April 01, 2013

lemony cupcakes

With spring here, I was inspired to make lemon cupcakes to bring to share with friends at our long-weekend luncheon.

You'll definitely need fresh lemons for these cupcakes.  Nothing can replace the aroma you get from the fresh lemon zest.  It's amazing.

At first, I thought I'd add a tiny drop of yellow food colouring to the icing, but the lemon zest added such a nice soft yellow colour that I didn't want to mess with.

Warning about the cake part of this recipe:  you have to let the cupcakes completely cool before you can peel the cupcake liner.  I tried pulling one of them off when the cupcake was hot, and the whole thing fell about in my hands.  Actually, come to think of it, I think this is a good rule for all cupcakes, not just these ones. :)

I love this trick for filling a piping bag: place the bag into a glass, and voila! it's ready to be easily filled with icing.

Here's the recipe!

Lemony Cupcakes
adapted from The Alchemist

1 stick of butter
1/4 fresh lemon juice
1/4 water
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup yogurt or sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large saucepan melt the butter with the lemon juice and water on medium high heat. When the butter is melted remove from heat. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the yogurt, beaten egg, vanilla extract and lemon zest and whisk together. In a seperate bowl whisk the flour, salt and baking soda together, then whisk the dry ingredients into the batter. 

Prepare muffin pans with cupcake liners. Pour (or ladle) the batter in a measuring cup with a spout (or a similar vessel with a pouring spout) and pour the batter into the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. 

Cool cupcakes on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. 

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick of butter, room temperature
100g cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest from 1/2 lemon

Using a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer beat the butter and cream cheese together , about 1-2 mins. 

Add about half of the powdered sugar, the vanilla, lemon zest and juice, then beat well, but start off on low until the sugar is mixed in, so it doesn't go flying all over the kitchen. 

Once it is incorporated add the rest of the sugar, (start on low again) then increase to high speed and beat until very fluffy, about 3-5 mins.

Using a piping bag, frost the cupcakes once they're completely cooled down.


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