Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lemon Sunshine Bites

Its a gloomy, windy and rainy day today. Quite unusual for this time of year when we begin to prepare for spring. A lot of people hate the rain. I, on the other hand, love the rain. I just hate how people don't know how to drive in the rain. I was a little disappointed, though, that we couldn't take our daughter for a walk or bike ride around the block today. So she rode her bike around the house instead, while I tried to bring sunshine into the house by making these Sunshine Bites from Sing for your Supper.

I've been trying to use up the batch of lemons I got from my parents' lemon tree almost a month ago. Yup, I've had a batch of lemons for almost a month. The only thing I can think of to use them for were lemon cupcakes. The flavor in these cupcake bites were delicious. The cake was light and probably a lot more healthier than other cupcakes because it only uses egg whites. Almost like Angel Food Cake. However I wasn't too happy about how the batter stuck to the cupcake liners. So we weren't able to fully enjoy the cupcake because we literally had to rip the paper off the cupcakes. I don't know how I can improve on the cake, but I'm definitely keeping the frosting recipe. It was probably the best part of the cupcake. But frosting is always the best part of a cupcake ;)

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
juice of half a lemon

1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Line mini cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

2) Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg whites. Set aside.

3) In the mixer bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest. Rub together sugar and lemon zest with your fingers until sugar is moist and fragrant. Add butter and beat at medium speed for about 3 minutes, until mixture is very light.

4) Beat in vanilla extract and lemon juice. Add one third of the flour mixture. Beat in half of the buttermilk mixture, then beat in half of the remaining flour mixture until incorporated. Add the remaining buttermilk mixture and then the rest of the flour mixture. Continue beating for another 2 minutes to ensure that the batter is thoroughly mixed. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Lemon Vanilla Buttercream
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
6-8 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
juice of one lemon
yellow food color (optional)

1) In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, 4 cups of confectioner's sugar, milk, vanilla and lemon juice. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, one cup at a time, beating well before each addition, about 2 minutes or until desired consistency. Add a few drops of food coloring (if using).

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