Sunday, 1 July 2012

Lemony Lemon Love

Has anyone else noticed the abundance of lemons and baked treats with lemon lately?

Well if you haven't, lemons are in season here in Australia, and they are delicious! Especially after a good frost.

I came across the most beautiful lemon curd on Friday, and couldn't resist.

We had to take Dada to the hospital for day surgery (not the most fun thing to do, actually I always think the worst even when it is just routine...but that's just me).

And you know what, the kids were extremely well behaved, especially since they were stuck sitting on our laps for about three hours. Not that I expect them to behave in any other way *wink*.

After we gave Dada kisses and cuddles, it was well after their lunch time, so I took them both over to the Hospital shop across the road for a little lunch.

Now the Hospital shop that I rememeber from a few years back was a tiny take away that did hot chips and burgers, and I figured this would be a treat for the Bear and the Bunny (cos only Dada does take away style food), and Dada asked the Bear to bring him back a treat.

So I was pleasently surprised to find it had had a whole revamp and they did 'real food' there with gluten free options, and they even take orders for gluten free bread which gets delivered there...I was so tempted to place an order!!

The whole theme of the store was eco friendly, and I know everone is doing it at the moment, but I could see it in everything they had in there, from their furniture, cake displays, take away cups, their recycled brown paper bags, even the basket of vintage toys they had in the corner. (I so wish I had thought about taking some pics while we were there, my thoughts were elsewhere at the time).

And- they had little jars of preserves, so I brought home a jar of real lemon curd-YUM!
I knew what I wanted to make as soon as I saw that sweet little jar sitting on their table.

I've been wanting to make a lemon curd cupcake for so long, and have just been waiting for a bunch of lemons to come my way.

And you know when you want something, you start to notice how everyone else has one- or has been making them in this case. I  have been finding them on all sorts of baking blogs lately, but I wanted one that was like a lemon cheesecake in a cupcake.

So I used a basic vanilla cupcake recipe, and decided that it should also have a biscuit base- like a new york style cheesecake, cream cheese frosting and of course the star of the show the lemon curd.

What I will say is that I found it a very long process, but in the end all the components came together in a quite delicious way.

The silky cream cheese- not too sweet, the tart delicousness of the lemon curd, the beautiful fluffy cake finshed with a bisciut crunch base. It just worked, there I said it, It Just Worked! It seemed pretensious and too much to fit into a little cup cake, and I felt like I was asking too much of such a small thing, but when you put it altogether in your little mouth, it just works (I think I watch too much project runway).
I guess the photo doesn't do the base justice, you can't see the definition, but the crunch it give is amazing!

1 1/2 C plain gluten free flour (I used my own mixture, but store bought shoud be fine, just make sure it has gum added)
1 large egg
1/2 C oil (I use rice bran oil- it doesn't really have a flavour)

Vanilla cupcake:
2 3/4 C plain gluten free flour (I used my own mixture, but store bought shoud be fine, just make sure it has gum added)
1 cup  organic butter, softened (I have also used nuttelex successfully in this recipe)
2 cups white sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk or milk substitute with 1 T vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of lemon zest

Cream cheese frosting:
500g or 2 blocks of Cream cheese (low fat if you care to) or tofutti for dairy free
1/4 C sifted Pure icing sugar (I know there are a lot of recipes out there, some call for 2C of sugar, but in this cupcake, all that extra sugar is totally unnecessary)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Mix all ingredients in a meduim sized bowl until completely combined.
Place one teaspoonful in you patty pan, and press until the base is evenly covered.

I used this cute little bottle, it fit perfect in my pan.
Bake at 180C (350F) until just browning at the edges (it was 15mins in my oven)

Vanilla cupcake:
In a small bowl, combine flours; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy.
Add sugar, beating until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla, and scraping down sides of bowl in between each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about three-quarters full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes depending on your oven.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool in tins for 15 minutes.

Remove cupcakes from tins, and cool completely on rack.

Once cupcakes have cooled it's time to make them pretty!

Cut a little cone out of the centre of your cup cake, I pressed a piping tip in (the large circle side of it! and then lifted out the little bit of cake), it's just as easy to cut a little cone out with a paring knife if you don't have a piping tip.

Pop a teaspoon of your fantastic lemon curd in and then pipe your cream cheese on top!

Cream cheese frosting:
Pop the cream cheese into the bowl of your stand mixer, or a medium bowl and whip until smooth, I do this straight from the fridge, because I like to keep it cool.
Add your sugar and vanilla and whip it up about a minute more.

Fill your piping bag, I don't even use a tip, my bag has the perfect sized opening (thanks mum! such a useful gift), and pipe away.
You know if you don't want to pipe or don't have a piping bag, you could always just dollop, everyone loves a good dollop!
If you're working on a warm day (obviously you're not in Australia then, because it is winter here, and we've even had a little snow nearby! You might like to chill your piping bag a couple of minutes before piping to help it hold shape- but not too long).
Be generous with the cream cheese, you'll love it!

Enjoy today, or pop in the fridge and enjoy tomorrow...
Chill after piping to help the frosting firm up a little, but be sure to serve your cuppies at room temp- tastes so much better.

Perfect with some chai, or real nice with a green tea.

Ohhh, I am having so many filled cupcake ideas, like choc mud cup with caramel centres, or coconut cuppies with dark cherry, or what about strawberry cupcakes with cream filling, I could just keep going....but...

This has got to be my fave at the moment, although red velvet is still up the top, Do you have a favorite cupcake? Or do you love them all the same?

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