Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

If you know me, you know that I can't do anything in moderation. If there's a chocolate bar in front of me I can't just take a piece, wrap the rest up and put it away for later. If there's a chocolate bar I eat it so fast I forget if I even took the wrapping off. It's like this with most things... even baking. I can't just taste the cookie dough, I have to take a spoonful, and another, and another. "I need to make sure it's not poison!" is usually how I justify my gluttony.

So, with the absence of good judgment and self-control I've devised a list of 5 ways to not feel too guilty about eating while you bake.

1) After you've mixed the butter and sugar, just taste a little bit. I know it's delicious and creamy and that you're senses melt, but it's not love. The butter and sugar don't make up for the loss of human companionship, especially when you're baking alone after everyone else has gone to sleep and you're wondering how you could make a cookie big enough to hug.

2) When the batter/dough is finally ready, wait until you've used as much of the mixture as possible, then feel free to lick the inside of the bowl just like you saw that lion licking the inside of that gazelle earlier on the National Geographic Channel.

3) If someone walks in while you're licking the spatula, casually put it down and, while pretending you've yet to notice their presence, say something like, "Needs more sugar," and keep stirring.

4) While making icing, it's important to remember that other people would like some icing on their cupcakes. With that in mind, try your best at not eating too much of it as you go. Otherwise you'll be stuck with an icingless cupcake and a box of tissues as you cry yourself to sleep.

5) Cookie dough, while delicious, tastes just as good in cookie form. Don't be so g-d lazy that you can't wait 15 minutes. Maybe get some exercise? Some fresh air? Or eat the brownies you made the day before. Whatevs.

If only I'd followed by surefire 5 step plan last night as I baked these cupcakes. There would be a lot more icing and many more cupcakes to ice.

These cupcakes really are amazing. They have the perfect lemon flavour that isn't too over-powering but just present enough to give you that sweet taste of lemon. The egg whites (in my opinion) made the cupcakes extremely light and fluffy. And the cream cheese frosting was the perfect addition to the slight tart of the cupcake.

Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients (Cupcakes):
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
lemon zest from two lemons
1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. pure lemon extract

Directions (Cupcakes):
1. Preheat over to 350'F and prepare cupcake tins with liners of spray with a non-stick cooking spray.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and egg whites.
4. Put the sugar and lemon zest in another mixing bowl and rub with your fingers until the sugar is moist and scented. Add the butter and beat at medium speed for 3 minutes until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extracts, then add one third of the flour mixture while still beating on medium speed. Then beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half the remaining flour mixture until well combined. Add the rest of the milk-egg mixture and beat until mixed well, then add the remaining dry ingredients.
5. Once you're sure that the mixture has been combined thoroughly, pour the batter into the cupcake tins.
6. Place the cupcake tins on the center rack and bake for 18-22 minutes or until the cupcakes are well risen and a thing knife or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack.

Ingredients (Cream Cheese Frosting):
Two 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened (about 1/2 cup)
2 lbs. confectioners' sugar (about 7-8 cups)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
juice of one lemon

Directions (Cream Cheese Frosting):
1. Using a mixer, blend the butter and cream cheese together until thoroughly combined. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar until completely mixed. Add the vanilla and lemon juice and mix.

These cupcakes are amazing and perfect for any occasion. I wish I was young enough to get away with throwing myself a tea party with my stuffed animals (because these would be perfect for that).

Let me know, if you try it, how they turn out!

Until next time, happy baking!


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  1. I don't know about number 5- cookie dough just IS that awesome. Hence cookie dough ice cream. Or the fact that when I make my chocolate chip cookies, only half the batter makes it into the oven. SO worth it.

  2. 3) If someone walks in while you're licking the spatula, casually put it down and, while pretending you've yet to notice their presence, say something like, "Needs more sugar," and keep stirring.

    That made me laugh. Only when I'm baking, someone will come in and I'll very obviously sample the cookie dough, look at them and say, "Oh come on, you knew I would." It's a fact: I'm making you cookies, you must expect me to eat the dough. Because it's irresistible.

    I might also add that there are occasions where I've been much more in the mood for the dough than for the cookies. On these occasions, you can serran-wrap the cookie dough and freeze it, and break off chunks with a spoon when you want a taste. (I'm good at eating one bite and saving the rest for later.)

    The cupcakes sound delicious, and your pictures are as gorgeous as ever. I might just run this plan past my family. :D

  3. You make me laugh really hard. Plus, your photos are great. It's cool to see other university students cooking things other than Ramen noodles. :P

  4. these look amazing! your photos are great and to be honest, my mouth is watering for a lemon cupcake!

  5. Those tips all made me laugh, especially number three, if only everything was so easy to resist. And the cupcakes look wonderful, love lemon flavoured things!


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If you have any questions regarding recipes, posts, or use of photographs, whip up some buttercream, then send me an e-mail: kitchenkarate(AT)gmail(DOT)com. You shouldn't have to wait too long for a reply. I'm a computer fiend!

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