Ok, so I'm sure the Easter Bunny would much rather have a carrot cupcake. However, I don't really know him that well, and think that he should just be happy with what he gets. Mr. Grumpy and I made the short trek down to Bainbridge where his parents live to celebrate Easter Weekend.
We celebrated Easter Eve by having one of our infamous Martini Nights. Mr. O.G. (original Grumpy – aka, Mr. G's dad) makes a pretty mean martini. And usually, Martini Nights end with me, face down on Mr. G's bed from his childhood (alone, thank you. Gosh! I'm not a Floozy!) with my PJs on backward, wondering how I got up there in the first place. This Martini Night ended with us watching Titanic in 3D, so let's just say that it was pretty calm compared to other nights when Mr. Grumpy may have accidentally drank 6 martinis and wound up puking all Sunday morning… I digress.
Anyway, I was in charge of Easter Bunny dessert. I just could not resist making these lemon buttercream cupcakes when I stumbled upon them on Shugary Sweets. I did change the recipe a bit (duh), but boy – these were so delish. And the color of a lemon-flavored jelly bean, so I was pretty pleased.
What You'll Need for the Cupcakes:
- 5 egg whites, room temp.
- 3/4 cup buttermilk*
- 2 lemons, zested
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp. (or softened in the microwave)
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp lemon extract (or lemon juice would be ok, too)
- yellow sugar crystal sprinkles (in the cake decorating aisle of your grocery store)
What You'll Need for the Frosting:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp. (or softened in the microwave)
- 4 cup powered sugar
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract, give or take (because I accidentally spilled about 1 extra tsp in there via a bad pour, and it was all good)
*Now, I did not have any buttermilk on hand. That's cool if you don't either. Why???? Because it's super easy to make from scratch. Just take 1 cup of milk and add 1 tbsp of lemon juice. Let it stand for 5 minutes. And voila! You've got a cup of buttermilk (you only need 3/4 cup for this recipe, so don't get excited and dump the whole thing in your mixer).
OK, let's get baking!! Preheat your oven to 350.
Make your buttermilk if you need to. Next, in a small mixing bowl, gently whisk your egg whites, 1/4 cup of buttermilk and lemon zest (the whole lemon makes about 1-2 tbsp of zestiness). Set this mixture aside.
In a larger mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. This will take 3 minutes, and it will look white and fluffy. Add in the lemon and vanilla extract, and beat for an additional minute. Then, add in your dry ingredients. Mix until this combines – it will be kind of thick and doughy. Next, slowly add in the egg white mixture. Beat for about 1-2 minutes, until creamy. Add in the remaining buttermilk (1/2 cup) and beat for another minute or so. You want the end mixture to be creamy – like… cake batter. I know… surprising, right?
Put your cupcake liners in your cupcake pan. Take an ice cream scoop, and scoop the mixture into each liner (about halfway full). Bake for a full 15 minutes until the cupcakes are spongy and slightly golden on top. Remove from the oven, and let them sit in the pan for 6 minutes. Then, put them on a cooling rack to cool. Make sure all your cupcakes are completely cool before you frost them.
While those babies are chillin', make the frosting. Beat the butter (1 cup) in your mixer on high (my Oster mixer was set at level 9) for about 4 minutes. The butter should become pale in color and be thick and creamy. Add in the vanilla extract, and beat an additional minute. Next, add in the lemon juice (1 1/2 tbsp from your lemon), lemon zest, cream and powdered sugar (make sure you use a big bowl because I didn't at first, and looked like a snowman after the sugar exploded all over me. Mr. G proceeded to share this detail with his ENTIRE family at Easter. They still love me… I think.) Beat this for 4-5 more minutes until everything is creamy and smooth and super delicious. You can test it by licking your mixing spoon, and you should probably let your Mr. G test it too.
Fill a pastry bag with a flowered tip and pipe on the frosting. Sprinkle with those crystally yellow sugary things that you find in the baking aisle. And enjoy. (And if you have the best mom in the world like I do, you'll be able to use the watermelon decorations to make your cupcakes super special)
Cupcake Wars… here I come.