Luscious Lemon Cupcakes

I recently discovered Russian ball tips. My best friend, Valentina, thinks this sounds like something dirty and inappropriate — but they’re piping tips, people, so CALM DOWN. Anyway, I was itching to use my new gadgets, and with Mother’s Day coming up, this was the perfect excuse to make cupcakes. These cupcakes have a delicate lemon flavour with a very tender crumb thanks to the use of cake flour and the addition of buttermilk in the batter. I’ve paired them with a lemon buttercream frosting that’s super simple to make. This recipe can be easily doubled if you’re making cupcakes for a crowd.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, slightly melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour

Frosting:

  • I cup butter, softened
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • zest and juice from one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and line muffin tin with paper baking cups.
  2. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg, vanilla, lemon juice, zest, salt and baking powder.  Mix until combined.
  4. Add the flour and buttermilk in batches, starting and ending with the flour.  Mix until batter is smooth.
  5. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in centre of a cupcake comes out clean.
  6. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.
  7. For the frosting: using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter.  Whip it good (sorry…couldn’t help  myself.)  Whip the butter until it is very light, fluffy, and almost doubled in volume.  This will take about 10 minutes.
  8. Next, reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar, a half cup at a time.  Mix until the sugar is fully incorporated.
  9. Add in the lemon extract, juice, zest and salt.  Whip for an additional 5 minutes.  If the icing is too soft, add an additional half cup of powdered sugar.

*Yield: 12 cupcakes

Advertisements

Carrot Cupcakes

‘Tis the season for carrot cupcakes.  My favourite part of most cupcakes is the frosting.  Now, there are two camps of people when it comes to cupcakes; the icing-lickers who use the cake part of the cupcake merely as a conduit for the frosting, and then there are those who scrape the icing off and eat only the cake (which is terribly, terribly wrong.)  The icing I use for these babies is a decadent vanilla-bean mascarpone buttercream.  I’m surprised any of it actually made it onto the cupcakes.  For those of you who don’t like the best part of the cupcake, unfrosted carrot cupcakes make great snacks!

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, plus more for garnish (optional)

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup mascarpone, at room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together carrots, eggs, sour cream, sugars, oil and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.  Add walnuts (if using) and stir until fully incorporated.
  5. Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full with batter. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting the cupcakes.
  6. Make frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the butter and mascarpone until light and fluffy.
  7. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
  8. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla bean seeds, the heavy cream and the salt.  Whip until fully combined.  If the icing is too soft, add a bit more powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.  If the frosting is too stiff, add a little heavy cream to thin it out.
  9. Frosted cupcakes can be stored in the fridge for up to three days.

*Yield: 24 cupcakes


Espresso Cupcakes with Mocha Mascarpone Frosting

It was teacher appreciation week recently at my kids’ school.  I wanted to make the deserving and wonderful staff a sweet something to celebrate all they do for our kids.  Cupcakes are always a good idea…but I wanted to make a sophisticated treat for the teachers.  A coffee-flavoured cupcake is what popped into my head.  I topped the cupcakes with chocolate covered espresso beans and a dash of gold sprinkles…because teachers are the best…and I really don’t know how they make it through their day without a whole lotta coffee!!!!!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup espresso, cooled
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup mascarpone, at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

Method:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
    2. In a small bowl, whisk the espresso powder into the brewed espresso until completely dissolved. Add the milk and vanilla extract. Set aside.
    3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    4. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined.
    5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the coffee mixture.  Mix until fully combined.
    6. Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full with batter. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting the cupcakes.
    7. Make the Frosting: In a small bowl, whisk the espresso powder into the vanilla until dissolved; set aside.
    8. Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the butter for 3 minutes.  Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
    9. Add the mascarpone and mix until combined.
    10. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the salt and powdered sugar.  Once the sugar is added, increase speed to medium-high and whip until light and fluffy.
    11. Add the espresso mixture and whip at medium-high speed until completely incorporated.  Make sure to taste your icing before frosting the cooled cupcakes.  If it is too soft, you can add more powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.  If it’s too stiff, you can add a bit of milk to the frosting to thin it out.

     

    *Yield: 12 cupcakes


Chocolate Cupcakes

I have been making these chocolate cupcakes forever.  My children request them every year for their birthdays.  What I love about this recipe is that it requires only one bowl and it’s pretty foolproof.  The frosting I usually use for this recipe comes from the fine folks at Betty Crocker. Yes, I use store-bought frosting sometimes and I LOVE it! But, if I’m feeling fancy, I’ll make my own.  My all-time favourite frosting recipe is the chocolate silk frosting from The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread cookbook by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree.  You can find that recipe here.   And if you’re ever in NYC, make sure to check out Amy’s Bread in Hell’s Kitchen.  Have a slice of the pink cake.  It’ll change your life.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa, sifted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup warm water

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease or line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Add the eggs, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and warm water.  Stir until fully combined.
  4. Pour batter into muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full.
  5. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely before frosting.

*Yield: About 18 cupcakes

cropped-ffbdab91-6d10-49fc-950a-c1e4323bc852.jpeg


%d bloggers like this: