GRAPEFRUIT CUPCAKES w/ HONEY-GRAPEFRUIT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Newsflash!  Winter is here, and so is the struggle to find fresh and appealing produce to eat and cook with.  Though impressive that my farmer’s market is open year round, even their produce section has been a little bare the past couple of weeks.  But fear not friends, because there is one bright citrus that can bring color and life to the winter blues…the grapefruit!  Indeed, these mouth-puckering fruits are in season, so it’s time to be bold and to search for creative recipes for them.

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I love grapefruits for many reasons, the most dominant because it reminds me of my dad.  Growing up, every winter my family would buy a large box of citrus fruit to support the local marching band (yes, I was in the band).  And every morning during those winters, a grapefruit was breakfast for my dad.  I would watch him methodically cut each section and somehow manage to scoop out every drop of juice.  Of course, back then, grapefruit was much too bitter for my taste, so I practiced his method with oranges instead.
Over the years my taste buds changed.  I now enjoy and appreciate the ruby reds, which brings me to my next creation — grapefruit-flavored cupcakes.  I topped them with a self-crafted cream cheese frosting, which after learning quick-and-dirty style from several YouTube videos, was fun and easy to do.

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GRAPEFRUIT CUPCAKES with HONEY-GRAPEFRUIT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
(made with the help of Alida's Kitchen)
Makes 10-12 cupcakes
Ingredients:
Cupcakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (nonfat or 2% reduced-fat)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. pink grapefruit zest (approximately 1 large grapefruit)
Frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. pink grapefruit zest
2 tsp. pink grapefruit juice
Variations:
Substitutions – Replace grapefruit with any other citrus fruit.
Instructions:
*HINT: Foil cupcake liners work best, but when using paper, spray the liners with cooking spray before filling to reduce sticking.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Fill 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.  Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add eggs; mix until smooth.
  4. To the butter mixture, add half of flour mixture, and combine; repeat with remaining flour mixture.  Add yogurt and vanilla, blending with a rubber spatula.  Fold in zest, mixing until just combined.
  5. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups (about 2/3 full).  Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  Transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  6. To make the frosting, place cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy.  Add powdered sugar slowly, 1/2 cup at a time, until incorporated.  Add vanilla, zest, juice, and honey, beating until smooth.
  7. After cupcakes are completely cooled, frost (frosting tip 1M used in picture).
Note: Because frosting needs to be refrigerated, frost cupcakes immediately before serving for best results.  Frosted cupcakes should not be left in refrigerater for more than a couple days.  Bring cupcakes to room temperature before serving.
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