Sunday, March 24, 2013

Really Moist Lemon Cupcakes for Lemon Lovers


"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."
- Anne Bradstreet  

Hi everybody! I'm happy to be back to blogging! I've missed you. And I've missed baking. Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement after I posted an update in January. You guys are the best. I'm happy to say I'm feeling a lot better. And now that I've felt the first sun of spring, I feel positively  invincible and that all things are possible. I think I must run on solar. (I am a California girl after all.)
This recipe is full of lemon zest and juice for lots of fresh lemon flavor.

This is a great recipe to kick off spring. Lemons just scream spring to me, and lemon desserts are great for Easter. And it's almost here! These would be awesome for an Easter gathering.

I love lemon desserts, they are one of my favorites. I like my lemon desserts FULL of lemon. I need my lemon flavor strong. These cupcakes reflect that. The cupcakes themselves have a great straightforward lemon flavor. The buttercream is also full of lemon. This frosting would be great on white cupcakes, or even white chocolate cupcakes, yum!

This recipe is super easy. Basically you just add everything to a pot and stir.

If you are using another flavor of frosting and you like a really strong lemon flavor for the cupcakes, I would even say they could be a bit stronger, so I've added instructions in the recipe to do that.

I like to sprinkle the baking soda and salt to the top of the flour and then stir, so it doesn't end up in one lump. I think it makes them incorporate easier. Of course you could stir the dry ingredients together first, but I don't really think that's necessary in this recipe. And who wants to dirty a bowl if you don't need to? ** Edited to add, you will get the best results if you mix the dry ingredients together first (I've noted this in the recipe.)

On the other hand, if you want the flavor a little more toned down you can always decrease the lemon juice and zest to do that.

This is my finished batter. It's bright yellow/orange because I have my own free range chickens and their yolks are bright orange. I mention this because if you are using supermarket eggs your batter will be much more pale. Just an FYI.

Speaking of zest and juice, these are very important aspects to this recipe. You really do need to use fresh lemon juice and the lemon zest needs to be really fine. The best way to do that is to use a Microplane, this is one of my most favorite kitchen tools. I use it to grate Parmesan cheese and chocolate as well as zesting citrus. It allows you to take off only the top layer of the yellow peel, don't get any white pith into your zest or it will be bitter.

These are the cupcake liners I used and I'm loving them! They are thick and foil lined. So the cupcakes are easy to remove. They are greaseproof and I love that they stay true to their color even after they come out of the oven. They are cheap too! I bought these at Walmart. I will definitely be looking for more of these in the future. (Reynolds isn't paying me anything to say this, I just love them.)

For this recipe I took My Favorite White Cupcakes Recipe and adapted it to make it lemon . The great thing about this recipe is how easy it is. Seriously you really just throw it all into a pot and stir. This is the easiest cupcake recipe I've ever made. Which is great for a beginner, or for children. Or for those who don't like a lot of work, but appreciate a great homemade cupcake. (I fall into the last category.)

Pouring the batter into their liners

Another thing I love about these cupcakes is how moist they are. They really are super moist and tender.

Cupcakes cooling on a rack, these smell so good coming out of the oven!

 The buttercream recipe is a standard American buttercream, a butter and powdered sugar base. Which usually doesn't excite me and which most people think is way too sweet. But when you add something tart like lemons to all of that sugar, it really balances out the sweetness and turns this frosting into something special. I could eat this frosting with a spoon, I love it so much. In fact I needed to put the bowl in the sink and rinse it so I would stop licking the bowl.
Making the buttercream

I fed one of these to my husband (who isn't really a dessert lover) and he really loved it. I sent the rest of the batch to his work and they received rave reviews! Especially from the lemon lovers.

I wish you a happy Easter! I hope these cupcakes bring you and your family as much joy as they did for me!

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Oneida silverplated butler's tray and Pretty silver cake server from Italy available at my Etsy shop, House of Lucien. For updates on future coupon codes like House of Lucien on Facebook!

Edited to Add - Some people were having issues with these not rising, this has been fixed! Thank you for all who helped in figuring this out. I've adjusted the recipe to note the changes.

Really Moist Lemon Cupcakes for the Lemon Lover

an original recipe by me, Melissa aka The Alchemist

makes about 20 cupcakes, the recipe can easily be doubled if you need more.

Like I mentioned in the post, this recipe has a great lemon flavor and the buttercream also has a strong lemon flavor, I believe they pair very well together as written. But if you are using a different flavored frosting recipe and want the cupcakes to have a really strong lemon flavor, I would increase the lemon juice to 3/4 cup, and decrease the water to 1/4 cup. If you want them with less lemon flavor I would use less zest, about 1 Tablespoon.


