May 26, 2007

Lemon Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Centers

juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
7 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
12 small to medium sized strawberries

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour or line 12 wells in a cupcake pan. In a large bowl, cream the butter, zest and sugar. Add the lemon juice and the eggs. Beat to combine. The mixture may look a little curdled but that is okay. Mix in the buttermilk. Continue to mix and slowly add in the flour. Beat the batter an additional 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Pour an even amount into each cupcake well, filling about 3/4 of the way. Place a whole strawberry, point side down in the middle of each cupcake. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted on the outside of the strawberry comes out clean. Cool in pan briefly, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Ice*.

Icing suggestion: make a basic buttercream and substitute lemon juice for any liquid and add some lemon zest. I actually made a cream cheese icing: 8 0z cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and some lemon zest.

My thoughts:
A reader, Jenn, wrote to me yesterday wanting to know if I had any suggestions or a recipe for a lemon cupcake with a strawberry inside. I had never done that before, but I gave her some suggestions and decided to try it out for myself. This might be my new favorite cupcake for Spring, lots of tangy lemon and a juicy, sweet strawberry sunk in the middle. I also made a few plain and they were excellent as well, but if you have access to good strawberries, use them! They are a great and tasty surprise.

Update: check out Jenn's post about the cupcakes she made using this recipe.