Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lemon-Almond Cupcakes (or, How I Sabotaged My Gym Class)

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Aren't sugar stars cheerful?

I've been taking a weekly functional training class at the gym with a couple of my friends for a while now, and we love our trainer for many reasons, not least of which is that he likes to dance and plays us cheese-tastic music (this past week we were subjected to Color Me Badd, of all things!). Anyway, it was his birthday and, although I know it sounds extremely counterproductive, we had to bring some kind of treat to class.

This ended up being a fridge-clearing kind of cupcake. I needed a recipe that would use up some buttermilk (leftover from the hot cross buns) and some of my huge stash of ground almonds (apparently I went on a buying binge at the Baker's Catalogue right around Christmas). I had initially thought of making an orange-almond cake, but...we had none, and I was feeling too lazy to go out and buy some. So, lemon almond buttermilk cake it was, thanks to epicurious.com!

Lemon-almond cupcakes


The original recipe finishes the cupcakes with a soaking of lemon syrup. I opted for a lemon glaze instead so it would look more festive. And you know...at least we probably worked off some of the calories!

Lemon-Almond Cupcakes
adapted from epicurious.com
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 stick + 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup ground almonds
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners (I got 20 cupcakes out of this recipe.) Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl. Set aside. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes with an electric mixer. Beat the eggs in, one at a time, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternately with the buttermilk in 2 additions (so, flour-buttermilk-flour-buttermilk-flour). With the mixer on low speed, beat in the almonds and lemon peel. Fill the prepared muffin pans with the batter, which will be fairly thick; don't overfill, you should be aiming for somewhere between half and 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cakes are risen, nicely browned, and a skewer inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean.

If you want to go with the lemon syrup instead of the glaze, combine the juice of two lemons with 1/3 cup of sugar and stir until dissolved. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, poke them thoroughly with a skewer and spoon the syrup slowly over the top.

If you are going to go my route and go with the glaze, place the sifted confectioner's sugar in a small bowl and add lemon juice, a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. You shouldn't need more than 2 tablespoons, but if you thin it out too much, just add a bit more sugar. Spoon over the cupcakes when they are cool. Decorate with sprinkles as desired.

2 comments:

The Costuminatrix said...

These look absolutely delicious. I love lemon-flavored desserts and haven't had any in quite some time!! Now I'm hungry!!

tofugirl said...

I've kind of gone off chocolate desserts lately...maybe because the weather is finally getting warmer. I'll be sure to make some while you're visiting! :D