I don’t know about you but it seems like this time of year someone is having a birthday every other day. This time, it was my own birthday cupcakes I was set out to make. I wanted a cupcake that screamed springtime, and baby, I got it.
I will say this. It was a slightly complicated cake to turn out. I made the lemon curd and frosting one day, popped it in the fridge, and made the cake, filled, and decorated on the next. The frosting and curd will keep fine in the fridge, just make sure you bring the frosting to room temperature before piping it on the cupcakes. If you take it out when you start to mix the batter you should be fine.
The thing people raved about most was the frosting. So pile it on. This may require a double batch. I just had enough.
Lemon Honey Lavender Cupcakes
adapted from Baked’s Lemon Drop Cake, makes about 24 regular size AND 24 minis…this is a party recipe.
2 ½ c cake flour
¾ c all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
½ c unsalted butter, room temperature
½ c vegetable shortening, room temperature
1 ¾ c sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
Zest of one lemon
1 large egg, room temperature
1 ½ c ice cold water – before you start mixing, fill a measuring cup with water and pop it in the freezer until you need it.
3 large egg whites, room temperature
¼ tsp cream of tartar
Preheat the oven to 325þ and prepare your cupcake or cake pans. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat the butter and shortening together until creamy (3-4 minutes). Add the sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest and beat on medium speed until fluffy (3 minutes). Add the egg, beat until just combined, and reduce speed to low.
Start to add the dry ingredients, alternating with the ice water in three additions, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape down the bottom of the bowl and beat for a few more seconds.
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat or the cake will have a tougher texture. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
Fill the cupcake tins about ¾ of the way. Did you see how many rising agents are in this cake – baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar. It will rise, and it WILL over flow and make ugly cupcakes. I used my cookie scoopers for the job, it gives the perfect amount.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack let cool completely.
Lemon Curd Filling
¾ c lemon juice (from about six lemons)
Zest of 2 lemons
2 large eggs
7 large egg yolks (save the whites and make an omelet!)
¾ c sugar
4 tbsp (or a ½ stick) butter, room temperature
Lemon Curd Method
In a small bowl, pour the lemon juice over the zest and let stand for a while to soften the zest, about 10 minutes or so.
In a nonreactive bowl (don’t worry, you’re bowls are probably OK) whisk the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until combined. Add the lemon juice and zest to the egg mixture and whisk until combined.
Place the bowl containing the mixture over a double boiler. Stir continuously until the mixture has thickened to a pudding like consistency, about 6 minutes. The key here is to never allow any of the egg mixture to be on the bottom so long that the yolks cook through and harden.
Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the butter until emulsified. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove lumps (you will have lumps no matter how hard you tried). Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the curd so that a skin doesn’t form.
If refrigerating for later use, allow the curd to come to room temperature first.
Honey Lavender Frosting
1 ¼ c sugar
1/3 c flour
½ c honey
¼ c lemon curd
1 ½ tsp lavender extract
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 c heavy cream
1 ½ c (3 sticks) butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces – I brought the butter to room temperature, then as soon as the milk and sugar mixture started to boil I stuck it at the very back of the fridge where it’s coldest.
¼ tsp Wilton purple gel food coloring
Honey Lavender Frosting Method
Whisk flour and sugar in a sauce pan to combine. Add milk and cream and place over medium heat. Whisk occasionally while bringing to a boil. Cook until mixture has thickened. Baked says 20 minutes, I’m positive mine didn’t take that long. Just keep an eye on it.
Once it has thickened, transfer to a bowl and whisk on high speed until cool. If you are using a hand held mixer this will take a while. Reduce speed to low and switch to paddle attachment, then add the butter and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase speed to medium high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy.
Add lavender, honey, and lemon curd, and food coloring if you’re using it, and continue mixing until combined.
To fill the cupcakes, use the smallest size round cookie cutter you can or a paring knife, remembering to press as gently as you can so the cake doesn’t get compressed.
Pipe lemon curd into cake cavities. Pipe frosting atop the cakes. To ensure the frosting doesn’t slide off while dipping into sprinkles, refrigerate to firm it up, about 20 minutes or so. Gently hold the cupcake by the paper end and dip and roll into sanding or sparkling sugar. I used a mixture of white and lavender sparkling sugar.