2012 is shaping up to be a busy year. So far in January:
Roadtrip – Sacramento –> LA. LA –> Sacramento.
Engagement photoshoot for my brother & his fiancee in Santa Monica, CA.
Began a fitness certification course (more on that later!)
Was reunited with the most awesome lab group of all time.
Back on board the half-marathon training plan + gym routine.
Jumped on the winter citrus train & made these cupcakes!
Lemon cupcakes, to be exact! They come from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, a book that was gifted to me by a friend who truly understands just how much I love little cakes with pretty frosting ( a lot!). The photos in this book are incredible – bright, vibrant, beautiful – everything I aspire to achieve when embarking on my own food photo endeavors. Love you, Martha!
I’ll be the first to admit my cupcakes don’t look a thing like hers…mostly because she has awesome pro photographers – I mean, check out that photo!! – while I’m a photo rookie, but also because I topped mine with lemon pudding and lemon buttercream frosting rather than the lemon curd and meringue frosting in the recipe.
I know, I know. Lemon meringue cupcakes without the meringue are like…..lemon cupcakes. Mmhmm. Profound!
I went for a more simple approach, but don’t hold that against these lemony little gems! Lemons, limes, grapefruit & oranges are definitely in full-swing right now. I love how bright and sunny these little cakes are, perfect for those of you who are talking about snow & freezing temps where you’re at!
PS: I feel for you, because even though it’s been uncharacteristically warm & sunny for January here in Nor Cal, I still find myself piling on the blankets, guzzling hot coffee, and dreaming of summer weather!
Martha Stewart’s Lemon Cupcakes (with Lemon pudding & Buttercream)
Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes
* 3 Cups All-purpose flour
* 1 Tbsp Baking powder
* 1/2 tsp Salt
* 1 Cup (2 Sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 2 Cups Sugar
* 4 Large eggs, room temperature
* Finely grated zest of 3 lemons (3 Tbsp)
* 2 Tbsp Fresh lemon juice
* 1 tsp Pure vanilla extract
* 1 Cup Buttermilk (I didn’t have buttermilk, so I used plain milk)
* 1 Small Box Lemon flavored Jell-o Pudding
* 2 Cups Cold milk
Lemon Buttercream Frosting:
(I don’t have a set recipe for this, I adjust as I go – so here’s my best account of what I used!)
* 1 Stick Butter
* 3 Cups Confectioner’s sugar
* 1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
* Dash of Salt
* 1-2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
* 1-2 Tbsp Milk
Topping: 1 Tbsp lemon zest + clear sugar sprinkles
For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 325*F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing to incorporate between each. Beat in zest and vanilla. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 additions of milk and lemon juice, beating until just combined after each addition.
Just about fill each lined cup with batter. Bake until slightly golden brown on top, about 25 minutes. I slightly overbaked mine (not on purpose!) So don’t do that.
As soon as possible, remove cupcakes from tin and allow to cool on a cooling rack completely before frosting.
Once cool, core the cupcakes and fill with pudding if you wish. I simple piled it on top and piped on the frosting. Top with fresh lemon zest & sparkly sugar sprinkles.
For the Pudding:
Follow the directions on the box, stir pudding mix into cold milk, continuing to stir for about 5 minutes until set up.
For the Frosting:
Beat room temperature butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy. Add confectioner’s sugar a few Tbsp at a time to allow everything to combine. Add the dash of salt and vanilla extract. Continue adding confectioner’s sugar, alternating with additions of the milk and lemon juice until frosting comes together. Add more milk if you like thinner frosting, and less if you like thicker frosting. Simple!
Currently reading: The February 2012 issue of InStyle Magazine
Currently listening to: The Pretty Reckless – “Just Tonight” Obsessed! Anyone else??
Currently snacking on: Hazelnuts!
Currently cuddling with: This little guy!
Eventually: A sunny jog =)