Even though chocolate is one of the tastiest things in the world, it can be quite rich and sweet, so sometimes when I’m a little tired of eating chocolate flavoured goodness, I tend to use lemon. Lemon is one of my favourite flavours to use when baking because I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of it – honestly, ask any of my friends and they will know how much I love lemon tarts, lemon meringues, lemon anything! It isn’t too sweet and sugary, but perfectly tangy and delicious.
I’ve been on a bit of a baking spree this past week, so thought I’d add lemon cupcakes to my list so far. I have made these once before in the past and they still taste just as good. Thank you Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook once again.
The recipe calls for grated lemon zest and it is the most flavourful and aromatic way of using a lemon for flavouring. You can’t substitute lemon zest for lemon juice, because the flavours are slightly different – zest will always have a stronger flavour, plus lemon juice is a liquid, which could mess up the mix if used.
I had a little trouble with creaming the butter into the flour mixture as it hadn’t really been sat out long enough to reach room temperature (I was in a rush), but it just took a little longer than usual for the butter to combine. Always use room temperature butter, it’s much easier to work with. NEVER melt it in the microwave!
When you put the cupcakes in the oven, about half way through the cooking time, you can start smelling the delicious lemon flavour! The sponge turned out very light and bouncy to the touch. Here, there is an option to hollow out a small section to add lemon curd to the centre of the cupcake, which makes the cupcake very tangy. With the mixture, I made 7 large cupcakes and 5 mini cupcakes, just to see how the mini cupcakes would turn out like.
Lemon zest is also used in the lemon buttercream icing, which really helps balance out the sweetness of the frosting. I added a couple drops of yellow food colouring to get the frosting to really stand out or if you prefer the frosting naturally ends up in a pastel yellow.
I used a large star tip for the frosting, but a smaller one than I used on the red velvet cupcakes as I found the frosting was a little too heavy on those cupcakes. I think I am finally getting the hang of piping swirls onto cupcakes.. I just need to stop breaking my piping bags!