I was looking for a light, fresh cupcake to take to a friend who is in the hospital. I found a bunch of lemon cupcake recipes online, but I liked how much lemon this one had in it. It is so easy for flavors to get lost sometimes. These were good, and trust me, they were not too lemony! We have some to eat around here because I completely over-baked the first batch (the original recipe called for 30 min. My other batch was done in about 22!). Oh well, more for Josh to eat!Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream
adapted from Tea Journal, makes ~24 cupcakes
frosting adapted from this post
1 cup of butter (2 sticks, room temperature)
2 cups sugar
3 Tbsp lemon zest (zest from 1 large lemon)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cake flour (I used 1 c. ap minus 2 Tbsp., + 2 Tbsp. cornstarch)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
Juice from 1 1/2 lemons
1/2 cup sugar
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 c. butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 less fat)
2-3 c. confectioners sugar
1 tsp. lemon extract
zest from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 a lemon sliced into small sections for garnish, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray muffin tins and dust with flour. Alternatively, you can line the tins with cupcake liners, however, there is a step that follows baking that can leave your cupcake liners somewhat sticky. If you don't mind sticky cupcake liners, then use the liners instead of spraying and flour dusting.
2. Cream butter and sugar together at medium speed for about 5 minutes. Do not skimp on this step, it greatly affects the texture of the cupcakes.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, to creamed mixture, blending well before adding another egg. Add lemon zest, and blend well, taking time to scrape down the sides of the bowl of your mixer and the mixer blade. The zest accumulated on the blade for me when I made these, so do make sure that you scrape the blade to make sure that the zest gets well incorporated.
4. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In a different bowl, mix together the lemon juice, milk and vanilla and lemon extracts. Gradually add 1/3 of the flour mixture, blend, and then half of the lemon juice mixture, blend. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, blend, the last of the lemon juice mixture, blend, and finish up with the last of the flour mixture. Mix for about 20 seconds on medium speed, making sure that batter is well blended but do not over mix.
5. Scoop batter evenly into muffin tins, filling each cup about 2/3 full. (This makes about 24 cupcakes.) Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Cupcakes are done when a wooden skewer inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Now for the sticky part!
6. Juice 1 1/2 lemons, and pour into a small saucepan with 1/2 cup of sugar. Heat over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved.
7. Using a wooden skewer, poke several holes into the crown of the cupcake. You should drive the skewer through to almost the bottom of the cupcake, as you want the syrup to be absorbed throughout the cake.
8. Now, spoon the lemon juice syrup over the cupcake. It is best to place the cupcakes on a cooking rack and place wax paper or newspaper underneath to catch the drippings. Allow the syrup to absorb into the cupcake. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
9. For frosting, mix butter and cream cheese until smooth. Mix in lemon extract and zest. Slowly add the powdered sugar until you get the desired sweetness.
10. I put my frosting in a bag and pipe in onto the cupcakes because I find it neater and easier this way (and faster too, actually). Top with a small slice of lemon for garnish if desired, or add some yellow sprinkles.
Very yummy, the ones I didn't overbake were better. The cream cheese was a great pair with the light, lemon cakes. A tip: I don't think I made big enough "skewer holes." This was my first time using a simple syrup in a cupcake, and most of it ran off the top and dribbled down the sides. If the holes were a little bigger, more syrup would be absorbed by the cupcake. Make the holes near the center, and you will have no problems covering them up with frosting.