Lemony Cupcakes

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Final touch for our Easter dinner!   Cupcakes have risen to new glory recently.  No longer plain flavors with plain frosting and a stuck on decoration, these hand held confections have delicous combinations for taste and some very fancy names.  Skye helped me bake two kinds* for our Easter celebration, and our cupcake wrappers made them even fancier.

First, we made lemon cupcakes with the addition of a surprise flavoring ingredient.  In addition to fresh lemon juice and lemon zest, these cupcakes have a bit of limoncello, an Italian liqueur, which adds another layer of mouth watering lemon essence.  I found several recipes online for these cupcakes, but most seemed to originate from one posted at http://www.browneyedbaker.com.  This lady knows good things about cupcakes!   My adaptation omits the filling several recipes included, lemon curd.  I love lemon curd, but after a huge meal, I thought that would be gilding the lily!  It also made the preparation much simpler. We used our home grown Meyer lemons from the freezer.  Here is our version.

LEMONY CUPCAKES

For cupcakes:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces butter
4 ounces cream cheese
2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1/4 cup limoncello
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
1 cup buttermilk
zest of 2 Meyer lemons

For frosting

2 ounces (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon limoncello
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set butter and cream cheese out to soften.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

With electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar on medium speed 3 minutes, or until light and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add limoncello and mix briefly. On low speed, add flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively. Add lemon juice and zest and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Divide the batter between 2 twelve cup muffin tins. If you have extra, bake in a small loaf pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Cool.

For frosting,  beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and creamy. Add the limoncello and beat for an additional minute. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add sifted powdered sugar and beat until  smooth.

To frost, fill a quart size Ziploc bag with cream cheese frosting.  Cut a small tip off one corner and use this to squeeze a dollop of frosting onto each cup cake, refilling bag as needed.  If you wish, use a  pastry bag with a star tip to pipe frosting onto each cupcake. Decorate with a lemon slice or berries if desired.

* Our second batch of cupcakes were Red Velvet!  Another day, another post!  What is your favorite cupcake?  Why?

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