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Sometimes, when you are extremely important and busy, you forget stuff. I forgot to tell you about these cupcakes. I’ve made them a couple of times, and they are awesome. But I made them back in the summer. Remember summer? It was warm and sunny and stuff? And all those months ago, I planned to tell you about these cupcakes. But then I forgot. And I’m right sorry like.
These cupcakes were made using Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake recipe. I made the cake, and it was the bomb. And then I was all like, let’s make this sucker portable. Portable portions that can be sucked into one’s face. So I adapted the recipe just a wee bit (read: used muffin tins instead of cake pans), and voilà! Face stuffing magic.
Also, I was thinking, what if Dorie Greenspan is reading my blog? She’s going to be all offended if I don’t post some sort of tribute to her genius. Especially because I tell everyone I know that she’s the best thing to come along since garlic presses. Oh, and I’ve told everyone I know that if they don’t buy her books they are stupid, and if they refuse, I don’t want to know them anymore. That’s loyalty, people. (To Dorie, not my real-life friends.) So, yah, you could say I’m Dorie’s
best friend stalker relatively harmless super fan. And then I was thinking, I’ve posted two variations of David Lebovitz’s recipes. What if I’ve sparked some sort of rivalry between the two? Maybe they are both reading my blog. Crying over their fancy European coffee drinks. Wearing berets? Yes. They are wearing berets. And they are weeping. Don’t worry guys! There’s enough movita love to go around! Let’s get on a ferris wheel! (When I was in Europe, I noticed that they – like, all the people on the continent – are really into ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds. I’m sure Dorie and David would feel better if I took them on a randomly placed circus ride in the middle of Paris.)
So, here’s the thing about these magical face stuffers. The cake is light and airy. A hint of? Lemon. Yes, that’s right, you’re tasting a little lemon there. And the frosting? It’s as light as kitten fur. Delicately flavoured. Perfect for a high falootin’ event. (Hey! Spell check just suggested that I change falootin’ to fallopian. Spell check just doesn’t get me.)
You know the drill. Drop what you’re doing. Make these cupcakes now.
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For the cupcakes:
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
For the buttercream:
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- 3 sticks unsalted butter (1 1/2 cups), room temperature
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 large lemons)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the garnish (optional):
- 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 24 muffin wells with cupcake liners.
Begin by making the cupcakes. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Place the sugar and lemon zest in the large bowl of your stand mixer and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter to the sugar mixture. Beat the mixture at medium speed, until the butter and sugar are very light (about 3 to 5 minutes). Next, beat in the lemon extract, and then add 1/3 of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
Next, beat in half of the milk-egg mixture. Then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is smooth. Then add the last of the dry ingredients. Beat the batter for 2 minutes.
Divide the batter between the muffin wells.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops of the cupcakes are golden – a cake tester inserted into the centers should come out clean. Transfer the cupcake pans to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes from their wells, and cool to room temperature.
Next, make the buttercream. Put the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl. Fit the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly, until it feels hot to the touch (about 3 to 5 minutes). The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream. Remove the bowl from the heat.
Working with the whisk attachment of your stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg white mixture on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth.
Beat the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6 to 10 minutes. During this time, the buttercream may curdle or separate – don’t fret! It will come together again.
Finally, on medium speed, gradually beat in the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla.
Top the cupcakes with the buttercream. Then top with coconut if using.
PS Have you thought about entering Pumpkin Carve-Off 2011? No? Okay. Picture me wearing a beret, crying over a fancy European coffee drink. Now are you thinking about entering? Thought so.