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My friend Christine commented that Pinterest made her realize that people really, really, REALLY love cupcakes. I mean, REALLY. And she’s not off the mark.

Here’s a picture of the search results for “cupcakes” (well hello there chicken potpie cupcakes….Oy!)

So this post, I guess, proves that I am not immune to this handheld cake fever. And I think really, that’s what it is that has people giving it such devotion – it’s a neat little cake that’s…ALL MINE. You’re holding it and its exactly the same as the the next one. It’s not some irregular slice that may or may not have the same stuff as the others (remember fighting over the flowers on birthday cakes? Or the cake edges because they have more frosting?). So, cupcakes are egalitarian. The same for everyone. And truly, quite libertarian. You can choose to eat it the way you want to. Lick the icing like ice cream? Go ahead. Who cares? It’s yours. It’s also eco-friendly. No need for plates or cutlery. What is there NOT to love???

Oh. Really? It’s not healthy. Yeah. Ok. There’s a word for you people. Orthorexic. Yes, that is a legitimate word. Look it up. It’s a cupcake. Truly, it CAN be healthy. But healthy is relative too. This cupcake is what you should make to bribe your kids off those innocent, yet silent chemical warfare-grade Peeps. Check it out, they hide it in cute bunnies: Maltitol, Isomalt, Polyglycitol Syrup, Sorbitol, Gelatin, Calcium Chloride, Natural Flavors, Yellow #5 Lake, Sucralose, Potassium Sorbate (A Preservative), Carnauba Wax. I don’t know about you, but none of those sound like food to me.

But I won’t eschew the season of bunnies and pastels. Last year, to usher in the season, I made Persephone’s Revenge – an orange poppyseed cake with maple cream. This year, its Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes. Yes, I see a pattern. Yes, I like citrus cakes. With poppyseeds. I make no apologies.

 

The base of this cupcake is from Fran Costigan‘s lovely cookbook but I used spelt flour which is an alternative to wheat. You can easily use whole wheat pastry flour as well. The frosting is a basic buttercream with some lemon oil and lemon zest added. These cakes smell divine and taste heavenly. Pile on the celestial metaphors. And I love the crunch of the poppyseeds! I don’t know what it is but citrus and poppyseed together just make me happy. So make it, grab your own personal piece of cake heaven and savor one of the first rites of spring.

Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

Based on Fran Costigan’s Lovely Light Lemon Cake recipe
Makes 24 mini cupcakes

2 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/3 c canola oil
3/4 c maple syrup
2/3 c almond milk or rice milk (unsweetened, unflavored)
1/4 c plus 2 T lemon juice
1 t minced lemon zest
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t lemon extract
2 t apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup poppyseeds
1 recipe Lemon Buttercream

1. Position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line mini muffin tins with muffin cups.
2. Sift together – flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. Whisk together – oil, maple syrup, almond milk, lemon juice and zest, vanilla and lemon extracts, and vinegar until well blended.
4. Pour wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir with a whisk until the batter is smooth. Mix in poppyseeds. The batter will be fairly thick.
5. Fill muffin cups to just about full (not quite to the rim, a little over 3/4 full). Tap the pans lightly on the counter to eliminate air bubbles.
6. Bake about 10 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. Cool on racks completely. I cannot stress this enough. They must be at least room temperature before you ice them or the icing will melt.
8. To assemble, pipe buttercream using your favorite tip. The cupcakes pictured are topped with all-natural Jordan Almonds purchased from Whole Foods.

Lemon Buttercream
1/2 c Earth Balance soy-free spread, softened
3 T rice milk
3 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
1 t grated lemon zest (if you have a microplane, would be best)
1/4 – 1/2 t lemon extract

Using a standing mixer, cream milk and butter together. Add sugar, one cup at a time and the rest of the ingredients. Beat until fluffy.

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