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Easter was this past weekend, and for the first time I found myself only responsible for dessert. Usually my dad and I cook a fancy feast (we still did, but he did most of the work). So, with a fraction of the workload staring me in the face, I decided, of course, to make the most involved dessert I could think of.
My friend Mario gave me some Meyer lemons a couple of months ago, that he grew himself – his first citrus harvest! Meyer lemons come from a Chinese ornamental tree and have a flavor that’s a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. Yummmm. I had been raving about them for a long time, since they are nearly impossible to find in grocery stores and a tree is expensive (and I tend to forget to water plants – although my herb garden is doing great, so maybe I’ll try new things). Being the sweetiepants that he is, he gave me the entire harvest. Love that boy! I knew I wanted to showcase the flavor for a special event – and lemons are so springy, I wanted to save them for Easter. I decided to juice the lemons, freeze the juice, and anticipate spring.
Well… it’s spring. So I decided to make a cupcake that was a hybrid of a recipe from my favorite pastry blog, Tartelette, and this icing decorating style from a blog called 17 and Baking. Lemon cupcakes with Meyer Lemon Curd in the center and lemon buttercream frosting chrysanthemum. It’s a mouthful, I know. I’ve never made my own icing or curd before, but since this was one collective recipe I’m only counting it as one new thing. The basic process was:
1. Make cupcakes (I used a Betty Crocker white cake mix with lemon extract for flavoring),
2. Make lemon curd,
3. Inject curd into cupcakes,
4. Make icing,
5. Frost the crap out of the cupcakes.
Here’s the end result – I didnt have the correct piping tip for the Chrysanthemum so I used my ribbon tip and made daisies …
And for my baking obsessed readers here is the process:
Step 1. Make cupcakes
Step 2. Make Meyer lemon curd – This is a pretty simple process but you have to be careful about tempering the boiling sugar & lemon juice into the beaten eggs, so the eggs dont cook themselves. Chunky Lemon Curd es no bueno.
(boiling sugar and lemon juice)
(the curd beginning to thicken after adding beaten eggs)
(the finished product – so good, it could be eaten by itself)
Step 3. Injecting curd into cupcakes – this was not as big of a pain as I thought it was, we’ll save “big pain” for step 5
Step 4. Make frosting. I was sooo thankful for my gorgeous Kitchenaid mixer. The recipe was 5 cups of sugar, and only a little bit of shortening/butter and a splash of milk. I never would have been able to do this by hand, it was so thick!
Step 5, aka the Big Pain: Frost the CRAP out of the cupcakes. It was so hard to squeeze the piping bag with that thick icing, but the end product was so worth it :)
So the moral of the story is, trying new things is fun and everyone was impressed with my amazing spaceman baking skills — it was a wonderful end to Easter Sunday.