Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Citrus Attack!

I find the acidic taste of lemons refreshing.

Having any type dessert/baked good with lemon in it is always a delight – lemon tart, lemon slice, lemon cheesecake, lemon custard, lemon sorbet…the list could go on.

I wanted to make some lemon cupcakes.

When I want to cook something that I haven’t made before, I will do a search for several recipes online. Then I collate all the information together to find out what the main elements of the dish are, and then adapt/create my own recipe for it.

If a dish has lemon in it – I believe that it should pack a punch!

So after my research on lemon cupcakes recipes I set my mind to create this –

Lemon yoghurt cupcakes + lemon syrup + lemon cream cheese frosting + candied orange peels + a sprinkle of lemon zest on top = A Citrus Attack!

The result.

To make the cupcakes

These cupcakes require 3 eggs, separated into yolks and whites.

Preheat the oven to 180 degree celcius.

Sift 1 ¼ cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and ½ of baking soda into a bowl.

Beat 225g of softened butter and 1 cup of caster sugar together in a bowl until smooth and fluffy.

Add in the egg yolks one at a time and beat the egg into the mixture after each addition.

Then beat in 1 ½ tablespoon of finely grated lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Using a spatula, fold in the flour mixture into the butter/sugar/egg yolk mixture, alternating with some yoghurt (around 1 Cup).

Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until it forms soft peaks. Then fold the egg whites into the mixture.

Fill cupcake pans 2/3 full and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Side note: You cannot buy any decent yoghurt from any of the big supermarkets! There is a lack of variety and 90% of the stock is fat free or 97% fat free. I live in Highgate with a Fresh Provisions nearby in Mount Lawley and they have a fantastic range of yoghurt – full cream, organic, goats, cow, sheep’s yoghurt - the lot.

To make the lemon syrup

Put 1/3 cup of lemon syrup and 1/3 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice in a small saucepan. Cook over low-med heat stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is clear. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make the lemon cream cheese frosting

Beat around 125g of cream cheese in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Slowly add in some icing sugar and lemon juice until you have a thick frosting to your desired taste (I used around 1/3 cup of lemon juice and 2/3 to 1 cup of icing sugar).

To make the candied orange peels

In a small saucepan, heat ½ cup of water and ¼ cup of water over medium heat until the sugar completely dissolves. Then add in 1/3 cup of orange peels. Once the syrup gets thicker and boils with big bubbles, time it and cook for another minutes. Then take it off the heat. Using a spoon, continue stirring it, it will slowly crystallise and the syrup will become white as it goes back to sugar crystals. Keep stirring and don’t let it solidify into one big candy. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then pick out the sugared peels.

To create the cupcakes

Once the cupcakes come out of the oven, use a toothpick to poke a few holes in the middle of each cupcake. Then carefully spoon a teaspoon of lemon syrup onto the middle of each cupcake allowing it to seep into the cupcake (the heat from the cupcakes draw in the syrup so that the insides are saturated with lemony flavour, therefore you need to add the lemon syrup while the cupcakes are still warm).

Let the cupcakes cool and then spread the lemon cream cheese frosting over the cupcakes. Add a few pieces of candied orange peels on top and sprinkle a little lemon zest.

VERDICT: The cupcakes tasted amazing! The cupcakes were wonderfully moist due to the use of yoghurt. All the citrus elements were not overwhelming. I decided to add only little lemon syrup to the middle of the cupcake so that the first bite you take gives you a taste of the lovely lemon yoghurt cake and then with the second bite into the middle of the cupcake you are hit with some zing from the lemon syrup!

Third Party Approval - I made these cupcakes to take to my work morning tea and my colleagues loved them. I thought that for some people it might have been a citrus overload but the feedback that I got was that the balance was good and they tasted great!

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