Yes, I admit… I had another fruit over-buy moment. I was making a recipe that needed lemon zest, so as I was purchasing a lemon, I looked at the price – it was $.50 per lemon. These were small lemons mind you, and that seemed a little steep just for some lemon zest. But then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a little green mesh bag chock full of large lemons for $2.50. I counted the lemons, and there were 11 total! That was less than half the price of the individuals. Well, I bought the bag. I figured one can never have too many lemons right? Yeah, I realize the flaw in my thought process now.
So now, I still have all these lemons, and some of them are starting to get soft. I need to figure out ways to use them quickly. The first thing that popped into my mind when I thought about how I would use them was Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes. These delectable morsels are one of the best lemon cake-type dishes I have ever had. They are not tart like so many fabulous lemon desserts, instead they are very sweet with a subtle nuance of lemon. But what really makes these little delicacies so spectacular is their incredible, melt in your mouth texture. I know in some recipes a substitution can be used in place of the buttermilk, but I would not suggest that here. Also, I would recommend ‘full fat’ buttermilk as well, but the non-fat stuff will do in a pinch.
A word of caution: I can hork down two or three of these cupcakes in one sitting, so be careful – they are deceptively light.
2 2/3 C – All Purpose Flour
1/2 t – Baking Soda
1/4 t – Salt
1 C (2 sticks) – Butter
1 3/4 C – Sugar
zest of 2 medium lemons
juice of 2 medium lemons (approx. 1/4 C)
4 lg – Eggs
1 1/4 C – Buttermilk
1 1/2 t – Almond Extract
8 oz Cream Cheese
1/2 C Butter (salted or unsalted)
2 1/2 t Vanilla
4 C Powdered Sugar
1-2 t lemon zest (optional, but recommended)
*Note: If using unsalted butter, add 1/4 t salt to frosting.
Gather Materials. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda, salt; set aside.
Cream together butter and sugar. Add lemon zest. Mix until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, mix thoroughly between each one. Add lemon juice. Mix. Add buttermilk and mix well. Add dry ingredients.
The batter is fairly thick when finished. Spoon batter approximately 2/3 full into lined muffin tins. Bake for 17-20 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE. I have done this many times. It will ruin the texture of the cupcake, even if it is just slightly over-baked. The tops of the cupcakes will still look slightly wet and under-baked when you pull them out of the oven. They will cool to a perfect texture so don’t worry.
While cupcakes are cooling, make frosting. Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and optional lemon zest. Beat until very smooth, approximately five minutes.
Load a pastry bag with the cream cheese frosting and frost the cupcakes. I am just using my ‘el cheapo’ pastry bag that I purchased from the grocery store a couple of years ago. That is my next kitchen investment – a nice pastry bag. You can also frost these cupcakes by hand of course.
These cupcakes are soft, moist, and dense. I am always impressed with this recipe, every single time I make them.
So now that the sweet tooth has been satiated, I am off to figure out more recipes with lots of lemon. Enjoy!!