Summer Love Lemon Cupcakes

Airy & light, with just the right amount of tangy to sweet, Lemon Cupcakes makes perfect little treats for summer- and are insanely delicious!

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Discovered on a TV show, I’ve made minor tweaks (sometimes I use lime instead of lemon- coz this is Mumbai & lemons aren’t always at hand!) to this perfect little cupcake recipe & am thrilled with the results! Very easy to whip up & totally impressive, these babies have taken over number one position on my favorite-cupcakes-to-obsessively-bake list!

Sharing!

 For the Cupcakes:

        25g butter, softened

       125g caster sugar

       Finely grated zest ½ large lemon (keeping the zest of the remaining ½ lemon for the lemon icing) or a couple of large sour limes.

       2 eggs, beaten

       150g plain flour

       ¼ tsp baking powder

 For the lemon butter icing:

       75g butter, softened

       125g icing sugar, sifted

       Finely grated zest of ½ large lemon- or 1 lime

       1-2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

All you have to do is:

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line a muffin tin with paper cases.

Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft.

Add the sugar and grated lemon/lime zest and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Gradually add the beaten eggs, then sift in the flour + baking powder and fold into the mixture.

Divide the mixture between the paper cases and bake in the preheated oven for 20-22 minutes, 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 completely before you ice them.

To make the lemon/lime butter icing, cream the butter in a bowl with a wooden spoon until very soft. Gradually add the sifted icing sugar and beat into the butter, along with the lemon/lime zest and enough lemon/lime juice to soften the icing, to a spreadable consistency.

When the cupcakes are cool, spread a generous heaped teaspoon of lemon butter icing over the top of each one. Decorate with fresh mint sprigs!

And, as a friend suggested, you could also add a generous sprinkling of lemony sugar crystals to glam it up completely! Yes, these cupcakes are really gorgeous. 

Retro Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I love all things Retro Americana; especially food that was popular during the 1940’s & 1950’s. So, no surprises here, the Red Velvet Cake / Cupcakes easily tops my list of retro food favorites 🙂

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Have to say-this is the most satisfying thing I’ve baked. The intense red, lightness & the sheer deliciousness of the RV cupcake just gets dreamier with the right amount of cream cheese frosting. Having tried a couple of recipes, oh about 50 times or so, I’ve finally settled for this easy one. Seems just wrong not to share…

Makes about 20 delicious cupcakes.

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt, if using unsalted butter (Traditionally oil is used instead of butter, but I find butter so much tastier. I use guilt free Nutralite)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 110 g butter or margarine softened
  • 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 11/2 tsp red icing colour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar (White vinegar reacts with the baking soda & creates an airiness that helps the cake rise more, making the cake fluffy.)
  • 1 tsp baking soda

All you have to do is:

  • Preheat oven to 180 c.
  • Line standard muffin pan with paper liner.
  • In a medium bowl, sift in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; keep aside.
  • In large bowl, cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, icing color and vanilla extract; mix well until icing color is well mixed– be sure to scrape down sides of bowl when necessary.
  • Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter mixture, add water and mix well.
  • In small bowl, combine white vinegar and baking soda-then gently stir into cupcake mixture.
  • Spoon into baking cups. Bake 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool cupcakes in pan on cooling rack for 5 minutes.
  • Remove cupcakes from pan, cool completely before icing.

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For more moisture & a salty-sugary hit, I find cream cheese compliments this cupcake perfectly, so went the extra delicious mile to whip up this quick frosting. It’s much easier to make & more appetizing than it looks!

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 110 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 225 g cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs milk, if need to make thinner.

Place butter in bowl and beat until light and fluffy, for about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, and beat until well-combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until combined, about 2 minutes. If too thick, add 1 tbs milk.

Fill in prepared piping bag with nozzle of choice. I like being fancy with the piping, but you could just use a spatula or butter knife to apply frosting to cupcake, as creatively as you like.

Frosting the Cupcakes:

Once, the cupcakes are cooled, peel off the paper liner & slice the cupcake horizontally- as neatly as possible 🙂

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Pipe icing generously on lower layer, shut cupcake & pipe swirl on top! That’s it; gorgeous red velvet cupcakes are ready!

