Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hello, cupcake!

Have you ever made a batter that was so unbelievably good, you couldn't get it in the oven soon enough for fear you would devour every last bit of it, raw eggs and all?  Or icing that's so addicting you just want to pipe it into your mouth instead of on the cake? Usually, cookie dough is my downfall.  Until yesterday.  May I present to you my new favorite cupcake...Lemon Zest Cupcakes.  Or Lemony Goodness Cupcakes.  I haven't quite decided. But they are cupcakes with lemon zest, juice, extract. You name it. And they are amazing. 

I came across this recipe the other day on a new blog and immediately knew I had to try these.  For one, I love lemon bars, lemon meringue pie, lemon girl scout cookies. All of the above.  Also, I've been looking for a few cake recipes to try out for my friend's wedding---she's asked me to do the groom's "cup"cakes and he's more of a lemon guy than chocolate.  I plan to do a few different flavors, lemon now being one of them.

The cake was moist and delicious---maybe the buttermilk use?  And the icing is cream-cheesey with a hint of lemon that makes you slightly pucker your mouth. 

Carrot cake move aside.  This lemon stuff is where it's at. 

Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting 

For the Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
lemon zest from two lemons
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
Center a rack in the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cupcake tins by using liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extracts, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Place the batter into the cupcake tins.

Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean.  Cool on wire rack.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 (8) ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
juice of one lemon
Using a mixer, blend the butter and cream cheese together until well combined. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated. Finally mix in vanilla and lemon juice.