Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter Cupcakes







I plan on writing about Easter brunch, but let’s skip to dessert first. I made cupcakes of the carrot and lemon variety. I used my standard carrot cake recipe and then (since the lemons in the backyard were begging to be zested) I made a new lemon cupcake recipe. Both had cream cheese icing on top.

Carrot (adapted from Bon Appetit 1994 via Epicurious):
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups finely grated peeled carrots (about 1 pound)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and vegetable oil in bowl until combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into sugar and oil mixture. Stir in carrots.
Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and cakes begin to pull away from sides of pans, about 25 minutes.
Lemon (from OurBestBites.com):

1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) of REAL butter3 c. cake flour (no substitutions here—you really need the lightness of cake flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. sugar
5 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons (just zest the other lemons before you squeeze them)
1 c. buttermilk
Preheat oven to 325. Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners (I used yellow, although white would also be cute).In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Don’t go skimping here—you want the mixture to be almost white and super fluffy. This is absolutely essential to the outcome of the cake.While butter and sugar are mixing, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside. After butter and sugar have mixed sufficiently, With the mixer running, add eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Beat in vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest.With mixer on low speed, alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating until fully incorporated.Using a standard cookie scoop, place about 2 scoops of batter into each muffin cup. Fill these almost to the top—due to the final texture (again, think super-moist and light pound cake), these cupcakes won’t have a nice, curvy crown, but that’s okay—no one will ever know or care.Bake about 20-25 minutes or just until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. You don’t want to overbake these even a bit, or they’ll start to lose their delicious moisture. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Frosting
4 cups powdered sugar
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract


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