Sunday, January 27, 2013

Meyer Lemon Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

This cupcake has a very sophisticated flavor...nice to serve when you want something fun but different.  The brown butter in the frosting gives it a nice nuttiness that you can't really get any other way.  And the Meyer lemon is a more subtle, more floral citrus than a regular lemon.  Really lovely.

Makes about 18 cupcakes

1 cup neutral oil (I used sunflower)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh meyer lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated meyer lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sour cream

1.  Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.  Set aside.
2.  With an electric mixer, mix sugar and eggs over medium-high speed until light in color.
3.  Add oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla.  Mix until well blended.
4.  Add half of flour mixture then half of sour cream.  Mix.
5.  Add rest of flour and rest of sour cream.  Mix just until batter is uniformly mixed.
6.  Bake in lined muffin tins in a 325 over for about 25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
7.  Cool and prepare frosting.

1 stick unsalted butter
1 bar cream cheese
1 tsp. meyer lemon zest
2 1/2 cups sugar

1.  Heat butter in a small saucepan until melted.
2.  Once butter starts to bubble, swirl butter around until you get brown butter bits at the bottom of the pan.  These are the milk solids in the butter.  Be careful not to burn the butter!
3.  Cool the butter for a few minutes then place in the bowl of an electric mixer.
4.  Add in the cream cheese and mix on medium-high until well incorporated.
5.  Add lemon zest and sugar and beat some more until frosting is a spreadable, light, fluffy consistency.
6.  Pipe or spread on top of the cooled cupcakes.

Banana Nutella Muffins

As a fun "stocking stuffer" for Christmas, I got Son #2 (who absolutely adores the stuff) a 5 kg jar of Nutella.  Now, he has Nutella with bread, crackers, in a mug of hot milk (which I must say is hot, sweet, hazelnut-chocolate goodness), on bananas, on ice cream, on a spoon, on his fingers...anyways, you get the picture.

I had a few overripe bananas and an excess of Nutella, so this recipe was a natural product of the circumstances.

3 overripe bananas
1/2-1 cup Nutella (depends on how much you like the stuff!)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup neutral vegetable oil (I used sunflower)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1.  Mash bananas.
2.  Add oil, eggs, sugars and vanilla.  Mix well then set aside.
3.  In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.
4.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix with a spatula just until incorporated.
5.  Line 2 12-cup muffin pans and fill with batter about a third of the way.
6  Swirl the Nutella into the batter gently.  I found that the best way to do this was to place the Nutella in a piping bag.  Or you could use a zip lock and snip of a corner.  Faster and easier than using a spoon.
7.  Add rest of batter to fill muffin cups to about 2/3 full.  Swirl Nutella on top.
8.  Bake in a 350 over for 22-25 minutes.