Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Icing
The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, May 6th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman
Lemon Cupcakes Perfect for Spring
I know that the weather for the past several weeks has been very unspring like, but spring is here, and we need to enjoy it before the heat and humidity of the summer lurks in. I have always been someone who loves all four seasons, but spring has always been my favorite, followed by the fall. Spring is a time where, after a long winter, trees and flowers start to bloom and the weather starts warming up, without the humidity, and it feels like Mother Nature is offering everyone everywhere a “rebirth” of sorts. When I think of spring flavors I think of citrus flavors like lemon, orange, lime and pineapple. I also think about lighter feeling meals and lighter desserts that are deliciously tasty but do not weight down your body or stomach. When developing recipes, I often think of the season they will be enjoyed in and some of the seasonal aspects of what is fresh for that time of year. That is where this recipe started.
In the past I have experimented with all types of “fruit brownies” such as orange brownies, lemon brownies, lime brownies, strawberry brownies and even tropical pineapple brownies but this time I wanted to change things up and create a light, but flavorful, cupcake. I also wanted to create a glaze, or an icing, instead of a thick heavy frosting for the top. The cupcakes call for fresh lemon zest and fresh lemon juice, which is very important for the overall fresh flavor. Fresh lemon juice is also called for in my icing. You can decorate the tops of these with a piece of candied lemon, a sprinkling of lemon zest, a dash of lemon sugar or simply leave them undecorated and with a smooth and shiny top. The best part of these cupcakes may be that they are extremely versatile. If you do not care for lemon, simply replace the measurements below with fresh orange, lime or even pineapple! This recipe is simply amazing.
Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Icing
These cupcakes can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. I prefer eating these chilled, so feel free to store inside the refrigerator as well. Always use fresh lemon juice and never the bottled variety. There is no substitute for fresh lemon zest or fresh lemon juice. Also remember to zest your lemons first before cutting and juicing. To get the most juice from your lemons, roll the lemons back and forth across your cutting board before cutting or place in microwave for about 10 seconds to get the juices flowing.
For the cupcakes…
1 stick unsalted butter, soft
1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup whole milk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
For the icing…
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
Fresh lemon juice
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-count cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a large bowl combine the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar and beat together until light in color and fluffy in texture. Add in the large eggs and pure vanilla extract and beat until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth and glossy.
In a separate bowl combine the white all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together well until all dry ingredients are combined and free of lumps.
Add the dry ingredients gradually to the beaten butter and sugar until combined, being careful not to over mix the batter. Add in the whole milk, fresh lemon zest and fresh lemon juice and beat just until the batter has come together and is light and glossy.
Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Once baked, remove and allow to cool to room temperature before icing.
To make the icing, combine the confectioners’ sugar and whole milk in a bowl with a whisk. Slowly add in fresh lemon juice until the desired constancy is reached. I prefer a thinner icing for these cupcakes, but a thicker icing can be made by adding less fresh lemon juice.
Prepare the cupcakes by icing the tops, serve and enjoy.
Ask and Answer: I heard from so many of my readers with my previous column dedicated to my sweet fur baby Macy. Thank you all for your kind words and thoughtful messages. So many of you wanted to know if I had any more “doggie recipes” and I have a few but want to remind everyone to check with your dog’s veterinarians and ask about any possible food allergies. Dogs, just like humans, may have food allergies that a person would need to know about before providing or recommending any specific recipes. I will, however, recommend a cookbook for those interested. “Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook” By: The Bubba Rose Biscuit Company is a wonderful resource for those looking for safe and non-toxic “doggie recipes”.