Sunday, 24 March 2013

Easter cupcakes

I'm sorry to post another lemon cake recipe so close to the lemon buttermilk cake, but it's spring and there is no flavour which says spring like lemon. Well, technically speaking it's not spring at all. At the time of writing this, it's snowing outside. Or I think it's closer to sleet. Whatever it is, it's wet, cold and disgusting. I know it's rather hypocritical to be so excited about snow, that fluffy, white and wonderful stuff in December while being so negative about it in March. But we have all been putting up with this horrible winter for long enough, and I think now we deserve sun and warmth. I managed to get maximum joy out of the icy cold sleet today. I went to the gym, and because there was an hour-long break between the two classes I was attending, I decided to pop by the post office which is located right next to the gym to pick up a pack of cardmaking stuff I had ordered off Ebay. However, after walking from the gym to the post office I realised I didn't have any form of ID on me. I usually always have my driver's licence on me, although I obviously never need it as I don't drive. When I went on holiday a while ago, I took my driver's licence with me, just in case we ended up renting a car. But I never got around to moving my driver's licence back to my regular wallet from my holiday wallet. So I had to walk back to the gym empty handed, did my other class, then biked back home to pick up my driver's licence and then biked back to the post office for my parcel. All while being soaked in icy sleet. Oh joy!

I'm going to pretend it's spring anyways. And it will be easter in less than a week. So I thought some sort of easter cupcake would be nice. I have been wanting to try out my icing tips, especially the one that makes icing look like grass. And what would be a more perfect time to make grass-iced cupcakes than Easter? I wanted the cupcakes to be lemon flavoured, but I also wanted something else in them. Originally I thought white chocolate chips, but at the store I found honeycomb chips and thought I would try them instead. I googled lemon cupcakes and one of the first hits was Mary Berry's lemon cupcakes. Obviously I had to try them out, what could go wrong if you are using the recipe of the Queen of Cakes! I didn't use the buttercream icing in Mary's recipe, but a modification of the cream cheese frosting from my recent buns

Mary Berry's lemon cupcakes (makes 12-14):
125 g sugar
125 g butter
125 g self rising flour
2 tbsp milk
2 eggs
grated zest from 1 lemon (I wanted my cupcakes extra lemony so I used 2 lemons)
50 g honeycomb pieces

Icing (for half of the cupcakes!!):
30 g cream cheese
1/8 cup softened butter
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar

green food colour (or yellow and blue, as I don't have green. Just make sure to start with the yellow, and add just the teeniest touch of blue)

The howto:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a muffin tin with paper cases. Measure all the ingredients for the batter into a bowl, and using an electric mixer, mix until combined. Distribute into the paper cases, and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool.

While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the icing. Whisk together butter and cream cheese, then add lemon juice and icing sugar (I started off with 1/2 cup, then added about a quarter and another quarter until I got the consistency I wanted). Whisk until the icing turns light and fluffy. The amount makes enough to frost half the cupcakes, as I froze the other half. If you want to ice all your cupcakes, double the amount of icing. I let the piping bag with icing rest in the fridge for about an hour, which made it good consistency for piping with my Wilton 233. Then I just added some chocolate eggs and bunnies on top.
The verdict:
This was a perfect recipe, really quick and easy. One bowl and the mixer, it all took just a few minutes. I would say the most labour intensive part of the recipe is grating the lemon. Other than that, you probably need about three minutes to prepare the cupcakes. The cupcakes turned out nice and lemony and didn't rise too much in the oven so they made a level surface to pipe on. The honeycomb was not the most successful addition, as the pieces just melted in the oven. They did leave a nice sweet and crumbly texture on the top of the cupcakes though. But you might want to substitute with white chocolate chips or maybe small fudge pieces instead. I even thought candied ginger might work quite well with the lemon, but I only thought of that after the cupcakes were already in the oven. I absolutely adore the modified buttercream which has some cream cheese in it, it makes the flavour a bit less butter-y and I just find it tastier. And I love the small colourful easter eggs although, I have to admit, I had a bit of a problem keeping them around for long enough to make it onto the cupcakes. They just seemed to magically disappear during the day...

Card of the day:
I made some Easter cards using the Personal Impressions Easter set 1 stamps. The ones in the first photo were made a while ago, before I had very much card making supplies, so they are a bit more basic. The ones on the bottom are a bit more elaborate, including some embossing using the Sizzix Country&Flowering Foliage set and the Sizzix Thickets&Swirls set. I do my embossing using a rolling pin, as I don't have a Big Shot. I have promised myself I can buy one to celebrate if I ever manage to get a new job, but not before. Embossing actually works really well with the rolling pin method, as long as you make sure you apply even pressure, and have the patience to go at it for a while. And really put your weight into it. Come to think of it, that might be why other people online seem to have a bit of a problem getting a good, deep embossing, while I didn't find that hard at all. One thing that doesn't seem to work very well with the rolling pin method though is inking your embossing folders, so I have had to settle with inking with a foam pad after embossing. 

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