31 March 2010

Lemon-Yogurt Cupcakes (aka Little Cups of Sunshine)

It rains in England.  Lots.  I'm not complaining -- just telling the truth.  I feel like I haven't seen the sun in... well, ages.  I needed a summery kick, and these little guys did a great job.  Plus, they're super-cute.

I found the recipe ages ago and waited and waited.  I don't know why I waited.  Originally done here by Ina Garten in the form of a loaf cake, it seemed like a nice idea, but a little underwhelming.  Once I decided to turn it into cupcakes, the idea took off and I could wait no longer.  The cake has a simple base flavoured with lemon zest, and the best, best, best part is that as they are cooling, they get another dose of lemon with a lemon juice and sugar glaze.  Then once they are completely cool, they get even more lemony with an additional glaze, this time made with icing sugar (known as confectioners' sugar to Americans).  They were a little labour-intensive due to the two different glazes, but completely worth the effort!

Lemon-Yogurt Cupcakes
(adapted from the Food Network)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup greek-style yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup lemon juice

First glaze:
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice

Second glaze:
1 cup icing (confectioners') sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350F (177C).

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Line cupcake tin with paper cups and fill about 2/3 full.  Each batch should take about 12 or so minutes, but keep an eye on them since all ovens are different (and mine is completely mental) - bake until the tops of the cupcakes turn a pretty brownish-golden colour.

For the first glaze, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

While the cupcakes are cooling off, spoon over the glaze - I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons per cupcake and ended up with some glaze left over.

Make the 2nd glaze by whisking the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice.  Spoon over cupcakes when they are completely cooled.

Makes about 24 cupcakes.

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