Lemon Crème Cupcakes

First of all - YOU GUYS.  I posted a recipe yesterday for Crispy Peanut Butter Cup Bars.  I told you that it was chosen to make because it was uber caloric.  And yet you all want to make them!  I've gotten probably the biggest positive response having posted that recipe.  I told you how naughty they are, and you are chomping at the bit to make them at home.  Tisk, tisk.

Well, guess what?  You're probably gonna want to make these cupcakes - they're naughty, too.  Don't worry - I'm not putting out a double standard here.  No, nothing crazy like that.  I mean, I make these things just so I can share them with you!  But tomorrow - they are all leaving my house.  So, if you work with me or The Stallion, be on the lookout for some Lemon Creme Cupcakes.  First come, first serve!

So, on to the cupcakes at hand.  I've decided to take myself out of my comfort zone.  I'm going to push myself to learn how to make new things.  Especially things I've never attempted before - or maybe even eaten before.  And you get to come along for the ride!

Enter Lemon Crème Cupcakes.  I've never had one before.  I cannot remember the last time I baked cake from scratch.  This marks the first time I've ever used a pastry bag.  (So be gentle.)

They are awesome!  And really not very difficult at all.  They're a great spring/summertime dessert.  Light and fresh.

And naughty.

But also like a little ray of sunshine.  And everyone needs a little sunshine in their life.

Lemon Crème Cupcakes
Adapted from my baking addiction
Makes 24 cupcakes

For the Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
lemon zest from two lemons
1 stick (1/2 c.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Prepare cupcake tins by using liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place flour, baking powder and salt into sifter and rest on a plate.
  3. Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
  4. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.  Or until it looks like yellow snow.  Whatever makes sense to you.
  5. Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. 
  6. Beat in the extracts, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. 
  7. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. 
  8. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Place the batter into the cupcake tins.
  9. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife or toothpick inserted into the centers should come out clean.
  10. Cool on wire rack.

    For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
    2 (8) ounce package cream cheese, softened
    1/2 c. butter, softened
    1 2 lb. bag confectioners’ sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    juice of one lemon

    1. Using a mixer, blend the butter and cream cheese together until well combined. 
    2. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated. 
    3. Finally, mix in vanilla and lemon juice.
    I didn't want to use that much sugar, but the sugar is integral in getting the right consistency in the frosting - less sugar equates to 'soupier' icing.

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