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Monday, January 11, 2010

Delicious Lemon Cupcakes with Limoncella Buttercream Icing

Straight up...these are amazing.  I have to give credit where it is due and that belongs with Our Best Bites blogger.  I was looking for some good lemon recipes and did she deliver.  I changed the icing a minor touch but she deserves all the credit for this one.  She actually has a pretty amazing blog.  Very creative lady who I've been following for a long time.  Her tie died eggs for easter have become a hit in this house!!

Anyhow.  These cupcakes are light tasting, and not too strong in flavour.  They have enough substance though that you only need one as a nice snack without needing to go back for more and more....let's face it..there are some cupcakes that just don't fill you enough...this one is not like that.  I changed the icing to include limoncella as I'm not a fan of lemon extract...not sure why, but I love Limoncella since our trip to Italy and use it a lot in baking now.

Lemon Cupcakes

1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) of REAL butter
3 c. cake flour (no substitutions here--you really need the lightness of cake flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. sugar
5 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons (just zest the other lemons before you squeeze them)
1 c. buttermilk  ( if you don't have buttermilk on hand, just use regular milk and add some lemon juice into it to curdle a bit)

Preheat oven to 325. Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Don't go skimping here--you want the mixture to be almost white and super fluffy. This is absolutely essential to the outcome of the cake.  (my own note...I agree completely...whip em, whip em good)

While butter and sugar are mixing, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside. After butter and sugar have mixed sufficiently, With the mixer running, add eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Beat in vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest.

With mixer on low speed, alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating until fully incorporated.

Using a measuring cup place approx 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup. (Notes from Sara and Kate at Best bites:  Fill these almost to the top--due to the final texture (again, think super-moist and light pound cake), these cupcakes won't have a nice, curvy crown, but that's okay--no one will ever know or care.)  I'll be honest...mine came out pretty nicely with no sunken tops.

Bake about 20-25 minutes or just until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. You don't want to overbake these even a bit, or they'll start to lose their delicious moisture. Remove from oven and cool completely. Frost with Limoncella buttercream icing.
Limoncella Buttercream Icing
1 1/4 c. butter (2 1/2 sticks) softened

2 tsp. grated lemon rind
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp Limoncella liquor (if you don't have limoncella you can use the equiv. in lemon juice)
3 c. powdered sugar

Whip the butter until fluffy.  Add 1 Cup of powdered sugar and whip again until smooth and fluffy.  Add the lemon rind and lemon juice.  Whip again,  add another cup of powdered sugar again whipping until smooth.  Add the limoncella and whip again.  Add the final cup of powdered sugar and whip until light and fluffy.

Pipe onto cupcakes with a large star tip.

These are so good.  I had some leftover icing and made some lemon cookies and topped them with the icing as well...Oh my die for good...I'll blog the recipe for the cookies tomorrow.

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