Wednesday, February 24, 2010

LEMON BUTTERCREAM CUPCAKES


My friend Alisha made several beautiful and tasty desserts for our Relief Society Christmas Dinner last night. One of my favorites were these from "Our Best Bites".

1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) of REAL butter
3 c. cake flour (no substitutions here--you really need the lightness of cake flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. sugar
5 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons (just zest the other lemons before you squeeze them)
1 c. buttermilk
Preheat oven to 325. Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners (I used yellow, although white would also be cute).

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Don't go skimping here--you want the mixture to be almost white and super fluffy. This is absolutely essential to the outcome of the cake.
While butter and sugar are mixing, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside. After butter and sugar have mixed sufficiently, With the mixer running, add eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Beat in vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest.

With mixer on low speed, alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating until fully incorporated.

Using a standard cookie scoop, place about 2 scoops of batter into each muffin cup. Fill these almost to the top--due to the final texture (again, think super-moist and light pound cake), these cupcakes won't have a nice, curvy crown, but that's okay--no one will ever know or care.

Bake about 20-25 minutes or just until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. You don't want to overbake these even a bit, or they'll start to lose their delicious moisture. Remove from oven and cool completely. Frost with lemon buttercream and garnish with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or fresh mint leaves.

Lemon Buttercream

1 1/4 c. butter (2 1/2 sticks)
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 c. powdered sugar

Beat butter, lemon rind, and lemon juice in an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating to spreading consistency. Makes 2 3/4 c.

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