Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Day My Perfectionism Took Over

I have days when I question whether I chose the right profession. Last Monday was one of those days. I needed to test the last dessert recipe for the bridal shower and somehow I went crazy. I didn't really intend to. I just did.

The day started simply enough, I pulled out the ingredients to start baking and then got to thinking. Would it be better to serve the cupcakes in liners or without? I decided I'd make a tray of each. Easy enough. And then the downward spiral began. The recipe calls for you to cut out a cone shape from the top of the cupcake and fill the hole with lemon curd. Then slice off the top of the cone and replace it on the top of the cupcake.

That probably would be fine for large cupcakes, but seemed problematic for mini guys. Would there be enough lemon curd? Could I even cut out a hole big enough? I decided to give it a try, but also to try a few other options. My second option was just to mix the lemon curd into the frosting. Same taste, way less work. My third option was to skip the curd and just add lemon zest. More subtle flavor, bigger visual impact because the zest added nice texture.

So before I knew it, I was making six different options. Three frosting choices, two wrapping/no-wrapping choices. Luckily, the recipe made a big batch, so I just divided it up. But still, it was ridiculous.

Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe from here
Cupcake

1 c (150 g) cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/3 c + 2 Tbls (170 g) sugar, divided
Zest of 1 lemon
5 eggs, separated
1/4 c (60 ml)water
1/4 c (60 ml) vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
5/8 tsp cream of tartar
4 Tbls poppy seeds

Frosting
1 8oz package cream cheese, at room temp
4 Tbls butter, at room temp
2 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Note: I baked mini cupcakes, but you could also do regular. I ended up mixing about 1/3-1/2 of a cup lemon curd into the frosting, but you could easily put them in the center if you desired.



Start by grating the lemon in a bowl and using your fingers, squish together the sugar and the lemon zest. I'd suggest Meyer lemons if they are available, they are more fragrant and juicy and work better.
Add the yolks and the vanilla and beat for about two minutes until the yolks turn a light yellow and thick. Add the water and oil and whisk together.
In a separate bowl, beat together the egg whites and the cream of tartar until foamy (about 30 seconds on high). Reduce the speed and slowly add the two tablespoons of sugar. Then up the speed and beat for about 5 minutes until stiff peaks form.
Add 1/3 of the whites and whisk until combined. Add the rest of the egg whites and the poppyseeds and gently fold until smooth.
As I mentioned, I tried both with paper cups and without and I prefer the cupcakes without the liners. At least for the mini ones. Generously spray your pan and using a small ice cream scoop, fill your tin. I use the scoop for uniformity, but I suppose you don't have to.
Bake at 325 for about 8 minutes (or 10-12 for big cupcakes). Cool for a few minutes in the pan then flip the cucpcakes out onto cooling racks.
Here are the little guys with the paper liners.
Next, I tackled my options. Option one had the cut outs. So I cut out my little cones.
Then I filled the holes almost to the top with lemon curd.
Finally, I sliced off the top of the little cones and replaced them on top of the lemon curd.
Then, I whipped together my frosting. I just creamed together the butter and the cream cheese, added the vanilla, and two cups of powdered sugar and mixed until creamy. Then I frosted option one (both with and without the liners).
Option two: I put a little bit of the frosting in a small bowl and added a little lemon curd. This option definitely had creamier frosting, but you still had the lemon curd flavor.
Option three: I was worried the lemon curd flavor may be too strong, so I added some lemon zest to the frosting and left it at that.










Any guesses as to which option I chose? Option two! The lemon curd ended up being very necessary for the flavor and it made the cupcakes nice and moist. But frankly, I was way too lazy to cut out all of those little damn cones. For regular sized cupcakes, definitely. But for the mini ones? No way. I'm going to share the shower results later this week or next week, but they turned out great!

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