Double Lemon Cupcakes and Enough Already with the Cupcakes!

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Everyone is good and sick of cupcakes, right? I remember watching Maggie Gyllenhaal raving about Magnolia Bakery cupcakes and doing a blind taste test on the Isacc Mizrahi show back in 2003 (where I also saw Nikka Costa sing Everybody Got Their Something and I immediately downloaded three of her songs). Anyway, let's call that the official start of an onslaught of cupcake gushing, competitions, blogs and cute bakery boutiques bursting with rick-rack trim, gingham and pink cheer.

What's wrong with a good layer cake? Maybe it's part of the social isolation in our culture where people don't gather to share a cake, but connect via facebook, instagram etc, and therefore only have need for individual cupcakes. "I'm eating an a-m-a-z-i-n-g cupcake right now (click, post)."

It does take care of that "my piece is smaller than yours" thing that happens when you're sharing and also you can pick different flavors to please different types. But still, enough. They're just cupcakes. Let's focus on something more important like why the weather is so nuts, the growing disparity between the haves and have-nots or why kosher salt feels like an undead pet on your tongue (true - heard a salt expert from Portland, naturally, talking about this on the radio today). Maybe salt is the next cupcake - beware.

Strange rant on a day when I'm making...cupcakes. But I'm baking for the Jr High Bake Sale (really - they allow homemade treats and I feel so motherly) and they needed individual pieces. I just hope the kids talk to each other when they eat them. Tough to text, peel and eat a cupcake all at the same time?

This recipe is adapted from Billy's Bakery via Martha Stewart and produces moist cupcakes with great lemon flavor. The frosting has lemon too - so you get some extra pucker.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Double Lemon Cupcakes 
adapted slightly from Billy's Bakery via Martha Stewart

Makes approx. 24

1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons lemon zest (from 2 large lemons)
4 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350ยช and line cupcake tins with paper cups.

2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk into a cloud (or just until blended).

3. Add butter cubes and mix with a electric mixer just until coated with flour.

4. Whisk eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and milk in a bowl and add to flour. Mix until blended (but still lumpy - batter will be thick).

5. Fill liners 2/3 with batter and bake approx. 15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

1/4 cup lemon juice (from approx. 2 lemons)
1/4 cup sugar
2 8-ounce blocks cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

1. Put lemon juice and sugar in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Turn heat down to low and let reduce to a thick syrup, about 5-10 minutes (watch carefully - you don't want it to get dark). Cool completely (I put in fridge to speed this up).

2. Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Add lemon syrup and beat until incorporated. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth.

3. Frost cooled cupcakes using a pastry bag with large tip, a plastic bag with the tip cut off, or an offset spatula. Serve cupcakes immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve (but bring to room temp for best flavor/texture).

Finished lemon syrup


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