Monday, November 7, 2011

Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

I made these cupcakes for my dad's 60th birthday. (Along with "my" famous chocolate cupcakes.) 

I found this recipe from this blog. I changed it a little--I didn't add the lemon curd in the center (I was in a hurry), and before I frosted it, I poked the tops of the cupcakes with a bunch of wholes using a steak knife, then using a lemon, I squeezed lemon juice into the wholes. It helped keep it moist, and also added extra lemon flavor. (Which it really needs, especially if you leave out the lemon curd.) I also added extra lemon extract, lemon rind, and lemon juice to the frosting. Which probably made my frosting a lot softer/thinner than the picture of the blog I got it from. (I still think it could have been even more lemony.) Overall they were pretty good. I definitely would try them with the lemon curd next time. 

I cut out the adorable liners from my local scrapbook store using their die-cut machine. I made the "toppers" by cutting out lots of small yellow circles (also from a die-cut machine), folding them in half, and then gluing the crease to a toothpick. You need at least 4, if not 5 circles for it to look good.)

Triple Lemon Cupcakes (makes 1 dozen)
Cake and Icing Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker and Tartlette
Lemon Curd Recipe from Martha Stewart

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 2 T lemon juice
1/2 cup buttermilk
Zest of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 12 cup muffin tin with liners. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Add sugar and lemon zest to mixing bowl or stand mixer and rub zest into sugar with your fingertips until well distributed and fragrant. Add the butter and cream cheese to the sugar and beat until light and creamy, 2 - 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating about 1 minute after each egg. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beating on low speed until just incorporated. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk, once incorporated, add the next 1/3 of the flour mix, followed by remaining buttermilk, and remaining flour, beating each addition until just incorporated. Add lemon juice, beating until just incorporated on low speed.

Transfer batter to muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 of the way full. I use a cookie scoop to evenly fill the muffin tins. (It also makes it easier to get the batter into the muffin tins without spills and drips all over the pan.) Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcake comes out clean. Cool about 5 minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Lemon Curd: (I left this out, and instead squeezed a lemon into wholes I poked in the tops of the cupcakes.)
4 egg yolks
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup plus 1 T lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
5 T unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces

Combine everything but the butter in a sauce pan and whisk together. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, scraping the sides of the pan often until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 8 - 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add butter, 1 piece at a time, stirring until incorporated. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the lemon curd and cover with a lid. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.

Frosting: (I added extra lemon zest, lemon juice, and about 1 tablespoon lemon extract.)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 T lemon juice
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon zest

Beat together butter, cream cheese and lemon juice on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating on low speed until incorporated. Add lemon zest and increase speed to medium-high and beat until smooth.

To assemble:

Use a paring knife to cut a small cone out of the center of each cupcake. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round tip with lemon curd and pipe into the center of each cupcake. Fill a second piping bag fitted with a large star tip with frosting and pipe a swirl onto the top of each cupcake. Garnish with lemon candy slices (I cut each fruit slice in half so they wouldn't overpower the cupcake) as desired.

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