Even though the cupcake craze has swept the nation in the past few years, I haven’t been wholly impressed by most of the cupcakes I’ve tasted. Some of them were too sweet, some too dense. Others were good, sure, but nothing that made me think oh-my-this-is-GOOD.
Instead of paying $3 a cupcake from pricey boutiques, I have to believe that I can make cupcakes that are just (if not more) delicious than store-brought ones. And so… I present to you my vanilla cupcakes with lemon zest cream cheese frosting.
Cupcake Recipe (makes 1 dozen cupcakes)
4 oz. stick butter
3/4 cups sugar
1 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk or evaporated skim milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
preheat oven to 350
1. soften butter in the mixer
2. put the sugar in with the butter and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes
3. sift flour, baking powder, and salt together
4. measure out milk and vanilla extract, then combine the two
5. add the flour mixture and milk mixture to the butter/sugar in 3 parts alternating between flour and milk and beating well after each addition
6. set aside flour and milk mixture (should be in batter consistency by this point)
7. in another bowl, beat egg whites on high until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes
8. fold egg whites into cake batter until incorporated
9. scoop batter into the prepared cupcake pans (I like to use foil baking cups)
10. bake in the 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes depending on your oven (use a toothpick to poke the center of a cupcake – it’s done if the toothpick comes out clean)
4 oz butter
8 oz cream cheese
2 tablespoon lemon zest (my motto was “the zestier the better!” so I added 2.5 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 cups confectioner’s sugar (depending on desired sweetness – I used 1 cup)
1. combine softened butter and cream cheese with mixer on high speed
2. add about half of the confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice and zest to the butter/cream cheese mixture and beat on high speed to combine
3. add remaining confectioner’s sugar in stages until desired consistency and sweetness is achieved
Putting It Together
After cupcakes are done, set them on rack to cool. When the top is cool, the cupcakes are ready to be frosted.
If you don’t have special frosting piping tools, you can construct a makeshift one with a small ziploc bag. Just put frosting in the bag, make sure all the air is out, push the frosting towards one corner of the bag, zip the bag close, then make a small cut at the corner of the bag. Then just pipe the frosting on the cooled cupcakes.
Final, But Most Important, Step
Enjoy the cupcakes of your labor. I like mine with a glass of milk.