1 cup (2 sticks) (228 g.) butter

1/2 cup (4 oz)  (118 ml.) fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup (4 oz) (118 ml) water

1 1/2 cups (300 g.) sugar

2 eggs beaten

1/2 cup (4 oz) (118 ml.) sour cream or plain yogurt

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon zest, lightly packed

2 cups (300 g.) flour

3/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, 180 degrees Celsius, gas mark 4.

In a large saucepan melt the butter with the lemon juice and water on medium high heat. When the butter is melted remove from heat. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the sour cream (or yogurt), beaten eggs, vanilla extract and lemon zest and whisk together. Let this mixture cool completely before preceding, in the fridge, or room temperature is fine. Just make sure it's not warm. In a separate bowl whisk the flour, salt and baking soda together, then whisk the dry ingredients into the batter. The batter will be somewhat thin, you will be able to pour it in the cupcake liners.

Prepare muffin pans with cupcake liners. Pour (or ladle) the batter in a measuring cup with a spout (or a similar vessel with a pouring spout) and pour the batter into the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full, this is important to the success of the cupcakes, don't fill them half way full, or fuller than 3/4 of the way. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.

Don't open the oven until 18 minutes have passed. Sometimes recipes say to turn the pan half way through cooking time, don't do this here. The reason is because there is so much moisture in this recipe you need that cooking time before opening the oven or else they may fall, and never rise.

Cool cupcakes on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely before frosting.

Lemon Buttercream

This recipe has a great strong lemon flavor. I think it's perfect as is. It would be great paired with a different flavored cupcake. If you are concerned about the lemon flavor being too strong, I would start off with less zest, (start with half of the amount) and start with half the amount of lemon juice and taste it. You can always increase the zest and juice to your liking.

This recipe makes enough frosting to generously pipe the buttercream on the cupcakes. I had just a bit left over, (you can see from the pictures how much I used on each cupcake.) If you are spreading the frosting on, or if you know you will use much less, I would halve the recipe.


1 lb. (4 sticks) (456 g.) unsalted butter at room temperature

1 1/2 lbs (652 g.) powdered sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon lightly packed fresh lemon zest finely zested from a microplane

1/3 cup (78 ml.) fresh lemon juice


Using a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer beat the butter well, about 1 minute with a stand mixer, 2 minutes with a hand mixer. Add about half of the powdered sugar, the vanilla, lemon zest and juice, then beat well, but start off on low until the sugar is mixed in, so it doesn't go flying all over the kitchen. Once it is incorporated add the rest of the sugar, (start on low again) then increase to high speed and beat until very fluffy, about 3 minutes in a stand mixer, or 5 with a hand mixer. If you want the frosting more stiff, add more sugar, if you want it more loose, add a little milk. Use right away. If you aren't going to use it right away keep it at room temperature until you do, for a few hours anyway. If you aren't going to use it until the next day, refrigerate it. The next day you will first need to bring it to room temperature then beat it again. Refrigerating it will make it hard since it is mostly butter. This frosting freezes well for at least 6 months. Make sure it's wrapped very well so air doesn't get into it. When ready to use, bring it to room temperature and then beat again.

I hope you (and those you serve them to) love these cupcakes as much as I do!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

St. Patricks Day Food

"For each petal on the shamrock - This brings a wish your way - Good health, good luck, and happiness For today and every day."

~Author Unknown

Hello friends! I want to thank all of you who have written me with your kind words of support, you're the best! I am going to start blogging again soon, so stay tuned for that. In the mean time, St Patricks day is less than a week away so I wanted to share some of my past St. Patricks Day food I've blogged about.

Irish Coffee Cupcakes  - These cupcakes are so wonderful! They are based on my Favorite White Cupcake Recipe. They are moist and full of great coffee flavor with some spiked whipped cream, so good!

Beef and Guinness Stew - This is just hearty, mouthwatering, goodness. Savory and tender beef pairs with Guinness beer, a really great combination.

Luck of the Irish Cookies - I called these cookies my Luck of the Irish cookies, cause well, you know what green M&M's mean, nudge, nudge, wink, wink. But all kidding aside, they are scrumptious! Based on the Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookie recipe, this is a solid, delicious cookie.

Irish Soda Bread -  I love to make Irish Soda Bread because it's pretty easy. No waiting for dough to rise and no yeast. I'll be making this with the typical corned beef, cabbage and red potatoes, this St. Patty's Day!

Happy St. Patty's Day everyone! And I'll see you soon!