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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mini cupcakes with lemon

I needed to test out a recipe.  Well two, actually.  In a few weeks I'll have an exciting blog post up about cakes...but I'm getting ahead of myself....

I needed good yellow cake and lemon frosting recipes.  I hate making things for the first time and serving them.  Do you remember those Thanksgiving pies?  I always think to myself: What if they don't come out well, and people are let down?  So I've made a habit of testing out recipes before serving them to others.  If they turn out well, then great!  I'll serve them to friends, family, my doormen.  Anyone who will take it off my hands.  If they don't turn out well, they go in the garbage and I start trying to figure out how to tweak it or searching for another recipe altogether.

This recipe is the product of testing out two new recipes - both of which (happily) did not disappoint - and using a tried and true recipe to tie it all together.  The finished product?  Mini yellow cupcakes stuffed with homemade lemon curd and topped with lemon buttercream.  They are tangy-sweet bites of deliciousness (but I am admittedly a little biased).

And what did I do with these little bites of yumminess?  I packaged them into one of those adorable egg crates that I had ordered (if you're confused as to what I'm talking about, I direct you to the JulieBakes Facebook page....I'm still trying to get a "like" button on here for Facebook, but I've been having some difficulty.  But please go ahead and like JulieBakes...and forward this on to your friends - sorry, shameless plug), tied them up with yellow twine, and brought them to my friend.

Mini Cupcakes with Lemon

Cupcakes (from none other than Smitten Kitchen):

Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake (I have yet to audition the cupcakes, shame on me) - I halved the recipe and got a thick 6" cake, 4" cake, and 2" cake (more about that later), PLUS 14 mini cupcakes
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (480 grams) cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (1 cup, 1/2 pound or 225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk (475 ml), well-shaken


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter cake pans and line with parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Or, use paper cupcake liners, or you can use a cooking spray.  I used Pam for baking and was very impressed with the results.)

Sift together the dry ingredients EXCEPT for sugar in a medium bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla.
Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition.
At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled).
Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.

Bake until golden on top and cooked throughout (the mini cupcakes took about 10 minutes, give or take a few).

Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan.
Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Lemon Curd:
Check out the recipe here, originally from Smitten Kitchen

Lemon Buttercream Icing:

3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp lemon zest (fresh)
2 Tbsp lemon juice (I went with freshly squeezed)

Mix the butter, lemon zest, and vanilla together until smooth.
Add milk, and quickly cream it into the butter mixture.
Mix in the confectioner's sugar 1/2 cup at a time.
Once the sugar is all in the bowl, cream on "high" for two minutes.
Mix in lemon juice.

Pipe onto cupcakes using any tip you'd like.  I went with a star-type one.

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