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Everett, WA, United States
I love trying new recipes and baking for my friends and family.
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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lovely Lemon Cupcakes

I made some lemon cupcakes this weekend to take to Matt's parents' open house. Lemon is so light and summery! Especially in a mini cupcake. I decided to try out another one of my "cake mix doctor" recipes since the chocolate cake turned out so well for the cake pops. I wasn't quite as happy with this one. I wish I had gone with a from-scratch lemon cake recipe that I've used before. Oh well... baking is all about trying new things and learning from them, right? My saving grace on these cupcakes was the lemon buttercream frosting. Yum! It was a perfect blend of tart lemon and sweet frosting.

I like the idea of the cake mix doctor recipes, but I've tried 3 now and only been happy with one of them. This one wasn't bad, but it wasn't wonderful either. You start with a store bought cake mix and fancy it up a little with some home-made touches. For this lemon recipe, I used a yellow cake mix and added:

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Mix all ingredients on medium-high speed of an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes. Bake at 350. (I did about 12 minutes for the mini-cupcakes and 20 minutes for the regular size cupcakes).

The cupcakes came out pretty moist, but I could taste a little of the cake mix flavor and not enough lemon. I think when you have a lemon cupcake it should really taste like lemon. Luckily, this frosting added some nice lemon flavor. I halved a recipe from my Magnolia Bakery cookbook and it was a perfect amount to frost my 4 dozen mini cupcakes and 6 regular cupcakes.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest (ok... this part of the recipe I did not cut in half, but I think it was better with more zest. More zest is the best!)

Blend all ingredients on medium-high speed of an electric mixer until fully incorporated and smooth, about 2 minutes.

I put the frosting into a ziplock bag with a star tip and piped little swirls on each cupcake. One of the best tips I've learned about making cupcakes is that piping a swirl on top is way easier than it looks. It just adds that extra special and pretty touch to the top of a cupcake. I sprinkled each cupcake with some white sugar sprinkles for a little bit of sparkle.

Overall, the cupcakes were a hit at the open house. There were only a few left by the end of the night!

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