Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lauren's Lemon Birthday Cupcakes

The last batch of three that I made in one week. I used a box of white cake mix and grated the zest of one lemon into the batter for the base. The frosting is swiss meringue butter cream again but with lemon curd.

Martha Stewart's Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Follow Instructions for Swiss Meringue Buttercream, omitting the vanilla extract and stirring in 3/4 cup Lemon Curd (page 390) with a rubber spatula at the end.

Lemon Curd
makes 2 cups

8 large egg yolks
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces

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 (be sure to scrape the sides of the pan), until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 8 to 10 minutes, and registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer.

Remove saucepan from heat. Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth. Strain though 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.


This recipe made the perfect amount of curd to fill 24 cupcakes and flavour the frosting. I used a little too much lemon juice so my curd didn't set very firm but it still tasted great. I'm a firm believer that if you're going to go with a lemon flavoured dessert, go big on the lemon and this curd was nice and tart.

I used the same filling method as I did with these cupcakes. Once again, the filling made it a little messy to eat with just your hands so a fork may be in order.

Gareth's 33rd Birthday Cupcakes

I planned on baking three batches of cupcakes in one extremely hectic week so I used cake mix. So the base is mix but the frosting is Martha Stewart's Swiss Meringue Buttercream (a.k.a. my new bff). I love this frosting; easy to make and pipes beautifully.

You can find this recipe in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook on page 386.

4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine the egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar ha dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch (about 160 degrees Fahrenheit).

Attach the bowl tot he mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it hold stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until the mixture if fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes.

switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If the frosting appears to separate after all the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.) Beat in vanilla. Beat on lowest speed to eliminate any air bubbles, about 2 minutes. Stir with a rubber spatula until frosting is smooth.

This was the second time that I made this frosting so I just put the egg whites and sugar over medium high heat because it took forever to heat up the first time around. As long as you keep whisking until they're warm, you won't overcook them.

After filling a piping bag with the frosting, I put it in the fridge to firm up a bit and then it piped perfectly. There was more than enough to frost 24 cupcakes. This frosting will most likely be my all-purpose go-to for cupcakes.