Tricia’s Lemon Cupcakes
½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
Zest from 1 lemon
Juice from 1 lemon
Crystallized sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC, Gas Mark 4). Line a 12-count muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed in a large bowl until creamed (about 2-3 minutes). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until everything is combined, about 2 minutes. Continue to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three additions, beating on low speed. The batter will be thick. Beat in the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice on low speed until just combined. Do not overmix the batter.
Spoon the batter evenly into 12 cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Frost the cooled cupcakes with lemon buttercream icing. Sprinkle with crystallized sugar, if using. If topping with lemon zest, do so right before serving.
Lemon Buttercream Frosting
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 to 3 teaspoons lemon extract
1 teaspoon milk (more as needed)
5 drops yellow food color (optional)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (or more as needed)
Lemon zest (optional)
Beat the butter, lemon extract, and the milk together until smooth. If using, add the yellow food coloring. Beat the confectioners’ sugar into the butter mixture until desired consistency is reached. You may decide to add more sugar at this point. Note: You will want to at least double the recipe if using an 8B tip to pipe the icing.
Angelica’s Pistachio Cupcakes
1½ cups pistachios
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC, Gas Mark 4). Line a 12-count muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Place the pistachios and sugar into a food processor and chop until finely ground. Transfer the pistachio-sugar mixture to a large bowl and stir in the egg yolks, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, with an electric mixer beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter. Spoon the batter into the baking cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the muffin pan for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus an extra ¼ cup if needed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon salt
Green food coloring (optional)
In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for an additional 2 minutes. If you like your frosting a little thicker, add the extra ¼ cup of confectioners’ sugar. If you want your frosting to match your cupcakes, add several drops of food coloring to the frosting and mix well. Add more if you want to tint the frosting a deeper color. Yield: approximately 3 cups.
Total Yield: 10-12 cupcakes
Alice’s Maple Walnut Cupcakes
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cups granulated sugar
2¼ cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
4 egg whites
1¼ cups milk
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC, Gas Mark 4). Line a 12-count muffin pan with paper or foil liners and set aside. Place the chopped walnuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet; bake for 6 to 7 minutes. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed of an electric mixer.
In a separate bowl, mix together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the maple syrup, egg whites, and half of the flour mixture to the mixing bowl. Mix on low speed just until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix on low until combined. Add the milk and mix on low until the batter is fully combined. Fold in ½ cup of the chopped walnuts. Fill each muffin liner approximately full. Bake for 26 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Angelica’s Maple Buttercream Frosting*
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2¾ cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
¼ cup chopped walnuts or walnut halves (optional)
Place the softened butter in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for 30 to 40 seconds until whipped. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Sift the confectioner’s sugar into the bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for 30 to 40 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the brown sugar and maple syrup. Beat for 2 to 3 minutes or until the mixture is fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. If using, scatter the ¼ cup of walnuts on the frosted cupcakes as a garnish or top with the walnut halves.
*Angelica’s Maple Buttercream Frosting first appeared in A Fatal Chapter with her carrot cake recipe.