When life gives you lemons…
My cousin Jessica (a wonderful, terrific, sweet young lady) spent the Thanksgiving holiday in the hospital and her one wish was for a sweet treat featuring her favorite flavor: lemon! How fitting, I thought. When life hands her lemons…she wants lemonade cupcakes!! Well, of course I was happy to oblige!
First, I did a basic yellow cake.
- 2 cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with liners.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt with a wire whisk.
In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix. Slowly add flour alternately with milk. At end of addition batter should be smooth.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Ok, so when that is all done…and while the cupcakes are cooling…I made a lemon curd. SO EASY. My favorite recipe is from the Food Network’s Alton Brown:
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 lemons, zested and juiced
- 1 stick butter, cut into pats and chilled
Add enough water to a medium saucepan to come about 1-inch up the side. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium size metal bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Measure citrus juice and if needed, add enough cold water to reach 1/3 cup. Add juice and zest to egg mixture and whisk smooth. Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl on top of saucepan. (Bowl should be large enough to fit on top of saucepan without touching the water.) Whisk until thickened, approximately 8 minutes, or until mixture is light yellow and coats the back of a spoon. Remove promptly from heat and stir in butter a piece at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next. Remove to a clean container and cover by laying a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Back to the cupcakes!
Using an apple corer, core out the center of each cupcake. Fill a pastry bag with some cooled lemon curd and fill up each cupcake until the tippy top.
I did a lemon cream cheese frosting (because if you haven’t noticed…cream cheese frosting is my favorite)…but you can use any kind that you think will go well with the flavor profile! The lemon flavored store bought frostings aren’t half bad if you are looking for a quick fix!
Finally, I used little lemon candies (the jelly kind) for toppers with a little yellow and pink decorating sugar. VOILA!