October 17, 2010

{Easy Recipes} Lemon Cupcakes

Lemon brightens my day.  I love its cheery color, fresh aroma, and bright flavor.  Lemon is what I use to make myself feel better (hot lemonade was my mom's remedy for everything!).  So when I want to make baked goods for friends and family, I thought that Lemon Cupcakes would be a good "pick-me-up".  (After all, the cookie flower bouquets with lemon icing I made before were a big hit!)

Lemon Cupcakes (adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe)
Ingredients (makes 24):
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons (about 3 tablespoons)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 small lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 cup vanilla soy milk
Trader Joe's Instant Chocolate Frosting
Unsweetened coconut

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Beat in zest and vanilla.
4. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk and lemon juice, and beating until just combined after each.
5. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes.  Cool before icing.
6. Instead of making my own icing, I cheated and used Trader Joe's all-natural chocolate frosting to dress the cupcakes.  I then had unsweetened coconut and sprinkled it on top.
My husband and a few friends who ate the cupcakes all enjoyed them (hence this post!)  And they were the perfect treat for an impromptu celebration of our friends' son's 6-month birthday!  (After the Thanksgiving cupcake toppers I made, I'm now addicted to making them for every occasion!)  The next time I make these cupcakes, I'll try and be more ambitious (re: Martha-like) and put lemon curd in the middle to make these cupcakes extra lemony.

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