Very Lemony Cupcakes

My boss at work is actually pretty awesome. I’ve always got on with him quite well and we chat often about food as we both like to cook. A week or so before Christmas we were talking about food in general and he asked me what cookbooks were out at the moment that I would like. I replied that I’d love the ‘Great British Bakeoff’ cookbook by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, that accompanied the TV series of the same name that I was hooked on during the autumn.

Little did I know that a few days before Christmas he would hand me this book, PLUS a massive box of chocolates and a bottle of champagne to thank me for my hard work this year. Legend, right?

The first recipe from this book needed to be a cake. And you all know I love citrus, so this was really a given. I need to be less predictable with my baking! These are called ‘Very Lemony Cupcakes’. I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration – though the lemon flavour clearly comes through, they’re no more lemony than a normal lemon cake. Doesn’t mean that they’re not amazing, because believe me, they are!

Makes 12

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten
  • 200g self raising flour, sifted
  • 100ml buttermilk (I just used regular milk here)
  • 2 tsps lemon juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas4. Put the butter into a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until very creamy. Beat in the sugar and lemon zest, then beat thoroughly for about 4 minutes, or until the mixture is very light and fluffy.
  2. Gradually add the eggs a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl from time to time. Using a large metal spoon, fold in the flour in three batches alternately with the buttermilk. When the mixture is almost amalgamated, mix in the lemon juice.
  3. Spoon the mixture into paper cases, filling them evenly. Bake for about 25 mins or until a light golden brown and firm to the touch.
  4. Remove from the oven and cool for 2 mins, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely before icing.

For the topping I amended the recipe for butter icing slightly to incorporate some lemon flavour:

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 400g icing sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon

Mix until desired consistency. You may need to add more lemon or sugar, depending on how much juice you get out of the lemon. It needs to be quite thick to pipe it onto the cakes.