Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Limoncello Cupcakes

Yes, that is the title of this post. Yes, they really do exist. Yes, they were freaking delicious.

(Did anyone else have an M&M's commercial moment there? "They DO exist!" Guilty.)

I've had this bottle of limoncello in my apartment for a few months now, and every once in awhile I'll look at it and just be like "What the f am I going to do with that?" Shannon's mom brought it to Boston a while back and neither one of us knew anything about it. A lemon liqueur? An "after dinner drink," if you will. What the hell do we know about after dinner drinks? I work in a brewery, and we drink beer and wine with the occasional appletini.   I don't "sip" - I'm a grown up, I gulp. 

So, immediately my thoughts went to baking. I thought about doing a limoncello mousse of some kind, (which I still could, since this recipe didn't use as much limoncello as I had hoped) but I wasn't feeling it. Of course, then my brain went to cupcakes. Lemon cupcakes exist - so limoncello must too, right?

They do.

These babies are a limoncello cake, filled with lemon curd, and then frosted with a limoncello cream cheese buttercream. Yep. That happened.

Limoncello Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
Recipe adapted from Normal Activities
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons limoncello
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
1. Beat together butter and cream cheese, and then add in sugar and mix until light and fluffy.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. (*NOTE: very important to use LARGE eggs when baking.)
3. Add the limoncello and lemon juice and mix until blended.
4. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
5. Alternately add flour and buttermilk to butter mixture, and mix only until blended.
6. Pour into prepared cupcake pans and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. Cool completely.

For the lemon curd filling:
Recipe slightly adapted from David Lebovitz

  • 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 2 large egg yolks 
  • 1 large eggs 
  • pinch of salt 
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed 
  • 2 tablespoons limoncello

1. Place a mesh strainer over a bowl, and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, limoncello, sugar, egg yolks, egg, and salt.
3. Add the butter cubes and set the pan over low heat, whisking constantly until the butter is melted.
4. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens, and becomes almost jelly-like.
5. Immediately press the curd through the strainer. Once strained, store the lemon curd in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to one week.

To fill cupcakes:

Slice a small cone shaped hole in the middle of each cupcake with a small paring knife. Fill with lemon curd. You can replace the cake cone you took out if you would like, but it really is the perfect bite of cake! I covered my cupcakes with frosting, so I didn't replace the cones.

For the frosting:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons limoncello
2 oz cream cheese

1. Cream together butter and cream cheese.
2. Add sugar and limoncello and blend until creamy.
3. Add more limoncello if the buttercream seems too thick.
4. Pipe (or slather and smear) onto cupcakes.

Also, tomorrow is my birthday. Which means I get to make myself a birthday cake!

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