Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lemon Limoncello Cupcakes

It has been so overcast and gloomy here, so I was looking for a nice treat to remind me of summer.  When I think of summer, the flavor of lemon is the first to come to mind.

These cupcakes were the perfect fix.  They are bursting with tart lemony flavor.  The curd filling is really what put these over the top when it comes to flavor.  Also, nothing goes better with lemon than a cream cheese topping. This recipe makes 1 dz cupcakes.

Lemon Limoncello Cupcakes
adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients/Lemon Curd filling
1 egg
1 egg yolk
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup of lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar

2 tbs limoncello
3 eggs
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup or 1/2 stick of butter (room temp)
2 oz cream cheese (room temp)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
zest of 1 lemon

4 oz cream cheese (room temp)
1 tbs limoncello
1/4 cup or 1/2 stick of butter (room temp)
2 cups powdered sugar
sprinkles (optional)

Start with making the filling.  Place sugar, lemon zest and juice in a saucepan.  Put pan over medium heat, let come to a simmer and remove from heat.  In another bowl, whisk together egg and egg yolk until a little frothy.  Add half of the lemon mixture to the eggs and whisk until completely blended.  Then whisk in the remaining lemon mixture.  Pour back into the saucepan and put over medium heat again.  Let the mixture cook, while stirring constantly for a total of 5 minutes.  Remove and let cool completely.  Then pour into bowl, cover surface of curd with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the cupcakes, start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the top edge of the cavities of a 12 capacity cupcake pan and fill with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.  Fill the bowl of a stand mixer with butter, cream cheese and and sugar.  Using the paddle attachment, beat the ingredients together for about 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Then beat in each egg, one at a time, for 30 seconds.  Pour in the limoncello and beat for about a minute until distributed evenly throughout the batter.

Remove bowl from mixer and, using a spatula or wooden spoon, fold in 1/3 of the sifted ingredients. Then mix in 1/4 cup of buttermilk. Repeat the process, ending with the last 1/3 of the flour mixture. Add the zest and the lemon juice and stir until blended.

With an ice cream scoop or a spoon, evenly fill each cavity of the muffin tin with the batter.  Place pan in oven and bake until tester comes out clean.  This should take about 18-20 minutes.  Remove pan, let cool for one minute and transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack.  Cool completely before proceeding to the filling and icing stages.

Using whatever tool you choose (knife, melon baller, opposite end of pastry tip, etc) core out a hole in the middle of each cupcake.  Remove the lemon curd from the refrigerator.  Spoon the curd into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip.  Fill each cupcake with the lemon curd. Using a knife, smooth over the surface of the curd, making sure that the top of the curd is flush with the top of the cupcake.

For the frosting, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.  This should take about 3 minutes.  Then beat in the limoncello, running the mixer at medium speed for 1 minute.  Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl in 4 increments, beating until blended for each increment.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure that no powder remains.  After all is blended, fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the frosting and decorate.  Top with sprinkles if desired.

                            **LAST YEAR:Banana Nut & Dulce De Leche Coffeecake**