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Welcome Spring with Fresh Lemon

Posted by Denise McCreery on

Nothing says hello to spring like the fresh, light, zesty taste of lemon! It’s like sunshine…cutting into a lemon and having little sparkles of zingy juice shoot out in every direction, filling the air with micro bursts of lively tart energy…who can resist?

The recipe below is my favorite when I’m craving something lemony for dessert, they are the perfect balance of tangy and sweet, they are easy to make and helpful in using up the last of the lemons from my backyard tree. For the lightest cupcake, make sure the butter, eggs and milk are close to room temperature before starting.You can decorate the tops of the cupcakes with additional lemon zest, or try a few strips of fresh basil leaves, candied ginger or a few fresh blueberries.

Hint: Firmly roll your lemon between your hand and the kitchen counter to get the most of the juice; when done juicing and zesting, throw the remains in your garbage disposal for a quick fresh clean.

Fresh Lemon Cupcakes

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 T finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole milk, close to room temperature

For the frosting:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Make the cupcakes: Heat oven to 350° F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until combined (do not overmix).

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to rack(s) to cool completely.

Make the frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the lemon zest, juice, and salt.

Frost the cupcakes; makes 1 dozen large cupcakes and can easily be doubled.

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