Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cupcake Hero: Earth Day!

The theme for this month's Cupcake Hero is Earth Day! This being Earth Day, I'm doing my post today...so Happy Earth Day and enjoy these cupcakes!

We received tons of lemons from our friends Kathryn and Chris. They got even more lemons from Chris's mom, and these come from her very own lemon tree, so they are not only organic and local but they also carpooled home with us so we think they're very carbon-neutral! (Or, given that they came from a tree, I suppose they're carbon-negative? Is this the right term?) They seemed perfect for this Earth Day challenge! I also used organic sugar and flour and local eggs for good measure. :)

I found a terrific recipe for lemon cupcakes in The Great American Bake Sale. I bought this collection of recipes a while back but never managed to bake anything from it. The original recipe is "That Baltimore Cake" from Ann Amernick, and I modified it somewhat but it still ended up really delicious! Very lemon-y with lemon in the cupcakes, the "lemon soak", and the frosting, but not at all overpowering. I do recommend using a relatively thin layer of frosting because it is pretty intense.

Triple Lemon Cupcakes (modified from The Great American Bake Sale)
Makes 24-30 cupcakes

3 c cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 3/4 c sugar
6 large eggs
2 T finely grated lemon zest (I used 4 lemons, but they were pretty big)
1 c sour cream
3 T milk
1/4 tsp lemon extract (optional)

Lemon Soak
1/4 c lemon juice (use the lemons from the cupcakes)
3/4 c sugar

Lemon Frosting
1 1/2 sticks butter, soft
6 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
a teeny bit of lemon extract (optional)
powdered sugar to taste/texture desired (2-4 cups)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with cupcake papers.
2. For the cake, sift together flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl.
3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating very well after each addition. Add lemon zest and mix to incorporate. On low speed, add flour in 3 additions and sour cream in 2 additions, alternating between the two. Add milk and lemon extract, and mix for less than a minute until batter is just smooth.
4. Spoon batter into baking cups and bake 15ish minutes until the cupcakes are risen and golden brown, and a toothpick comes out clean.
5. While the cakes are baking, mix together the lemon juice and sugar for the lemon soak. Don't worry about making sure all the sugar gets dissolved.
6. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, poke the top with a toothpick a few times and spoon lemon soak over the top. Le cool completely.
7. Make the lemon frosting. Beat the butter until fluffy and then beat in the lemon juice and a bit of lemon extract if using. Beat in powdered sugar until the frosting tastes as sweet as you want it to...I went for a more sour frosting but your mileage may vary. When the cupcakes are cool, frost and enjoy!


  1. Delicious! As they say, "When Kathryn gives you lemons, make lemon cupcakes!"

    Official CupcakeMuffin tester rating: 23 lemons!

  2. LOL ☺ ☺. I need to get in on this official tester business.

  3. :) These look great, but I don't know how people can eat that sugary buttery frosting!

  4. Yum!!! Man I couldn't think of anything this month around =( yours look and sound awesome!

  5. Hi Sara,

    What kind of organic sugar did you use? The only organic sugar I could find was the evaporated cane sugar and I think it crystalized during baking and made the tops almost crunchy... ewwweeee

    Thank you for your help ~Sarah

  6. @ Sarah:
    I used the organic sugar sold at Costco - if organic sugar isn't working for you, just use regular and it should work just as well! :)

  7. Hi Sara,

    I found it and they turned out great!!!

    Thank you for your help.