Neither of us were very good at the piping skills, which brings me to lesson #4: sprinkles make everything look prettier. No one really notices the messy frosting if there are sprinkles on top of it.
The cupcakes turned out perfectly light and lemony, and the lemon cream cheese frosting was so good we had no choice but to lick the spoons (and our fingers…) clean. Hopefully Ashley learned a thing or two about baking, and had fun doing it. She wasn’t the only one who learned something while making these cupcakes. Lesson #5 (probably the most important lesson of them all): friends make baking much more fun!
adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes
makes 24 regular sized cupcakes, and 20 mini cupcakes
3 cups cake flour
2 cups granulated sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder (this isn’t a typo)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
5 egg whites
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
In large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and mix well. Add the butter and 1 cup of milk to flour mixture and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
In separate small bowl, whisk together the egg whites, vanilla extract, and remaining 1/3 cup milk. Add this to the batter in 3 additions, scraping bowl well after each addition. Finally, add lemon juice and lemon zest and mix until just combined.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake 20 minutes, or until the cake bounces back when lightly touched. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely. The mini cupcakes took less time, about 10-12 minutes.
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
With an electric mixer in a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter. Add confectioners’ sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Finally, add vanilla extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and beat until well combined.
Frosting cooled cupcakes.