the best cupcakes ever…according to my fan

I had a really awesome New Year’s Eve… I spent the day playing in the snow with some of my favourite people… giggles and big smiles were the order of the day!

So when we all came in for our celebration dinner I wanted to quickly whip up a little treat for the little hobbits… cupcakes seemed like the perfect dessert. Not only did they turn out (and I was able to use some left over frosting from a cake I’d made the day before) but I was informed that I make the “best cupcakes ever“… :0)

I won’t lie – I’ll take the compliment and share the recipe with all of you… after all, don’t we all like to think we make the very best cupcakes? Try this one and you should be hearing the same rave reviews.

Lemon Cupcakes
ingredients:
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 c. butter at room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c. whole milk

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line your muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners (large sized). Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a larger bowl and with your electric mixer (I wasn’t at home and didn’t use my stand mixer… but obviously you could use yours with the paddle attachment), beat together the butter and sugar (medium speed) until smooth and light in colour (2 minutes).

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each into the batter. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla extract to the mixture and continue to beat for another minute or so.

At a low speed, and in 3 additions (3 flour, 2 milk), add the flour and milk alternately to the batter (beginning and ending with the flour). You want to combine everything but not over mix… so as soon as it’s smooth you’re good to go!

Fill each paper liner with the batter (about 3 tablespoons worth). Bake for 20 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove them from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack (I actually cooled mine on the counter-top… no wire racks, but they still turned out A-OK).

Once they have fully cooled you’re ready to frost them!

Beware… I actually halved the recipe below (I’m giving you the complete recipe) and ended up with enough frosting to fill a 9 inch layered cake (the filling between the layers) AND half of these cupcakes… plus I still have some frosting in my fridge. It seems to go a long way… or maybe I just don’t put enough frosting on my cupcakes!? But at least we know that it’ll keep in a air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Classic Chocolate Frosting
ingredients:
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 c. butter at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c. heavy cream, at room temperature (briefly heated over low heat)

Put the unsweetened chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water (1 inch deep). Stir the chocolate until it is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of your stand mixer (you’ll use your paddle attachment for this recipe) combine the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and butter – beat at a lower speed for a couple of minutes – you want a smooth texture. Beat in the melted chocolate, adding the vanilla and cream. Beat until everything is super smooth; about 3 minutes. The result should be a nice thick consistency, easy to smooth onto your cupcakes with a butter knife or to pipe on with a piping bag.

Top with sprinkles and your cupcakes are good to go!

Note:
If your cream wasn’t at room temperature, you could have quickly warmed it on low heat in a saucepan…

I thought I’d used low heat… but apparently now low enough and I ended up with the following dilemma…. the hot cream melted the butter in the frosting! I was able to solve that problem by chilling the frosting in my fridge for 30 minutes…
the butter solidified and the frosting was ready to be used!

I also used my Lemon Meringue butter cream frosting (July blog)… I had topped and iced a cake with it and had some left over from that too. Cupcakes seem to be the best way to use up my left-overs and make very happy hobbits ;0)

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