Lemon Almond Cupcakes

IMG_6224Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! While the rest of the world will likely have chocolate today, I’m celebrating with two of my favorite non-chocolate flavors: lemon and almond.

A few days ago I made some lemon curd, using up the egg yolks from my recipe for egg-whites-only Valentine Cake. As always, I wondered: what should I do with this lemon curd? I should fill some cupcakes with it, that’s what. You can certainly use store bought lemon curd for these if you like; I must admit that my homemade curd only filled about 1 dozen cupcakes, so this batch is half-filled, half-not. These treats are definitely more lemony than almondy, but they’re delicious nonetheless.

Lemon Almond Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • zest from 1 medium lemon
  • 8 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • About 2 cups lemon curd, for filling*

*This recipe would make more than enough for all 20 cupcakes

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; my batch made 20 cupcakes.

Combine milk and almond extract; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine cake flour, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, then reduce mixer speed to low and add butter a few cubes at a time. Continue to beat for about 2 minutes, until the mixture looks like coarse sand.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour in the milk mixture.

Return to medium speed and continue to beat for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl well.

Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of batter into prepared cupcake pans, filling about 1/2 to 2/3 full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from pans immediately and cool completely on a wire rack before filling.

Lemon Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon milk

Preparation

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and salt on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until fully incorporated, about 3-4 minutes.

Add lemon juice, lemon extract, and milk and beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until fluffy.

To assemble the cupcakes:

In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip lemon curd for 1-2 minutes to lighten.

Using a small knife, cut into the center of each cupcake at a 45-degree angle, about 1/8 inch from the edge, all the way around. Remove the core and cut away all but the top 1/4 inch, leaving a small disc of cake. Reserve the scraps for a trifle or other treat.

Fill the inside with lemon curd and top with the disc of cake.

Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of frosting onto each cupcake and spread with an offset spatula.

Store in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature before serving.

 

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