Chocolate Cupcakes and Lemon Cupcakes

My mom had friends visiting from France and she wanted to bake some cupcakes to bring to a dinner party in their honor.  We decided on a chocolate cupcake and a lemon one with a meringue buttercream frosting for each.  Making the cupcakes was a breeze, but I epically failed at the frosting and had a mini mental breakdown for about 15 minutes.  My mom came to the rescue and whipped up a cream cheese frosting to put on top of the cupcakes.  We added lemon juice to half of the frosting and piped it onto the lemon cupcakes and we added orange zest to the other half and piped it onto the chocolate cupcakes.

Chocolate Cupcakes
adapted from AllRecipes.com
(makes about 30 cupcakes)

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line 36 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, water, oil and vanilla and mix well. Fill each muffin cup half-full of batter.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.

Lemon Cupcakes
adapted from AllRecipes.com
(makes about 30 cupcakes)

3 cups self-rising flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup applesauce
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp lemon zest
1 cup milk (I used nonfat milk, but you can use any kind)
1.5 tbsp fresh lemon juice

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line 30 cupcake pan cups with paper liners.
  2. Sift the self-rising flour and salt together in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the unsalted butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating each egg until incorporated before adding the next. Mix in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  3. Gently beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture, one third at a time, alternating with half the milk and half the lemon juice after each of the first 2 additions of flour. Beat until just combined; do not over mix.
  4. Fill the prepared cupcake liners with batter 3/4 full, and bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before removing them to finish cooling on a rack.  Frost when completely cooled.
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