While there, I came across what appeared to be Eureka lemons. These are much larger than the garden variety sold at the local sabziwala, which are usually closer to limes than lemons. The Eureka lemons were large, bright and oozing oodles of zesty juice. The juice of one of these is equivalent to about 4 or 5 of our nimbus and the kick of the zest is incomparable! Naturally, with these gorgeous lemons in hand inspiration struck for my next baking project.
I have to admit it was a close competition between making lemon tarts and lemon cupcakes, but in the end the cupcakes prevailed (I got the family to vote). In order to do justice to these ‘fancy’ lemons (they were expensive!), I decided to go with lemon cupcakes that would be filled with tangy lemon curd but topped off with sweet buttercream frosting, with a twist. The reason I say 'with a twist' is because I wanted the buttercream flavouring to be different yet complimentary to the lemony deliciousness that lay below it. I decided to go with blueberry since it’s not only known to go brilliantly with lemon flavoured cakes, but also because I happened to have a jar of organic blueberry preserve lying in my fridge. Convenient!
LEMON CUPCAKES WITH LEMON CURD & BLUEBERRY FROSTING
Makes 12 cupcakes
Ingredients for the Lemon Cupcakes
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (approx. 110gm) butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon or 4 small lemons (about 1 ½ tablespoons)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk (1 cup milk + 1 ¾ tbsp white vinegar)
Ingredients for the Lemon Curd
4 large egg yolks
Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3/4 sticks (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
Ingredients for the Blueberry Buttercream Frosting
100 gm butter
¾ cup icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp blueberry preserve/jam
Other Things You'll Need
2 Mixing bowls
Electric hand mixer
Creating the Magic
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- With an electric mixer cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- Beat in zest and vanilla.
- Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and lemon juice, and folding until just combined after each.
- Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full.
- Bake until cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, approximately 20 minutes.
- Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature in airtight containers.
- Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Remove saucepan from heat. Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth.
- Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
- Place butter in a mixing bowl and blend with hand mixer on medium-low speed till fluffy. Add sugar and continue to beat until well incorporated. Add milk and continue to mix.
- Once the mixture is smooth, add the blueberry preserve and gently fold into the frosting.
- Refrigerate the frosting until ready to frost the cupcakes.