Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Hello, Readers. Have I ever told you how spectacular a baking team Beck and I make? We've recently found our usual baking-together-time drastically reduced by our differing weekend schedules, though. But has this stopped us from baking "together"? Nope. Read and observe.

The scene: A Saturday afternoon, ONE SISTER at home, the OTHER SISTER out and about. The NEED TO BAKE enters the apartment. A phone call is made.

I feel like baking.
So bake something.
What should I bake? Cupcakes?
Do you feel like baking cupcakes?
So bake cupcakes.

What kind of cupcakes should I bake?
I don't know. I have been wanting to bake lemon cupcakes myself.
So I should bake lemon cupcakes?
Sure. There was a recipe on Let's Dish.
(Pause while looking up the recipe online.)

Okay, yeah, I think we have all the ingredients except buttermilk. I guess I could go to the store for that.
You don't have to go to the store. You can make a buttermilk substitute with milk and lemon juice.
Oh yeah. But we don't have any milk. Or lemons, now that I think about it.
Oh. Well, you're gonna at least need lemons to make lemon cupcakes. The bodega on the corner should have both lemons and milk. You don't have to go all the way to the store.
Oh yeah, the bodega. Ok. I'll make lemon cupcakes.
Ok. Have fun. Talk to you later.

(Hours pass. Lemony sweet cupcakes are baked. Mouths water. Suddenly, THE NEED FOR A MISSING INGREDIENT enters the apartment. A text message is sent.)

Can you pick up a block of cream cheese for frosting on your way home?
(After 20 minutes of no response, things get more urgent.)
Don't forget to pick up cream cheese! These cupcakes look good!
(More waiting. Then finally, a response...)
Will do!

(Cream cheese is bought and brought home. Icing is whipped up, cupcakes are frosted. Sprinkles are sprinkled. The two bakers may or may not squeeze leftover frosting directly into each other's mouths. Everyone is happy on a sunshine-y, sugar-induced high. End scene.)

I know...I should get some sort of playwriting award for that scene. Totally captivating.

Were you observing though? Did you see the successful baking teamwork?

That's how Becky and I work best. There's something to be said for baking something from inspiration to consumption all on your own. But for us, there's often more satisfaction in combining our baking prowess, even if we're not in the same place at the same time. You could say that our teamwork is like the sprinkles on these cupcakes - it's not necessary, but it definitely takes things up a level.

Or better said, our teamwork is like that extra frosting. It just plain makes things more fun.



Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Let's Dish
Makes approximately 24 cupcakes

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
Zest of two lemons
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

2 (8) ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Juice of one lemon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake tins with paper liners, or spray with non-stick cooking spray.  

2. To make cake, sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Whisk together milk and egg whites in another medium bowl.  

3. In a large bowl, rub lemon zest and sugar together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add butter and beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until light. Beat in vanilla and lemon extract, then add one third of flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of milk-egg mixture, then beat in another third of flour mixture until incorporated. Add rest of milk-egg mixture, then final third of flour mixture. Beat for an additional 2 minutes until batter is well blended.  

4. Place the batter into the prepared tins. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack before frosting.

5. Meanwhile, make frosting by blending butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until well combined. Gradually add in confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated, then mix in vanilla and lemon juice. 

6. Spread frosting on cupcakes with an offset spatula, or place frosting in a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off, and pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Decorate with sprinkles as desired.


  1. That's awesome! I envy your guys relationship!

  2. I was looking for a lemon poppy bundt cake recipe and landed on your blog, specifically the bundt cake post. It sounds really good! I have been roaming around here for a little bit, and you two have so many great recipes, and such a fun blog:)

  3. Glad you found us, Sue! Your blog looks great at as well...I love the owl cookies and may have to try those even though it's not fall!