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Last week was my friend Rachel’s birthday. She lives in Chicago, so although I didn’t get to celebrate on the day with her, I made her some of these lemon vanilla cupcakes last weekend when she was in town. I didn’t get them frosted before she left (whoops) but since she’s not a frosting fan anyway (weirdo) it all worked out. Of course, as soon as I had a spare moment I piped some buttercream on top – a cupcake without frosting is basically just a muffin, right?
There will be SO MUCH cake in my life this week. I was finally forced to take these cupcakes to work today to stop myself from eating them all at once, and tonight I bake cake #2 for a co-worker’s son’s birthday. Then Friday is Kyle’s 24th, which means even MORE cake! Oy.
So, yeah. SO. MUCH. CAKE.
Not that I’m complaining. Obviously. Cake is the best. And I love getting to bake for people’s birthdays, because it’s always a good excuse to try out a new cake or cupcake recipe (AND to have a dedicated group of taste-testers that will help you eat it all!)
Long story short: if anyone else is in the mood for cake this week, tell me now. I’m on a roll.
(PS HAPPY LATE BIRTHDAY RACH! THESE ARE FOR YOUUUU)
- ½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ cup buttermilk (see how I make my own buttermilk in this recipe)
- ¼ c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp. milk
- 2 cups powdered sugar (give or take, depending on what kind of consistency you want. I like my frosting pretty thick because it holds up well when it’s piped or it’s warm outside)
- In a stand mixer, cream together butter, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar.
- Add the egg and the egg white one at a time to the mixer while it runs on low speed.
- In a small bowl, sift together the flour and salt.
- In a glass measuring cup, make your buttermilk. (In this case, I used 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar + milk until the mixture measured ½ cup.)
- Add the baking soda to the buttermilk (trust me) and stir. The baking soda will react with the vinegar and your mixture will swell up a bit and take on a foamy consistency. This is what you want!
- Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture (starting and ending with flour so as not to deflate the batter) to the batter, mixing after each addition until all the flour and buttermilk have been incorporated into the batter.
- Pour batter into cupcake pans and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool and top with your choice of frosting. I used Vanilla Buttercream! (Recipe below).
- In a medium bowl, cream together butter, vanilla, and ¼ cup of the powdered sugar. (This is easy to do by hand but also works great in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment).
- Add 1 Tbsp. of the milk and another ½ cup of the powdered sugar and mix well.
- Add remaining milk and stir.
- Add remaining powdered sugar as needed until your frosting has achieved your desired consistency. (I usually use all 2 cups, sometimes more.)
- Frost your cupcakes and dig in!