Lemon filled Vanilla Bean Cupcake with Raspberry Lemon Frosting and Cupcakes 101

Cupcakes so cute and light - betcha can't eat just one! Mini cupcakes are the perfect one bite treat to end any meal. Well, two bites if you're me - but tasty and yummylicious none the less. I used my favorite vanilla cake recipe, filled them with lemon curd then topped them with a lovely raspberry frosting.

I am a newbie cupcake "fill-er" and it wasn't as intimidating as I expected it to be. The lemon filling was a nice surprise and made the cupcakes light and refreshing. The blush pink colored frosting make them festive for any occasion. A baby or bridal shower would make for the perfect occasion to showcase these sweet little treats. Make life sweeter, eat dessert first! Num ^_^

Cupcake Tip #1:

If you want to keep your cupcakes fresh and soft DO NOT put them in the refrigerator, it will dry them out. You may put the unfrosted cupcakes in a container and wrap container in saran wrap to freeze them.

Then if you need to whip up a quick snack, take out the frozen cupcakes, and immediately start frosting and decorating. When done, place on a plate in room temperature for an hour or two to thaw. Tastes just like fresh cupcakes.

If you're planning to make the cupcakes ahead, store them in an air tight container at room temperature.

Cupcake Tip #2:

Thawing the cupcakes wrapped--whether enclosed in foil, plastic wrap, or both or left in a zipper-lock bag--allowed condensation to form between the wrapper and the tops, which turned gooey. Those that were unwrapped before thawing were as good as new. In terms of taste, there was little to differentiate one storage method from another. For longer periods of storage, where the likelihood of freezer burn increases, we recommend double-wrapping cupcakes in plastic wrap and foil (in groups or individually) before placing them in the freezer. And make sure to unwrap them before thawing. (Info from Cook's Illustrated)

Cupcake Tip #3

Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting should be store in the fridge

Lemon filled Vanilla Bean Cupcake with Raspberry Lemon Frosting
Yields: Approximately 48 mini-cupcakes or 6 to 7 regular size cupcakes

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups cake flour (6 oz)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cups sugar
2.5 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 tbs buttermilk, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together and set aside. Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the bowl of the mixer with the butter and discard the pod (or reserve for another use.) Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.

Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Combine the buttermilk and the vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix just until combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners filling each about 2/3 of the way full (to make them into mini cupcake sizes – the amount I used was 1 tbs plus 1 teaspoon for each cupcake liner) Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. (I like to remove them with a toothpick since that leaves the least dent in the cupcakes)

Yield: approximately 48 mini cupcakes

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats who got it from Confections of a Foodie Bride, who adapted it from The Well-Decorated Cake

Raspberry Lemon Buttercream Frosting

NuM NuM original recipe

½ cups sugar
2 egg whites
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 tbs raspberry puree
1/4 tsp vanilla

1 cup confectioners sugar

Place the stand mixer bowl over a simmering pot of water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Whisk the sugar and egg whites until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture registers 160 degrees with a candy thermometer.

Place bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the whish attachment and whisk on high speed until the mixture is cool and holds stiff, glossy peaks (approximately 10 minutes). Change to the paddle attachment and beat in one tablespoon of butter at a time on medium. Mixture might appear curdled or liquidy but keep beating and it will pull back together after a few minutes. Add lemon juice, puree and vanilla and sugar. Increase speed to high and beat frosting until everything is incorporated. If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and mix with spoon until smooth or beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.

To assemble cupcake fill cake with lemon curd using a pastry bag inserted with a small frosting tip. Insert the entire tip into your cupcake and squeeze and pull gently up until the cupcake is filled and you can see the curd overflowing a bit on the top of the cupcake. (I just used store bought lemon curd) - but if you would like to make your own, the following recipe looks like a good one but I have yet to try it.

Note: This frosting will only frost 24 mini cupcakes - double if you want to frost 48.

Lemon Curd
Martha Sterwart's Cooking School, p. 477
Makes about 1 & 3/4 cups (you only need like 1/4 of this recipe to fill 12 large cupcakes)

1 1/2 Tsp cold water
1/8 Tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
1 large whole eggs plus 1.5 large egg yokes
1/4 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of lemons (about 1.25 Tsp)
3 tbs fresh lemon juice
1.5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and well chilled

Dissolve gelatin: pour water into a small bowl, sprinkle with gelatin. let stand until gelatin has softened and all the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

Cook curd in a small heavy bottom saucepan: whisk together eggs and yokes. add sugar and lemon zest & juice. cook over medium low heat, whisking constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. it should hold a line drawn by your finger, 8-10 minutes.

Thicken curd: remove pan from heat and add the gelatin mixture, stirring until dissolved. stir for a few minutes to cool slightly. stir in butter a few pieces at a time, stirring until smooth after each addition.

Strain and chill: strain through a fine sieve into a bowl (to remove any bits of undissolved gelatin and egg), pressing with a spatula to remove as much curd as possible. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours. Whisk until smooth before using.