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Bakery Obsessions in Bombay

What is it about Old Iranian bakeries in Bombay? The warm aroma of delicious treats, tucked beneath streaky old glass counters? The promise of an over-sweet cup of milky tea with freshly baked bread & jam?  Or is it the mad clamor for the ‘hot-out-of-oven’ loaves while the ‘family run’ cashier/ proprietor yells out above the din? Really can’t pick just one reason –‘tho I think topmost on my list would be just sitting put in a corner, wolfing down a warm puff or two & watching the eccentricities of Bombay, pass me by.

For me spending time at these old checked-floored joints is what life is all about.

This particular piece is not about the history of the Old Iranian Cafes, strewn across South Bombay. Neither is it bout the swift shutting down of most of these historic structures-as I’m quite sure I won’t be able to do enough justice here. What I will rant on about ‘tho, is my love and greed for all things baked; in an environment that can only be described as sweetly nostalgic!

And today, I’ll rave on about a certain favorite- B. Merwan & Co.

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B.Merwans & Co

Among the many old and not so old Iranian cafes in Bombay, quite unseemingly hyped is café Merwan & Co – High Class Bakers & Confectioners, as they boldly announce on their chipped facade.  Just a quick skip across Grand Road railway station is this beguiling hot spot of yore. Really, there’s no force, strong enough in the universe, which could’ve stop me from diving right in.

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Sea of Old furniture

Once in and having adjusted my faculties to the dimness of the place, I had to elbow my thru the thronging masses, ganged up for the freshly baked goodies. Dizzy with the mouth-watering aromas I finally seated myself amongst the sea of scruffy, well-worn café furniture. Spotted almost at once by the ever-vigilant staff , in less than 30 seconds, my order was placed & dusted!

Always the experimental sort, I opted for the Mawa Samosa instead of the much-lauded Mava Cupcake – fingers drumming eagerly on the cool marble counter top.

Before I could settle deeper into the woodwork & take in the unhurried goings on of the office going (Cafe B. Merwans,with it’s hot omelet bun, is a notorious den for the old Bombay office goer) a heaping saucer was placed before me – along with the customary sticky sweet tea. Yes, the staff here are quicker than summer lightning!

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The delectable Mava Samosa

The Mava Samosa or Puff- flakey as promised & stuffed with fragrant Mawa (thickened sweet milk that’s dried) is deliciously browned & light as a feather. I practically inhaled them down & would’ve easily buzzed thru another couple dozen had I not locked my eyes on the next big thing there- the Almond Cupcake…deep sigh.

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Two Cute- Almond Cupcakes

…the early afternoon wore on, as it usually does and I took my last, longing eyeful at the  scrumptious, creaking counters, wishing that I were 20 again ‘coz metabolism is no longer a friend. Grudgingly, I moved away from the sweet madness that is B Merwans.

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Cash Counter

Heard from the grapevine that this brave & battered old café is shutting down soon. All I can do at this point is vow to take in as much of the goodness (and heaps of the Iconic Mawa Cupcake) while I can- even if it means doing a few more rounds on the treadmill…

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The Legend

The Cutest Chocolate Cupcake

Wanted to end the year on a sweet note-and with a swirl! So my latest fave, the Meltingly Moist Chocolate Cupcake with Marshmallow Frosting- or to make it easier- the Cutest Chocolate Cupcake makes it to the top!

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This recipe, nicked from the net & modified to suit, I think is the most easy & fun cupcake I have ever baked. The Marshmallow frosting adds a delicate & delicious finish, while making these little cupcakes cuter than they already are!

I love this little recipe so much coz all ingredients are usually lying around at home – no last minute treks to the shop required at all.

To make about 12 cupcakes , you’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, if using unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup hung yogurt

All you have to do :

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line a 12-cup regular muffin tin with paper liners.
  • Into a bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; if adding, and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, lastly beat in vanilla. I use a hand held electric whisk – so much easier!
  •  Switch to a spatula, adding flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the yogurt and beginning and ending with flour. Gently, mix the together, avoiding lumps.
  • Spoon batter into cups, sure to fill each 3/4 full.
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    • Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.
    • Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then ice the cupcakes, if you like.
    • For the Marshmallow Frosting:
      • 4 large egg whites
      • 1 cups sugar
      • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
      • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
      • Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, takes about 3 to 4 minutes.
      • Use an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to beat the warm mixture, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form- this should take around 5 to 7 minutes. Finally add the vanilla and mix until combined. I added a touch of pink to half the frosting & mixed both into a piping bag.
      • It’s recommended to frost the cupcakes immediately. The frosted cupcakes can be stored in the fridge, in airtight boxes for up to 3 day.