Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Luscious Lemon Cupcakes

Every year my family and I meet at Outer Banks, NC for a week at the beach. I drive up from South Carolina and they come down from Pennsylvania. This is something that all of us look forward to every year; a week of relaxation, catching up and all around family time. For the past few years, my sister, her husband and her son have not gone on the trip. They decided to go this year and it was their son's first time at the beach. I think that we were all excited about all the new experiences that he would have. To me, the beach was always a magical place where life took on a different pace. It was so nice to be able to slow down and take that time with him to really see his amazement in even the smallest ocean adventure; from ghost crabs that come out at night to the amazing display the dolphins put on for us during a mid day feeding. He was excited by every new adventure.  While I am a lover of all things "beachy," seeing so much through his eyes this year really reminded me what an enthralling place the ocean and all its inhabitants are. I was so happy to be able to experience those things with him.

While we are there it happened to be my little sister's birthday. We decided  the week before the trip to have a small surprise party. My nephew was particularly proud that he kept this event a secret from his "mum."  My sister loves white cupcakes with white icing but she and my mom are also very fond of lemon.  I whipped up these cupcakes at home before I left and froze them till the party day. I also made the icing and refridgerated it till it was needed, then whipped it again before icing. They were a great, refreshing "Lemonicious" birthday suprise.

Lemon Cupcakes

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325° degrees. Line cupcake pan with mini baking cups. Set aside. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time until the mixture becomes creamy. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt together. Whisk to combine. Alternately, add the dry ingredients and the milk until completely incorporated. Add the lemon zest and fresh lemon juice. Mix batter for an additional minute. Mixture should look light and fluffy. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners and bake for 17 to 23 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean

 Lemon Kissed Buttercream Frosting

8 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. whole milk
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

With an electric mixer, cream the butter and salt for about 30 seconds. Add half of the powdered sugar and the milk to the butter and beat again until combined. Scrape down the bowl.  Add the remainder of the powdered sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice. Beat until combined. Scrape down the bowl again. Beat on high speed for 5-6 minutes or until the frosting is fluffy. Add yellow food coloring in small amount to achieve desired pastel color. It is preferable to use the frosting on the same day you make it, but it can keep in the refrigerator for 3 days if tightly wrapped. Make sure to stir the buttercream well before using to get the air bubbles out of the frosting and then pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes.
Recipe from The Cupcakery

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