Another Birthday and Lemon Cupcakes
We had another birthday at work, this time a girl turning 19, so I made cupcakes again. Thanks to the wonders of Google image search I quickly found a fun decorating idea perfect for her. Mine don’t look quite as nice as the original though… can you guess what these are supposed to be?
Gemma frequently knits during our coffee breaks, so I knew she’d like these.
Instructions can be found at the blog Sugar and Meringue. The only change from her instructions that I would suggest is smearing the paste icing on both sides of the inside of the pastry bag, or you have to be really careful about how you pipe the icing, so the colour doesn’t all end up on the side touching the cupcake.
I finally caved and bought actual disposable pastry bags instead of using baggies so I more easily use decorating tips. I used a Wilton #4 tip, but I’d recommend a larger one (#5, 6, or 7 perhaps) so you don’t have to make as many lines to cover the cupcake.
The birthday girl had informed me that she liked chocolate cupcakes, so I made a batch of my usual recipe. But I wanted to try a new recipe, too, and since I had part of a bag of lemons in the fridge to use up, I settled on a lemon cupcake recipe from Allrecipes. As always, I made a few modifications.
(makes 12 regular plus 8 mini, or about 15 regular )
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
zest of one lemon, preferably organic
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350*F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Place flour in a medium bowl and stir in baking powder. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla and lemon zest. Beat in 1/3 of flour mixture, then 1/2 milk and 1/2 lemon juice. Repeat additions, ending with flour, beating until just blended each time. Divide batter between muffin cups.
Bake until tops spring back when lightly touched, and/or toothpick inserted comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes. Remove pan to a rack to cool. After 10 minutes, remove cupcakes to a rack to cool completely. Frost when cool.
Both kinds of cupcakes were very tasty; both the birthday girl and another girl who claims not to normally like cupcakes each ate three.
Why organic lemons? Although they still are waxed like conventional citrus, the wax won’t be petroleum-based, and it will contain neither fungicides nor preservatives, plus there will be less likelihood for other chemical residues. An interesting and informative article about conventional versus organic citrus can be found here.
Speaking of organic, a few months ago I started buying organic cane sugar (evaporated cane juice) to replace white sugar. It has slightly larger granules than regular sugar, so I was concerned that it wouldn’t work as well in baked goods with light textures, like cupcakes. So I’ve been using white sugar for cupcakes, but this time decided to make the lemon with my last cup of white sugar and the chocolate with organic sugar. And I couldn’t tell a difference. Yes, organic sugar is about twice as expensive as regular sugar, but I figure the additional cost helps make me consider what I choose to use sugar for, and use less of it. I would love to use fair trade sugar, but it is even more expensive, so I can’t at this point.
What’s your favourite cupcake flavour? Do you buy anything organic?