Ok, so the weather isn't exactly reliable at the moment but these little lemon cupcakes are guaranteed to brighten up your day come rain or shine. When I had spare lemon the other day this recipe seemed to be the perfect way to put it to good use and I wasn't disappointed. The recipe itself can be found in Rachel Allen's Bake - a lovely book that I've had several successes from so far.
For some reason the cakes turned out to be a bit on the heavy side - I'm not sure why - but the gorgeous lemon icing more than made up for that. If you're using regular fairy cake cases (as per the recipe) rather than muffin cases then you'll probably end up with more mix than you need for 12 cakes - I think I make about 18. I decided to try out some Mr Whippy-style icing rather than just spreading it on as suggested in the recipe and because of this, and the extra cakes I ended up with, I had to make an extra half quantity of icing to cover all of the cakes.
(adapted from Bake by Rachel Allen)
125g/4 1/2 oz butter, softened
125g/4 1/2 oz caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1/2 large lemon
2 eggs, beaten
150g/5 oz plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
For the lemon butter icing
75g/3 oz butter, softened
175g/6 oz icing sugar, sifted
Finely grated zest 1/2 large lemon
1-2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1) Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4. Line a 12 hole fairy cake tin with 12 paper cases (and put the rest to one side for later...!)
2) Cream the butter in a large bowl until soft then add the sugar and grated lemon zest and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs, then sift in the flour and baking powder and fold into the mixture. Alternatively, whizz all the ingredients together in an electric food mixer.
3) Divide the mixture between the paper cases and bake in the preheated oven for 7-10 minutes (I found mine needed a couple of minutes longer) until risen and golden. When cooked the centre of each cake should be slightly springy to the touch. Remove the cakes from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool before you ice them.
4) To make the icing, cream the butter in a bowl with a wooden spoon or electric beater until very soft. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat into the butter, along with lemon zest and enough lemon juice to soften the icing to a spreadable consistency.
5) When the cakes are cool, spread a generous heaped teaspoon of icing over the top of each one (or get to work with your icing syringe).
Makes 12 or more