I’m Sorry I Disappeared! I Made You Cupcakes!

lemon almond vanilla cupcakesI’ve been absent for a while now, but I’ve still been eating my face off every chance I get! I’ve actually been cooking a ton over the last couple weeks – shrimp and grits, lemon meringue pie, turkey meatloaf – you know, the usual. I just haven’t had too much time to post until this weekend and WOULDN’T YOU KNOW IT I suffered 2nd degree steam burns all over my forearm. I’d post a picture but it’s kinda unappetizing and cooking accidents that end at Urgent Care don’t lend me much credibility.

jello shots!

My friends Emily and Wes are getting hitched so we hosted a super-mature-grown-up Stock the Bar party for them this weekend. It was a blast! There were jello shots because that’s how I throw a party, apparently.

shrimp boil!Wes is from Louisiana so naturally I decided to do a shrimp boil. In my house. In an 18″ steel pot. With over 25 pounds of ingredients. Thank God Wes’ super Louisianan cousin was there to basically run the show. He’s probably the only reason I didn’t catch my whole body on fire.

It was delicious and totally authentic feeling. What a great party. I made a ton of other foods in case the shrimp didn’t turn out and one of those foods was cupcakes, of course. I’ve actually made this particular recipe twice in the last two weeks and I have to say: Food Network Magazine, A+. Until next time. I’m still dubious.

 

LEMON ALMOND CUPCAKES WITH VANILLA BEAN BUTTERCREAM
cupcakes...mmmmakes about 24 cupcakes

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 1/4 cups whole milk (or 3/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup half and half or cream)

Recipe for Buttercream found here. (I just add the scraped insides of a vanilla bean and some lemon zest on top for this particular recipe.)

batter1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt together. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and airy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the almond extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
***Be careful with the almond extract – it’s a far stronger flavor than vanilla!

cakes!2. Add in the flour in three batches, alternating with the milk, being sure to end with flour. Only beat until the mixture is just combined. Use an ice cream scoop or measuring cup to fill each cupcake liner 3/4 of the way full with batter – this recipe won’t bake “up” as much as some boxed cake mixes so you shouldn’t have overflow, but place a cookie sheet underneath the cupcake pans just in case. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until a knife inserted in the cake comes out clean.

pipe that buttercream3. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack. Fill a pastry bag or a gallon-sized Ziploc with the corner cut off full of your buttercream and pipe onto the cupcakes in a swirling motion. I found a decorative icing tip to use for extra fanciness. Sprinkle lemon zest on top.

***These won’t do well out in the sun for long as the icing melts. If you want to avoid having to refrigerate the cupcakes later, leave the cream out of the buttercream recipe and they’ll be perfectly fine to leave out on the counter for a couple of days. This batter truly is best eaten the day of, though. 

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