Comfort. It’s the familiar smell of your boyfriend. It’s the first glimpse of home around the bend in the road. It’s the feel of a hot shower after a cold day.
It’s the look of butter sitting on the counter waiting to be part of something delicious.
It’s the sound of three friends, roommates, back together after months apart.
I spent the last weekend in Bethesda, Maryland visiting a roommate from college with another roommate but missing our fourth wheel. We’ve seen each other in the years since graduation but always for a dinner here, drinks there, never for any longer than a few hours. And while a few hours is plenty when you don’t see each other often, it’s never enough and it never feels the same as college. Until you spend a weekend together staying up late, shopping, people-watching, and, of course, judging everything from wedding dresses (One of us is engaged. It’s not me. Have no fear.) to how people are sometimes rude to servers at creperies. It’s that quality time when no one has anything better to do or anything next up on the long list for the day. That’s the feeling of comfort. Being with the people you love even if it’s in a place you’ve never been. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend away to recharge.
When I’m home, comfort is everything I listed before. I know and love how Boy smells both when he’s freshly showered and when he’s just come from a run. (This smell I don’t love AS much and it’s a very VERY transient love but it’s a love either way.) I adore the sight of my parents’ home, especially in the spring when all the trees lining the street are the perfect shade of green. I’ve learned to savor the feel of a shower at the end of the day instead of rushing through one in the beginning.
I’m so used to the look of butter on the counter that when it’s not there I feel a pang in my heart and a new idea churning in my head.
I had been thinking about a berry and lemon cake for a few days but had no time to experiment. I’m glad for it though because I loved the recipe I found. These cupcakes were lovely and comforting and best of all can easily be adapted to whatever berry you have in your fridge or freezer. The lemon flavor is present in every way but perfectly complementary and by no means empowering. I’ll definitely be making/adapting these again!
Lemon-scented Blueberry Cupcakes
Adapted from myrecipes
Makes 12. Perfect for spelling “Happy Bday Pat” (or any other 3-lettered name/nickname).
3/4 c fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
1 1/2 c plus 2 tbsp flour, divided [set aside the 1 tbsp of flour for the blueberries]
10 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 c butter, melted
1 large egg
1/2 c buttermilk [or mix milk and vinegar]
1/2 c 2% reduced-fat milk
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 c (2 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 c powdered sugar, sifted
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350. Line 12 muffin/cupcake cups.
Toss blueberries with 1 tbsp flour. Sift together remaining flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together melted butter and egg. Add both milks and lemon rind. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir just until moist. Fold blueberries into batter. Divide batter into prepared muffin cups.
Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes on a wire rack then remove from pan and allow to cool completely on wire rack.
For the frosting, beat everything but the powdered sugar and lemon juice with a mixer at medium speed until blended. Gradually add powdered sugar until just combined. Don’t overbeat. Stir in juice. Add coloring if desired.
Frost, garnish with blueberries if desired, and call it a day!
So fresh-tasting you’ll definitely want more than one!