Sunday, September 13, 2009

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

I know I just said that I have a post about Margarita Cupcakes coming next, but these babies snuck into my weekend. They were such a lovely late summer surprise...

I used Martha Stewart's Lemon Cupcake Recipe from her fabulous book, Martha Stewart's Cupcakes. This cupcake book is fabulous! There are a ton of flavors & her staff was good about describing the recipes and making them easy to follow. Gorgeous pictures too!

Martha Stewart's Lemon Cupcakes
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • Finely grated zest of 3 lemons (about 3 tablespoons), plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Directions for Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in zest and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and lemon juice, and beating until just combined after each.
  3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

Martha Stewart's recipe does include a lemon curd topping {and Meringue}. Trader Joe's sells a delicious lemon curd for around $2.99!

My original inspiration for the frosting was from the blog Love and Olive Oil.

Strawberry Lemonade Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 ounces of fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (approximately 1 large lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions for Frosting:
  1. To make frosting, first wash and hull strawberries and toss them into a food processor. Puree strawberries and set aside. {I just chop them with my Pampered Chef Food Chopper}.
  2. Add sugar and egg whites into a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream. Remove the bowl from the heat.
  3. Using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes.
  4. Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. Don’t freak out if your buttercream curdles or separates, keep beating and it will come together again.
  5. Once the buttercream is thick and smooth, gradually beat in the lemon juice on medium speed, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla. By this point you should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. You can stop at this point if you want to stick with lemon buttercream. For strawberry buttercream, gradually add in strawberry puree, beating on medium speed until well incorporated.

There are a few things I have learned about frosting this year.
I aim for the right flavor and consistency by keeping the ingredients balanced. If you follow a recipe but find your frosting is too stiff or too soft, then change it carefully.
  • Usually, in fruit frostings, the trouble is that mine is too runny. Fresh juices from the berries or lemon make for a lot of great flavor, but can make for thin {un-pipeable} frosting.

  • Powdered sugar is the Wilton method "fix all" for running frosting, making it thicker. I do not enjoy frostings that are too sweet. I try to use extra powdered sugar sparingly.

  • Butter will overwhelm the mixture and make it taste like... well, butter.

  • So when I followed these directions for the frosting above and had runny frosting, I added about a cup of powdered sugar, a half cup of crisco, and a teaspoon and a half of corn starch {and blended well after each addition}. Then refrigerated the icing for about half an hour in a metal mixing bow to help stiffen it up. Worked fine & tasted delicious!

  • Crisco is not my flavor of choice, but it helps to thicken runny frosting without adding sweetness.
    It's my secret weapon.

  • I enjoyed using fresh lemons to juice, allow some of the pulp to get into the frosting and it gives you tangy bursts of lemon flavor. {Remember to squeeze lemons over a sieve so you don't get seeds in the mix}.

The aroma of the lemon zest in my kitchen is almost motivation enough to make these again. These cupcakes are light, bright, and taste best served the same day. I highly recommend making the frosting a day or two ahead of time, then save the cupcakes for the day you will be serving them.

1 comment:

  1. i was looking for a pink lemonade cupcake recipe and i ran into this. I have to say the recipe looks 10x better than what i was looking for, thank you for sharing! And the photography is great. I hope to see more of your blog updates since i see there hasn't been much since October last year. Please continue, i would love to see more!