Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted via A Bitchin’ Kitchen and Martha Stewart
Serves: 20 to 24 (yields about 2 dozen)

For cupcakes:
♦ 2 1/4 cups cake flour
♦ 1 tbsp baking powder
♦ 1/2 tsp salt
♦ 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
♦ 4 large egg whites
♦ 1 1/2 cups sugar
♦ lemon zest from two lemons
♦ 1 stick (8 tbsp) butter, at room temperature
♦ 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
♦ juice from 1/2 lemon

For Frosting:
♦ 2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
♦ 1 stick butter, softened
♦ 2-3 lbs confectioners’ sugar
♦ juice of one lemon

For garnish:
♦ 2 pineapples

For the cupcakes: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line cupcake tins with 24 paper liners. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites in a separate medium bowl.

Put the sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl, and rub them together using your fingers until the sugar is fragrant and moist (should take less than a minute).

Add the butter into the large bowl, and cream together on medium speed for 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon juice, and then alternate adding in the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat for a minute to make sure everything is well combined, and scoop into your prepared cupcake tins.

Bake for about 18 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

For the frosting: beat cream cheese and butter until well combined. Gradually add in confectioners sugar, and beat to combine. Finally, mix in lemon juice.

For garnish: preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or tin foil. Remove and discard pineapple “eyes” using a teaspoon measure (what I used), a small melon baller, or a paring knife. Using a sharp knife, cut pineapple crosswise into very thin slices. Transfer slices to baking sheets. Bake until tops look dried, about 30 minutes. Flip slices; bake until completely dried, 25 to 30 minutes more. Using a pair of tongs, gently lift the slices and set into a mini muffin tin (you can use a regular muffin tin, but the flowers will be much wider) – cover with plastic wrap, and allow to dry overnight. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3 days.

To read more about these cupcakes and my musical pairing, click HERE.

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