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living the sweet life

Lemon Limoncello Cupcakes

It’s been two months since my graduation. Say what? I have no idea where the time has gone. It probably has to do with the 40-50 hours I work plus all the train rides into new york for multiple auditions a week. All good things (money, auditions, booking gigs, etc).

What’s also good is cupcakes. I love cupcakes. I don’t know how people eat them with forks, or how people can get 10 bites out of one. For me, 3 bites and they’re gone.

And then I eat another one.

 I think this cupcake eating skill comes from working in cupcake stores/bakeries. I worked at a cupcake shop last summer, and let’s just say that the number of cupcakes I ate in that 2 month period was disgustingly large. I had to taste all 17-20 flavors in the beginning, and then there was my daily cupcake (or four). There sometimes would be damaged/unsell-able cupcakes, which just means that the frosting was too messed up or that the filled cupcakes were breaking. We would do our best to sample those cupcakes for customers, but there often was a few extras in the back that we could eat there or take home.

But yes. Graduation. Two months ago. Terrifying.

My brother and his girlfriend got me the cutest graduation gift. I had been good about not crying during the ceremony, but when they gave me this present, I almost lost it. First, the bag was this pink “Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake” bag which is perfect. And inside, there was a Madlibs book, a “cook this” notepad, a gorgeous scarf, a jar with some money that says “L.A. Fund” (adorable.) and a cookbook called The Boozy Baker.

It’s this great cookbook where everything is made with some sort of alcohol. Red Velvet cake made with Souther Comfort, Champagne Cupcakes, Fruit doused in some sort of alcohol, “Dirty Girl Scout” cookies. There are recipes for cakes/cupcakes, pies/tarts, cookies, and straight up fruit. It’s awesome.

So, when it came down to choosing the first dessert I wanted to make from the book, I wanted a cupcake and I wanted something light. It was about 90 degrees, so no heavy desserts. Lemon is light, and that’s exactly what this cupcake is. Light. It’s got a great crumb and the frosting is the perfect amount. Just enough flavor in both the cupcake and frosting without overwhelming your tastes. You can taste the lemon flavor but it’s won’t make your mouth pucker.

The original recipe was for a cake, so I made some minor adjustments and changed up the frosting a little bit to make these lemon limoncello cupcakes. Limoncello, lemon juice, and look at that lemon zest:

Lemon Limoncello Cupcakes

makes 20 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup cake flour*

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons limoncello

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

For the frosting:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3 to 4 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 tablespoon milk

2-4 tablespoons limoncello (dependent on taste preference)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the batter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat well after the addition and scrape down sides as necessary. Add the limoncello, lemon juice, and lemon zest and beat just until incorporated.

Pour 1/4 cup of batter into each well, and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan, and then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes cool, beat the butter and 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar with a mixer for about 3 minutes. Beat in the milk and 3 tablespoons of limoncello. Gradually beat in 1-2 more cupcakes of confectioners’ sugar until the buttercream is nice and creamy.

Frost the cupcakes and enjoy!

Notes:

1. I made my own cake flour following Joy the Baker‘s instructions. Super easy!

2. The original recipe called for Campari in the frosting but I added more limoncello instead so I didn’t have to buy more alcohol.

3. The original recipe was also meant for a cake, which makes 12 servings and fits into 2 8-inch round cake pans.

[source: The Boozy Baker]



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