For the first 20 or so years of my life, July was always a quiet time, made for lolling around in shorts and flip flops, taking my summer vacation strictly at its word. It was too hot to move or be busy or do anything other than sit in the shade (or in the house) with a good book and an ice-packed glass of water, so that is what I did.
Then, quite without warning, for the past three years July has become a month of activity: finding apartments, moving, traveling, working and generally running around a city that literally stinks in hot weather. (I love you NYC, but your eau de rotting trash is a major mark against you.) Yet again, I find myself barging into strangers’ apartments every night, hoping to find a little room that’s perfect for me. A responsible person would also start packing, but instead, I’ve used “moving soon” as an excuse to postpone the cleaning of my closet.
In the middle of this maelstrom, I’ll be traveling to Mexico. (Wait what? [Yes, I've been keeping secrets. Must be something I picked up while watching my new show of the week.]) I’m going to Los Cabos on a press trip, representing The Daily Meal. I couldn’t be more excited, and I can’t believe I leave in 8 days (!!!) — rest assured, there will be more to come on this.
All of this is to say that I could really use a day off. Thankfully, the Founding Fathers chose to give me one in the form of the Fourth of July, and while I don’t love that it’s on a Wednesday, I do love sleeping in and going to brunch and picnicking in the park and cute little red-white-and-blue mini berry yogurt cheesecake cupcakes.
Seriously, could they get any cuter?
The recipe comes from Gina at Skinny Taste, my current food blog crush (those pictures!) and could not be easier. Mini vanilla wafers form the cheesecake “crust,” softening and melting as they absorb the liquid from the cheesecake batter. The cheesecake batter itself is a cinch to make, tangy and creamy but airy and light. Topped off with ripe summer berries, it’s definitely a crowd pleaser, whether you’re taking them to your cookout today, eating them solo tomorrow (thank goodness for extras!) or making them just because sometimes, a night should end with a little cheesecake.
Berry Yogurt Cheesecake Cupcakes
Recipe from Skinny Taste
I only have mini cupcake tins, and the Upper East Side Fairway, in a weird moment of synergy, only had mini cupcake liners. That never happens! But if you’re using regular cupcakes, buy regular-sized vanilla wafers and make 12 cupcakes.
– 24 mini vanilla wafers
– 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 6 ounces fat-free Greek yogurt
– 2 large egg whites
– 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
– 8 ounces strawberries, hulled and sliced thin
– 6 ounces blueberries
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line your cupcake tin with liners. Put a wafer at the bottom of each liner.
2) Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the yogurt, egg whites and flour, and beat gently — do not over-mix. Spoon the cheesecake batter into the cupcake liners, filling only halfway.
3) Bake for 12-17* minutes or until the center is almost set. Cool to room temperature then chill at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.
4) Top with the berries and serve.
*If you’re using regular-sized cupcakes, your baking time might be closer to 20-25 minutes.