Cake? I really don't do cakes very well. I mean, the baking part is fine but when it comes to frosting.....it's a mess. And I was thinking...what kind of icing do you put on a lemon cake?
I did some research. Browsed some blogs and look what I found on Kahakai Kitchen Blog.....Lemon Cupcakes!! She adapted the recipe from Ina Garten's Lemon Cakes by making them lighter. Well heck...this was for a special birthday...why would I want them lighter?
So off to Ina's recipe I went...and looky at what I made for Emily's umm..."the new 40th" Birthday!
Look at all these goodies that you'll need (lots and lots of lemons)....
Preheat the over to 350 degrees F.
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest lightly packed (and a little extra for garnishing)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
First of all...I didnt have 2 sticks of unsalted butter (my daughter used it by accident) so I used 1 stick of unsalted butter and 1 stick of salted butter. It was fine.
Now... I zested a bunch of lemons (probably 8)
Then I sifted together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt...just to make sure there weren't any lumps (especially that powder and soda....they always seem to be lumpy)
I think I ended up sifting this twice. I really wanted to get a cool photo of the flour mixture floating into the bowl (kinda reminds me of when it snows) but after 2 tries I was convinced that it would be impossible for me to take the picture, hold the sifter in one hand and crank the turn handle with the other. Ya, it should've been a no brainer to realize that in the first place but it was like 10pm and I was just a wee bit tired.
Now the fun begins!
In a separate bowl, cream the butter and 2 cups of granulated sugar for about 5 minutes. (all I heard while I was doing this was..."MOM!! When are you going be done with that? I can't hear the teeee veeeeeeeeeeeee!"
There are more important things going on here child! I'm making cupcakes...from SCRATCH! And I'm under pressure cuz they're special birthday cupcakes and I've never made these before and what if they dont taste good? What if I don't make them right? What if...what if....
Ok...take a deeep breath...and lets continue...
This step of mixing the butter and sugar is very important (I know this cuz Ina told me so). You need to beat the crap out of that butter and sugar until its light and fluffy.
Now...with the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time to your fluffy cloud-like butter mixture
Most of you should know this but just in case, please break the eggs into a dish before adding them to your recipe. Not only does this prevent you from adding a spoiled egg, but it also gives you the opportunity to remove any shells without having to dig through the batter...cuz remember, the mixer is running and that little piece of shell will be gone in a split second.
Then add the lemon zest.
It's turning yellow (they call me mellow yelloooow)
I just screwed myself cuz I know I'm going to go to bed with that song stuck in my head!
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk and vanilla.
Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, add the flour then the buttermilk mixture, alternately.
Pour into the cupcake pan (this made about 30 cupcakes) and bake for about 22 - 25 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean. (Ina said that it would be done when the cake tester comes out clean. Is there such a thing or is that just a fancy name for toothpicks?).
While they're baking, combine 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of lemon juice in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. (this is what we call lemon simple syrup).
hmm....I wonder what happened to my simple syrup picture. Did I take one? Did I delete it? hmmm. Well, it kinda looked like thick water in a pan. You're not missing much.
While the cupcakes were still warm, I poked holes in the tops with my fancy cake tester toothpick and drizzled the simple syrup over the top of each one.
For the glaze you will need:
2 cups powdered sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth.
Pour over the tops of each cupcakes and sprinkle with a little lemon zest....
Don't those just look so pretty? They're cupcakes but they look sooo adult, don't they? And I didn't have to "frost" them and put party sprinkles on them either.
How did they taste you ask? Well take a look at this....
They were the lightest, fluffiest cupcakes I've ever had. Reminded me of Angel Food cake (not quite that airy but for a cupcake, they came pretty damn close.
And the flavor! You gotta love lemon! It's intense. You almost want to pucker but just when you think you're gonna, the sweetness takes over. And it leaves your mouth refreshed. No lingering overly sweet icing stuff to deal with. You know? I just hate that icing on those store made cupcakes. Leaves a film in your mouth.
Anyways...Emily enjoyed her cupcakes and so did the rest of the staff. I think they were all gone by lunch time. I'm glad I had the opportunity to make them and I was very flattered that my baking was requested
And I finished right around midnight....just in time to pass out in bed!
Happy Birthday Emily!