Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Lemon Cupcakes

    I know summer is ending in the Western hemisphere, but here in India, it's pretty much summer year round, especially down south in Chennai, where I live. It rains for a month a year....The rest of the year, it's just hot. Summer reminds me of the pool, the beach, lazing around in air conditioned places (especially the mall!), ice cream (lots of it!), watermelon, and lemonade. I love a perfect glass of cold, refreshing, lip-smacking lemonade. I'm not a big lemon fan, but lemonade is one of my all time favorites. So I started thinking....What if I could make lemonade a dessert? You probably think I'm crazy, but actually, it's not all that bad an idea! So I went in search of the perfect lemon cupcake recipe. After all, when life gives you lemons, you make lemon cupcakes! It seemed to me like My Baking Obsession had read my mind, because she posted a recipe for lemon meringue cupcakes that very day! This was the first lemon cupcake recipe I've ever tried, and it might just be the last, because I think I've hit the jackpot! I initially made these for a friend for her birthday two weeks ago, and I've made these about 4 times since! The cupcakes have a light lemony flavor to them. The lemon curd gives you that jolt of tangy lemon taste, and the sweet vanilla buttercream frosting perfectly balances all the flavors. I've never made lemon curd before I found this recipe, so I was a bit apprehensive about the lemon curd part of the cupcake, but then I saw how easy it was! This easy microwave lemon curd recipe is one I'll be sure to keep in my back pocket! This is an easy, amazingly yummy lemon cupcake recipe that's perfect for a lazy summer day. Actually, it's perfect for any day! So even though summer is ending, and everyone's got their apples and pumpkin and maple out, I suggest you try out these cupcakes, as you bid farewell to summer.  This recipe is adapted from My Baking Obsession.


2 1/4 cups cake flour 
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
lemon zest from two lemons (finely grated)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners. 
2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites in another bowl.
4. Place the sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of your mixer or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. 

5. Add the butter and beat at medium speed, until the butter and sugar are light and fluffy. 

6. Beat in the vanilla, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. 
7. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. 
8. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is thoroughly combined. Add the last of the dry ingredients. 
9. Beat the mixture for an additional two minutes or so, to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.

5. Distribute the batter between the cupcake wells.
6. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the centers come out clean. Cool.

7. Once completely cooled, spoon a layer of lemon curd onto each cupcake, and let it set for about an hour in the fridge. Alternatively, you could make a small hollow in the center of each cupcake and spoon or pipe in a dollop of lemon curd. I decided to go with the first method.

8. Frost with vanilla buttercream frosting. 

(makes about 2 cups)


1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup fresh lemon juice 
zest of 3 lemons
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted


1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until smooth and thoroughly combined.
2. Whisk in the lemon juice, lemon zest and butter. 
3. Cook the mixture in the microwave on full power for one minute intervals, stirring after each minute. This will take about 3-5 minutes, depending on the strength of your microwave. The lemon curd is done when it coats the back of a metal spoon.
4. Pour into a sterile, air-tight jar.


I used my favorite vanilla buttercream frosting. You can find the recipe at the end of this mocha cake recipe.

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