For a dear friend’s birthday party I got it into my head that I needed to make cupcakes. Ok, maybe it was the pregnancy hormones talking and I just really wanted cupcakes, but either way, I was listening. I decided on lemon cupcakes, something sweet, and springy, and not too heavy. After a half hour on the internet and being bombarded with cupcake recipe after cupcake recipe I decided on this recipe for the actual cupcakes. (I hate boxed cake mixes) It turned out beautifully! Moist and squishy without being too dense. Just perfect, light and lemony without being cloying. For the icing I used this recipe as a jumping off point, but ended up improvising quite a bit. For instance I used a couple of teaspoons of homemade lemon syrup in it, as well as the juice of one lemon and didn’t really follow the exact measurements for the butter (I added more!) and confectioner’s sugar. I always eyeball the sugar and then let it whip in the stand mixer for a good 10 minutes so it’s extra light and airy.
Of course, as with most projects in my kitchen, this did not go off without a hitch. Upon returning from my second trip to the store for just “one more ingredient”, I opened my cupboard only to find that I had about 10 cupcake liners left. Figures. So after a quick google I found a tutorial on how to make your own and I will never buy cupcake liners again! I will show you how later…
Also, I decided to try making my own candied lemon peel to add to the tops of the cupcakes. Unfortunately that didn’t turn out so well. I didn’t get enough of the rind off, and so my peel was a little on the bitter side, other than that the recipe was really easy. The good news is that I now have 2 cups of amazing, all natural lemon syrup, as the byproduct, sitting in my fridge (with nary a drop of the evil HFCS in it!) and about three cups of sliced lemons just waiting to be made into lemonade this afternoon. The syrup is excellent! Great for adding to tea for a sore throat, or to put a couple of teaspoons in my icing, or add to anything you’d like a bit of lemon zip too.
In the end though, I had some amazing cupcakes on my hand and was seriously considering ditching the birthday party and driving to someplace deserted where I could eat 30 cupcakes all by myself. I didn’t though, and the cupcakes were met with rave revues. I will definitely be making these again!
And now for a quick tutorial on how to make your own muffin liners. By the way, I noticed, as well as a few of the party goers that these peel off your cupcakes much nicer than the store bought ones.
You will need:
1/4 cup measuring cup
cup or other cylinder measuring 4.5″ across
smaller round object that will fit snuggly in 1/4 cup measuring cup
You want to stack several sheets of parchment paper on top of each other and then trace as many circles as you can fit, using the 4.5″ cup. Like so…
It works best to stack a few together so you aren’t cutting out a million circles one at a time.
Next you stack all your circles together neatly. A note: the more you do at a time, the nicer your pleats are. Then you wrap them around (as neatly as possible) whatever object you have to push into your measuring cup. I had a bottle of vitamin E that worked perfectly.
Finally you push it all down into your 1/4 cup measuring cup, it should be a very snug fit, the snugger the better. Once it’s down in there, give it a good “smoosh” and leave it for a few minutes.
Ta-da! Never pay for store bought muffin liners again!