Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!!! Celebrate with a Cupcake!

Today is my Birthday.  I won't tell you how old I am but I'm over 50 and have spent a lot of those years baking.  To celebrate this Birthday, since it was on Sunday, I decided to take Friday and Monday off from work and give myself a four day weekend.  Of course I had to spend some of that time baking cupcakes.  My niece has been home in Utah visiting from New York City and has wanted to learn how to make some of my cupcake recipes. We planned Friday to be a full day of Cupcake baking.  Then a girlfriend called saying she needed cupcakes for a Baby Shower tonight.  Looks like cupcakes were definitely going to take up two days of my weekend.  What could be better?

I decided I needed a new Lemon Cupcake Recipe and decided to tweak a couple of recipes into one and create a new Lemon Cupcake with Lemon Buttercream in honor of my Birthday.  These cupcakes would serve double duty.  Some for the Baby Shower and the rest to celebrate my Birthday.  They turned out delicious!  

Linda's Luscious Lemon Cupcakes
Servings:  30-33


2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup milk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (one large lemon)
Zest of one large lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: Line muffin tins with cupcake papers.  In a small bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt; stir to combine; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter using an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.  Add the sugar gradually and beat for 3 minutes or until fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.   Add lemon zest

Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk, lemon juice and vanilla.  With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over mix.

Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 full.  Bake in a 350° oven for 20-25 minutes.  Cool the cupcakes in the tin for 10 minutes.  Remove cakes from the tins and cool on a wire rack before icing.  Ice with your favorite Buttercream.
Lemon Buttercream
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
6-8 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
1-2 tablespoons whole milk
Pinch of salt

Cream butter until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Gradually add 4 cups of powdered sugar.  Add lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and vanilla. Continue adding powdered sugar and/or milk until frosting is of piping consistency. Fill piping bag with frosting and pipe frosting swirls onto cupcakes.
For the Baby Shower the only instruction I received from my girlfriend was that she wanted the cupcakes to be Pink and Yellow and very girly.  I knew my new Lemon Cupcakes would be perfect.  Now for the Pink...I thought about my Pink Lemonade Cupcakes but thought that would be a little too much lemon.  My favorite cupcake of all time is a Vanilla / Vanilla.  It's the first cupcake I order whenever I'm trying out a new Cupcake Shop.  So, why not a Pink Vanilla / Pink Vanilla Cupcake?  I used the recipe for Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcake which you can find here adding a few drops of rose pink gel food coloring to tint the cake a soft pink.

I frosted them with a basic vanilla buttercream again tinted a soft pink with the rose pink gel food coloring.  Sprinkled both the Pink and Yellow frosted Cupcakes with pastel non-pariels and topped them with pink and yellow baby bracelet charms.  My girlfriend was thrilled and they tasted yummy!!!
Now my Friday baking with my niece was spent teaching her how to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream and my Lemon Meringue Cupcakes.  We had so much fun baking together.  She did an awesome job on the cupcakes and is now a real pro.  we used the Magnolia Vanilla Cupcake as the base for the Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  You can find the recipe for this Buttercream and a great video demo here.  I think they turned out beautiful and the Buttercream was divine!
Next we tackled the Lemon Meringue Cupcakes.  This is a multi step cupcake.  First you have to make the Lemon Curd for the filling, second bake the cupcakes, third fill the cupcakes with the Lemon Curd, fourth frost them with the meringue and then fifth toast the meringue.  You can find the recipe and instructions here.  I think they turned out beautiful.  I'm very proud of my niece and her cupcaking skills. All in all I baked 10 1/2 dozen cupcakes in two days.  Luckily I don't have to eat them all. 
A great way to spend a Birthday weekend...baking cupcakes to eat and share.  Happy Birthday to me!
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