Sunday, July 1, 2012

Lemon Lime Cupcakes with Lime Basil Buttercream (GF)

   Summer at last! All of senior year I sat in class dreaming about having the time to bake and draw 
   and photograph all of the sweet nostalgic flavors of summer - and now here I am writing my first blog 
   post! I can't wait to share with you a glimse of my imagination and all of the whimiscal fantasies I create in
   my head.

   The first thing that I baked after graduation was cupcakes. I chose the flavors that I though best embodied
   the sunny long days of summer. I have been obsessed with citrus lately, so I chose lime, which seemed to
   contrast nicely but unexpectedly with the basil in the buttercream.

    My favorite character in Alice and Wonderland has always been the Cheshire Cat. He is unexpected and
    crazy, much like the tart lime basil combo. He is also not the most beautiful cat, so again he perfectly
    embodies these cupcakes! I had quite a bit of trouble with the buttercream. And although in the second
    attempt I did not carmalize the sugar as I did in the first attempt, the buttercream was still, well, very
    buttery. I could not pipe it on how I wanted, but at least it still tasted great!

    Since I was still in a lime phase after making the cupcakes, I decided to make lime-lemonade. Even
    though it took me forever to squeeze all the limes and lemons, and even though I had to keep picking
    lemons off our little lemon tree to get the right amount of juice, it was all worth it. It was the perfect
    refreshing, sour summer drink.

    And now I excitedly await a year of blogging and of being inspired by all of the beautiful natural things 
    around me. Thank you summer for giving me the time to put my overactive imagination to use and share
    my creations with others!

Lemon Lime Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes
3/4 cup salted butter (1.5 sticks), room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons GF pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup lemonade
zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup lime juice (1 or 2 limes, juiced)

3 cups Artisan Gluten-Free Flour blend:
   1 1/4 cups brown rice flour
   3/4 cup sorghum flour
   2/3 cup cornstarch
   1/4 cup potato starch
   1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon potato flour
   1 teaspoon xanthan gum
   1/2 cup sweet rice flour (mochiko)
wisk all ingredients together thoroughly

2 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 1/2 teaspoons GF baking powder
1 teaspoon GF baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard cupcake tins with liners.
2. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add vanilla.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition.
4. Add the buttermilk, lemonade, zest, and lime juice, and mix until combined.
5. In a seperate bowl, combine the flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix with a whisk, breaking up any lumps.
6. Add the dry ingredients all at once to the sugar mixture, and mix for about 10 seconds at medium-low speed to incorporate.
7. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix at high speed for about 5 seconds, just until the batter is completely mixed and smooth.
8. Divide the batter evenly among the paper-lined cups. Make the top of the batter as smooth as you can.
9. Bake for 25 minutes.
10. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then remove from tins and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Lime Basil Buttercream

1 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
15 basil sprigs (about 30 leaves)
4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups salted butter (3 sticks), removed from refrigerator when you start the buttercream
1/4 cup lime juice (1 to 2 limes, juiced)
zest of 1 lime

1. Mix 1 1/3 cups of the sugar and the water in a heavy saucepan. Add the basil sprigs. Put a candy thermometer in the sugar mixture and heat to 240 degrees F without stirring.
2. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer using a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites and salt at medium-high speed until frothy.
3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar to the egg whites and whisk until soft peaks form. Turn the mixer off and let the egg whites sit until the sugar comes up to temperature.
4. When the sugar mixture reaches 240 degrees F, carefully remove the basil sprigs, and with the mixer at medium speed, slowly drizzle the hot sugar mixture down the side of the bowl into the beaten egg whites.
5. After all the sugar is added, continue whisking the mixture until cool, about 10 minutes.
6. While the egg whites are whisking, cut the butter into tablespoon-size pieces.
7. When the egg whites are cool, leave the mixer running at medium speed and add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing enough time for each tablespoon to incorporate after each addition, until all the butter is added.
8. Switch to the paddle attachment, add the lime juice and zest, and mix at medium speed for an additional 1 to 2 minutes until the air bubbles are out of the frosting, and it is silky smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and garnish with a lime slice or sprig of basil -I used the leaves of our lime basil plant which actually smells just like lime :)


Recipe adapted from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes by Kelli and Peter Bronski

1 comment:

  1. These photos are so beautiful and whimsical, Lauren! You definitely have a unique eye, and a real talent.