Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lemon Cupcakes

It's Memorial Day weekend, which always seems like the unofficial start of summer to me.  It's also my husband's birthday weekend-- lucky him!  He never has to work on his birthday. These cupcakes were the first of his birthday baking-- he requested them as dessert for the tailgate we went to for the US-Scotland exhibition game that was played in Jacksonville last night.  (US won, by the way, 5-1.  It was awesome.)  So yesterday was gorgeous-- hot, sunny, and perfect summer weather.  Right now? Not so much.

As sunny as these cupcakes are, they do not reflect the current weather in Jacksonville.  We are in the midst of Subtropical Storm Beryl.  Wind, rain, storm surge-- this is what we have to look forward to for the remainder of our holiday weekend.  We are considering ourselves lucky so far, since we still have power and all of our trees are still standing and the limbs are all still attached-- for the moment, anyway.  Ah, the fun of living in Florida.  At least we get more sunshine than tropical storms, and great citrus fruit. I hope that your Memorial Day is drier than mine is!

Lemon Cupcakes
(Cake and icing recipes adapted from Wilton)
Makes 14-16 cupcakes

Lemon Cake:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (approximately-- this is really to taste)
1 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp fresh lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pan with liners.  In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla, lemon extract, and lemon juice; beat until well-mixed.

Add flour and baking powder to butter mixture and beat for about 30 seconds.  Add lemon zest and beat for one more minute.  Fill liners about 2/3 full.  Bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.  Ice with lemon buttercream (recipe below).

Lemon Buttercream

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1-2 tsp fresh lemon zest
4 cups powdered sugar

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter until fluffy.  Add lemon juice and zest and beat until combined (don't worry if it looks a bit curdled).  Add sugar, one cup at a time; beat each cup until fully incorporated, scraping sides of bowl as needed.  If icing is dry when finished, add more lemon juice to achieve desired consistency. 

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