Thursday, March 8

Vanilla Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Remember this post? Here's the recipe. I adapted it from Martha Stewart. What can I say? The lady's got it goin' on.

Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes 1 dozen


1 1/2 cups cake flour (*see below for a little trick)
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/8 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (**see below for another little trick)
1/2 cup milk
4 large egg whites

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.
  4. In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/8 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes. Do not overbeat. Gently fold 1/3 of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining egg-white mixture.
  5. Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each with a heaping 1/4 cup batter. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack. Invert cupcakes onto rack; then reinvert and let cool completely, top sides up.
  6. To fill cupcakes, just remove a small portion of cake from the middle. Spoon lemon curd (or any other yummy filling you want) into the middle. Frost or pipe the buttercream on to cupcakes to your liking. Then, decorate!!
*if you don't have cake flour on hand try this: for every 1 cup of all-purpose flour, substitute one tablespoon of it with corn starch. Works like a charm.

**if you're feeling really fancy, substitute the vanilla extract for vanilla bean paste. yum!

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Makes about 5 cups

4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch (about 160 degrees. you'll want a good cooking thermometer for this one).
  2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes.
  3. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low speed, add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears to separate after all the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.) Beat in vanilla. Beat on lowest speed to eliminate any air bubbles, about 2 minutes.
  4. Optional-color with food coloring to desired color. ( I used AmeriColor gel paste color in Dusty Rose for the pic above)
*You can also use to the whisk attachment while adding the butter, just make sure it's room temperature. And remember: if it's separated, don't worry! Just keep beating it until it comes together to make a glossy, smooth mixture.

Lemon Curd
Makes about 2 cups

This recipe is great for a lot of things. Try using fresh organic meyer lemons. It's AWESOME.


1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
8 large egg yolks (save the whites for another use. Buttercream maybe? :) )
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter (10 tablespoons), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  1. In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together sugar, zest, and egg yolks; whisk in lemon juice and salt.

  2. Add butter and place pan over medium. Cook, whisking constantly, until butter has melted, mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, and small bubbles form around the edge of pan, about 5 minutes (do not boil). *Watch this-you don't want scrambled eggs...

  3. Remove pan from heat while continuing to whisk. Pour curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a glass bowl. Press plastic wrap against the surface of curd and refrigerate until cool.

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