Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Of Lemon Cupcakes and Goodbyes

I'm feeling real crappy today, what with having to part ways with a person whom I hold dear in my heart. Goodbyes are always heart wrenching where it be permanent or temporary, to a loved one or a friend. They say that people come into our lives for either a lifetime, a reason or a season, and at some point, goodbyes will have to be said. So, how does one say goodbye other than the passe "I wish you the best and I will always hold you dear in my heart" line?? Let me throw that question to you, Dear Void. As for me, it's time to bake!
I love Autumn more than any other season, and it will be here officially in 13 days! Summer to me is fun times, theme song -- BB King's "Let the Good Times Roll", thus it deserves a good send off, yeah? To me, lemons best represents summer. All bright and yellow like the beautiful summer days...refreshing like the pool, lake or beaches we are so drawn to during this season...funky and casual -- whether you add it to a food or a drink, it lends them that kind of attitude. Thus for the big send off, I give you (drum roll, please) --

Lemon Custard filled Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Cupcakes
(adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake)
(Makes 24 cupcakes)

1 1/8 cups cake flour1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5/8 cup whole buttermilk
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
zest of one lemon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp lemon juice

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 24-cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl. Rub the lemon zest in the sugar until moist and fragrant, add to the butter in the mixing bowl and whisk working with the paddle attachment for 3 minutes or until the butter and sugar are very light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon juice, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk-egg mixture, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Scoop the batter 3/4 full into the prepared cupcake pan and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until cake tester inserted into the centers should come out clean.

Lemon Custard1/2 cup lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 egg yolks

In a saucepan, simmer lemon juice, sugar and zest. Beat the eggs and egg yolks in a bowl. Add the lemon mixture in the egg mixture, temper it and bring back to sauce pan. In medium heat, cook the custard, stirring continuously for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the reefer.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 stick butter
4 oz. Cream Cheese
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp lemon juice

Working with the paddle attachment of a mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the lemon juice and mix until incorporated. Add the powdered sugar in increments and beat until smooth.


Using a melon baller, scoop out cake middle of the cupcakes. Make sure the cupcakes are cooled. Fill with the chilled custard. Pipe the frosting. I used a 1M tip. Top with decoration of choice**.

J & M Lemon Cookies
I first had a try of J & M's products, the jalapeno cheese straws to be exact, when I was still living in Austin, TX and a co-worker from Little Rock, AK brought them from home. They are soo yum! I found these lemon cookies on one of my food shopping expeditions this summer, and I have been saving it for this recipe. You see, I love food with history and/or story behind it. This company have been using their family recipe for cheese straw for over a century! And they use the finest ingredients in their products and I am a sucker for the finest ingredients!

I didn't try them, not even a bite. I have gained a few lbs since I started food blogging a couple of months ago, but it's NOT because of the food, it's because I stopped running regularly after the Peachtree Road Race. I started running again today, so it's all good--bake and destroy will commence soon. BUT, according to the brownie monster, they are awesome. The cake is moist & spongy with a good crumb.The sweetness of the frosting balances the tartness of the lemon curd filling. I sent some of the cupcakes with him to work, and dropped off the rest of it at the fire station for the local heroes.
The baking helped clear my mind alright, but I wasn't able to come up with anything fancy as to how I can say goodbye. Thus, "I wish you well and remember that I will always hold you dear in my heart" will work. But hey, I may suck at goodbyes, but I do know how to send off summer in style.

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