Hollowing out a bit of the cake and putting in a small spoonful of lemon curd makes this cupcake very moist and tangy. Lemon is always a popular alternative to chocolate or vanilla desserts. The trick is to keep the frosting slightly tart, to temper the sugar.
– The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook



Get the Recipe: Hummingbird Bakery Lemon Cupcakes Recipe

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For the Lemon Cupcakes

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour (decrease to 1 cup for sea-level)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (increase to 1 1/2 teaspoons for sea-level)
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of whole milk, at room temperature (decrease to 1/2 cup for sea-level)
  • 1 egg, at room temperature

For the Lemon Frosting

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest, plus extra to decorate
  • a couple of drops of yellow food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk


The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook's Lemon Cupcakes Recipe

    (Adapted for a high-altitude environment of approximately 5,000 ft)

    • Preheat the oven to 375 (F) — this is a 50 (F)-degree increase from the original recipe temperature of 325 (F).
    • Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
    • Gradually pour in the milk and beat until just incorporated.
    • Add the egg to the flour mixture and continue beating until the flour is just incorporated, making sure to scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Continue mixing for a couple of minutes until the batter is smooth, but be careful not to overmix.
    • Using a cookie scoop, spoon 2 tablespoons of the batter into cupcake cases (or, fill until the case is two-thirds full). Bake in the preheated for 20-25 miutes, or until the cake bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the center should come out clean.
    • Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan before turning out into a wire rack to cool completely.
    • When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the lemon frosting on top and use extra lemon zest to decorate accordingly.

    The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook’s Lemon Frosting Recipe

      (For All Altitudes)

      • Beat together the confectioners’ sugar, butter, lemon zest, and food coloring in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed. Continue until the mixture is well-mixed.
      • Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and slowly pour in the milk.
      • Once the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed.
      • Continue beat until the frosting is light and fluffy; this should take at least 5 minutes.


      Tips & Addendums
        • When grating your lemons, make sure grate as little as you can of the lemon’s white peel — the white peel is what gives citrus fruits its bitter taste. You only want the yellow of the rind.
        • All spoon measurements are level and unsifted, unless otherwise specified. To level the ingredients, take the back of a knife and run it across the top of the measuring up until the excess ingredients are scraped off.
        • Liquid and dry measuring cups are different; please make sure you use the appropriate measuring cup for each ingredient.
        • After adding liquid (milk, eggs) to the flour mixture, don’t overbeat as this will overwork the flour and make the cake dense — simply beat or stir until liquids have just been incorporated. In my opinion, making sure you don’t overbeat the batter is one of the hardest parts about baking.
        • Don’t open your oven until at least the minimum time recommended has passed. Too much cold air coming from a frequently opened oven door causes irregular oven temperatures, which then affect the baking process.
        • Specifically for the frosting: the longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.
      • Add your extra decorations (e.g. lemon zest) immediately after you have frosted the cupcake; if you wait to decorate the cake, the frosting will harden and the decorations will bounce right off the frosting.
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