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Iron Cupcake Earth: Herbs

I have to begin by saying...I am on Tyler Florence's Blog!!! Check me out HERE. You too could end up there...just whip up a recipe by Tyler and join us at Tyler Florence Fridays! Tyler. Tyler Florence. Chef Tyler Florence. Tyler Florence Food Network Chef. Shuttin' up. (photo by Scott Jones Southern Living Magazine Jan 2009 issue) ---------------------------------------------------------------- You know, for someone who is not really the biggest cake fan, I have sure been making a whole lotta cupcakes lately!! It's not that I don't like cake, I just like it every once in a while. I've just been experimenting and preparing for the day I need to send cupcakes along with somebody for one reason or another. (Yes, I always answer the question cake or pie? Pie!) When Reeni suggested I enter Iron Cupcake after my last cupcakes, I figured...why not?? You know me, I like a challenge. I am a bit of a challenged baker (again, you know this, right?)...but practice makes perfect, so I'm willing to keep trying. I took inspiration from those oh-so-addicting cookie dough cupcakes this time. Everybody loves surprises, so I like to oblige. Oh, did I mention that this month's challenge is herbs? Why, yes girli, you just did. Good. I immediately knew I was going to use thyme...not just because it's my favorite herb, but because I have a whole stinkin' bunch of it right now. Okay, more than one stinkin' bunch...many stinkin' bunches! My brain then tells me I must pair it with lemon. And my belly grumbles ricotta. This is what brain, my belly and I (we're quite a team) came up with...

Thyme-Infused, Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes by girlichef yield: 24 cupcakes For Filling: 1 c. ricotta cheese 1/4 c. powdered sugar zest of 1 lemon 1 tsp. thyme leaves big pinch sea salt For Cupcakes: 1 (18.5 oz) box white cake mix so what? 1 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (~6 lemons) 2/3 c. ricotta cheese 1/3 c. lemon curd 1/3 c. vegetable oil 3 Tbs. poppy seeds 2 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves, chopped 4 large eggs 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest Start by making the filling, because it needs to chill in the freezer for a while. Mix all of the filling ingredients in medium bowl. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto wax or parchment paper lined sheet pan. Put in freezer for ~1 hour to firm up. Once filling is in the freezer, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat all of cake ingredients until thick and fluffy. Fill prepared cupcake tins (either sprayed or with liners) ~2/3 of the way full. Place one frozen ball of filling on top of each. Yes, these balls are big, your eyes are not deceiving you. I decided it was too much filling, therefore halved it for the final recipe.Bake 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in side (not center, because the filling is there and will be creamy) comes out clean.Frost with your choice of frosting...I actually used cream cheese frosting because I wanted to go into overload. You could go with a buttercream or whipped cream frosting successfully, too. I kid you not, these are super, SUPER rich cuppies!Decorate with some extra lemon zest and a small section of a thyme sprig. Just check out the creamy, creamy insides that is. Click on the Iron Cupcake Badge below to check out Iron Cupcake Earth.

Iron Cupcake Earth has prize packs every month for the winner. This month's prize pack consists of:
-A sweet cupcake ID bracelet by INSANEJELLYFISH
-A delicious treat from CIRCLEMONKEY
-A sweet surprise from Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Cupcakery
-And CAKESPY who will be doing something for the winners each month until further notice.
Corporate Prize providers are:
-HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson