Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lemon-Limoncello Cupcakes

The first time I ever made these, I tested them out on Ryan with out him knowing that I was getting his opinion on flavors that I would be making for his graduation party. Sneaky I know, but I am pretty sure he had no idea - at the time that is. They turned out great, but the first taste test came out with reviews of too tart and too much frosting. I am a frosting person and say, the more the better, but Ryan does not feel the same way. He believes there should be a proper cupcake to frosting ratio. Which I do agree, but I get carried away and get a little crazy with the frosting. I am working on it and someday, I'll get it down. Needless to say, the frosting ratio was fine considering how much lemon curd was filling the cupcakes, but the curd was too tart. Time for some minor adjustments.

The next time I made these was for Ryan's graduation party (woo masters degree - SO proud of you my dear!) and they were probably the most popular of all the cupcakes. I couldn't believe it. I like lemon, but never thought these would beat out the carrot cake or chocolate cupcakes. Boy was I wrong. This time around, I lessened the curd filling and went lighter on the frosting. It was the perfect ratio of sweetness to tartness. There is a little bit of cream cheese in the batter as well, so it gives the cupcake this dense moistness that just ties it all together. If you are a lemon lover, you've got to try these out. Just note that the curd does take some time to set up, so my advice would be to make the curd the day before you want to make these. If you made it a few hours before you wanted to use it, it will cool in time, but I just like to do it the day before so all the flavors can meld and so it's nice and chilled. I also feel it helps getting this out of the way so that there is less to do and you don't feel so overwhelmed when making these cupcakes. That's just my two cents though. You can find the curd recipe here.

limoncello - how can you go wrong?!

adding in the limoncello

cooling cupcakes

filled with lemon curd. I just used a teaspoon to help scoop out the center and fill.

iced, sprinkled and ready to eat!

boxed and ready for delivery. you can pick up these cute boxes at Michaels. If you have a Target in your area, keep an eye out for them in the dollar section, sometimes they are there too!

Lemon-Limoncello Cupcakes (from

Makes 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 ounces (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons limoncello
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup lemon juice
Zest of one lemon

For the cream cheese limoncello frosting:
2 ounces (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon limoncello
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the limoncello and beat an additional minute. On low speed, add flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the lemon juice and zest and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Divide the batter between 12 muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Cream cheese limoncello frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the limoncello and beat for an additional minute. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat until fully incorporated and smooth.

Assemble the cupcakes. Cut a hole into each cupcake with the large end of a melon baller or the back end of a large pastry tip or teaspoon. Fill each cavity with the lemon curd. Pipe or spread frosting onto the cupcakes and decorate with lemon and sprinkles, if desired.

If you are having trouble locating limoncello, check your local bevmo. They will have it. Most grocery stores carry it as well, but bevmo will have it for sure. It is a little expensive ($25 or so), but it is well worth it. I think I may have even seen it at Costco, so check there too. Not only can you use in these cupcakes, but you can use it in so many other things - cocktails, cheesecake, and even cake! 

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