Hello delightful people of the internet!
It’s lemon season, and I was definitely planning on lemon meringue cupcakes for this week, except I’m pretty sure the stars aligned to make sure that didn’t happen. The meringue turned out weird and eggy (which, granted, is pretty much what meringues are made of but they’re not supposed to actually taste like eggs), the lemon curd was somehow even weirder and eggier than the meringue, and by the time I decided to just forget the stupid eggs and make vegan lemon curd (recipe to come someday, I promise!), I remembered that I ran out of cornstarch last week. So I dashed out to the grocery store to grab some more cornstarch, extra lemons to replace the obscene amount that I had already gone through in my quest for proper lemon curd, and baking powder to replace my apparently expired box. Word to the wise: baking powder expires.
And when it does you end up with two confusing batches of sad, dense, disappointing quick bread instead of deliciously fluffy lemon cupcakes.
And I came home fully intending on starting back up on my lemon meringue-y endeavors, except then, as I was putting everything away, I spotted the jar of rose preserves that I picked up on a whim the other day and figured that it was basically destiny for me to make lemon rose cupcakes instead. I think it’s going to become an ongoing theme that cupcake day never really goes as planned.
Like last time, today’s cupcake recipe is a conglomerate of various lemon cupcakes on the internet (which, by the way, are actually shockingly similar and much more uniform than all the millions of chocolate cupcake recipes out there). They are delightfully lemony, which is awesome if you are a veritable lemon addict like I am, but in case you aren’t of the camp that believes that lemon rinds are a perfectly acceptable form of nutrition, feel free to leave out the zest — you still get plenty of delightful lemoniness from the lemon juice. If you do decide to go with zest, I would personally recommend using an organic lemon for zesting purposes just because organic lemons aren’t waxed for preservation, and while the wax on regular lemons is food grade, it always feels kind of icky to think about eating any kind of wax. Blegh.
Also, if you aren’t particularly inclined toward rose-flavored anything, or if the ingredients are particularly hard to find, feel free to substitute any rose flavoring agents with other flavors of your choice. You could do triple lemon cupcakes using lemon juice for rose water (just make sure to add sugar! 3 tablespoons will do!) and lemon curd for filling (Godspeed if you decide to go with home-made), with extra lemon zest on top. You could do lemon-berry with berry juice and preserves and a few fresh berries on top. The options are endless! Just make sure to roughly maintain the ratio of 1 cup cream : 2 tsp flavor : 3 tbs sugar (if the flavoring agent isn’t sweetened like rose water is) to make sure that your cream whips properly (:
All modifications aside, hope you enjoy!
Lemon Rose Cupcakes
190 g (1 1/2 cups) all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract (optional)
1 tbs minced lemon zest (from approximately 1 organic lemon)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Rose Whipped Cream:
1 cup whipping or heavy cream
2 tsp rose water (I ordered from Amazon!)
1-2 drops red food coloring
Filling and Garnish:
Rose preserves (I bought mine at the local Asian grocery store!)
Rosebuds for tea (I ordered from Amazon!)
Sugar pearls (from almost any grocery store)
- Preheat the oven to 350º F.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
- Beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture is fluffy and well incorporated.
- Add in the eggs and egg whites one at a time, beating thoroughly after each egg.
Tip: Your mixture may look slightly lumpy at this point if the eggs aren’t quite room temperature because the butter hardens as it is cooled down by the eggs. Not to worry, everything will still turn out just fine! Just beat until everything is reasonably well mixed and move on to the next step (:
- Beat in the vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest.
- Fold in 1/2 of the sifted flour mixture with a spatula until just combined.
- Pour in the lemon juice and milk all at once and mix until just combined.
- Fold in the remaining 1/2 of the sifted flour mixture with a spatula until just combined.
Tip: Under-mixing is better than over-mixing in this case. If your batter is a little lump, it shouldn’t be a problem!
- Fill your cupcake liners a little over halfway with cupcake batter. Bake for 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the middle of the cupcake comes out with only a few dry crumbs attached.
Tip: Use a 1/4 cup dry ingredients measuring cup to portion out just the right amount into each standard-sized cupcake liner!
- Set aside to cool before frosting!
Rose Whipped Cream:
- Add the cream, rose water, and food coloring into a large bowl, and whip the mixture until it forms stiff peaks.
Tip: Beat just until sharp, triangular peaks form when you lift the whisk out of the mixture. If your whipped cream starts getting lumpy, it’s overbeaten! To rescue overbeaten whipped cream, add in 1-2 tbsp cream and whisk lightly until fully incorporated and the surface of the cream is smooth again.
- Fill the cupcakes:
Tip: Follow along with the pictures if anything is unclear!
- Start with a single cupcake.
- Using large piping tip (I used my trusty Wilton 1M tip), gently push the back of the tip about 2/3 of the way into the center of the cupcake.
- Lift out the tip, removing a small section of the center of the cupcake as you do.
- Using a small spoon, scoop out more cupcake as desired to add more filling.
- Spoon in rose preserves to fill.
Tip: The filling will seep into the cupcake around the edges, so you might see the top of the filling layer start to fall by the time you fill up all of the cupcakes. Just top all of them off again, and you should be alright. Also, if your filling is fairly thin, try to fill and frost reasonably close to serving time to prevent all of the filling from seeping out into the cupcake.
- Start with a single cupcake.
- Using a closed star tip and a piping bag, start from the center of the cupcake and spiral outward in one continuous motion to form a rosette, releasing pressure slowly toward the end of the spiral to taper off the end of the whipped cream frosting and wrap it around the side of the cupcake.
Tip: I used the Wilton 2D tip on my cupcakes, but any large closed star tip should work!
- Top with sugar pearls and a rose bud. Serve on a plate drizzled with rose preserves thinned with water and tinted with the tiniest hint of red food coloring as desired. Brew a nice, large pot of rose tea. Enjoy!