the frosting, in a large bowl use an electric mixer to beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the raspberry jam and stir until just combined. Spread or pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Nutrition information per serving: 470 calories; 240 calories from fat (51 percent of total calories); 27 g fat (16 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 130 mg cholesterol; 53 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 34 g sugar; 5 g protein; 180 mg sodium.