I love spring.
Usually, spring means the beginning of the baseball season, beautiful weather, a little bit of traveling, and tons of fresh produce.
Although this year, spring is looking a little different; There were no sunny days spent watching baseball in Arizona as per our tradition, no enjoying the pool or beach or even the beautiful spring weather. There was inside, and only inside, thanks to COVID-19.
Still, I knew spring was out there, and thanks to our Imperfect Produce delivery, I was able to get some fresh lemons — another sure indication that spring has arrived.
So I did what I know how to do in stressful times: I turned lemons into cupcakes and baked some brightness into our days with my Spring Celebration Lemon Cupcakes.
Last year for Easter I made these cupcakes and they were a major hit with the family. The major difference from last year’s batch and this year’s is that I previously filled them with Bonne Maman lemon curd but this year, thanks to the pandemic and peoples’ overshopping, I wasn’t able to.
Even without the lemon curd, these cupcakes are DELICIOUS little drops of lemony goodness topped with creamy vanilla buttercream, crunchy toasted coconut, and the crown jewel on this darling little dessert, a Cadbury Mini Egg nestled on top.
If you do decide to fill these, the process is so easy. Just fill a pastry bag and use a filling tip. Insert the tip into the center of the cupcake (from the top), and squeeze. You’ll have a little hole on top of the cupcake, but buttercream makes an excellent hole patcher 😉
For my Springtime Celebration Lemon Cupcakes, you will need Lemon Cupcakes, lemon curd*, Very Vanilla Buttercream, toasted coconut*, and Cadbury Mini Eggs* (*optional ingredients).
Ingredients for Lemon Cupcakes (24 Cupcakes):
- 1/2 Cup Butter, room temperature (Salted OR Unsalted)
- 3 Eggs
- 1/2 Cup Milk (Dairy OR Nondairy)
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
- Zest and Juice of 1 Medium Lemon
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 2 Cups Flour (All-purpose or Cake Flour)
- 3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
Lemon Cupcake Directions:
- Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare muffin tins with liners.
- In a small bowl, zest the lemon until all the yellow is removed. Be careful not to zest into the pith (the white fleshy stuff), it’s bitter! Juice the lemon into the same bowl.
- Using either a stand or hand mixer (this is the one I use), cream together butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes until it becomes creamy. Scrape down the edges as you do this.
- Beat the eggs in one at a time. Beat for another minute after adding the last egg so the batter has peaks and is fluffy.
- In another bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add milk and vanilla to the bowl with the lemon. If you are using milk with dairy, you may see it start to curdle. Don’t panic! This is normal and nothing to worry about.
- Add about 1/3 of the milk mixture to the egg mixture and beat until just incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and add half the flour mixture and blend until just incorporated. Continue doing this until all ingredients are incorporated. Be careful not to overmix!
- Divide into prepared tins, filling cups about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
Very Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients:
- 4 – 4 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 3 – 5 Tablespoons Heavy Cream OR Milk (I prefer heavy cream, but milk works just as well)
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla
- Food Coloring (Optional)
Very Vanilla Buttercream Directions:
- Mix vanilla and 3 tablespoons of cream in a small bowl or measuring cup. Pour over powdered sugar (use a big bowl to reduce mess!).
- Start the mixer on low and combine ingredients. Add food coloring (if you’re using any). If frosting is too thick, add more cream, just a little at a time. If frosting is too thin add more powdered sugar, a little at a time. Whip until frosting can stand on its own, but is spreadable.
Toasted Coconut Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 Cups Unsweetened Coconut Shreds
Toasted Coconut Directions:
- Heat a large skillet over medium and add coconut. Stir occasionally until it begins browning, then stir frequently to prevent burning.
- Continue stirring and browning until it smells nutty and most pieces are brown. Do not try to brown every piece! This is how it burns.
- Immediately pour into a bowl or plate. Allow coconut to cool completely before decorating cupcakes.
To Assemble Spring Celebration Lemon Cupcakes:
- Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting (I cannot stress this enough).
- Once the coconut has cooled (also can’t stress this enough!), use your hands to gently crush the crisp coconut. Doing this will break down the larger pieces, ensuring better coverage of the frosting.
- If you are filling the cupcakes with lemon curd, do it now by filling a pastry bag and use a filling tip. Insert the tip into the center of the cupcake (from the top), and squeeze.
- If you are topping the cupcakes with coconut, you do not need to take the time to pipe on the frosting. You can simply grab a knife and spread a layer of icing on top. But if you want to take the time (I usually do), you can put the frosting into a pastry bag and pipe using any tip you choose. I really like reusable silicone bags that come with 24 different tips in this decorating kit.
- Once the cupcakes are frosted, dip the cupcake into the coconut with the frosted side facing down at a 45-degree angle and gently apply pressure. Rotate the cupcake until all sides have coconut stuck to it, then gently press the top (the remaining unfrosted part) into the coconut. Turning the cupcakes this way will help coat all of the frosting in coconut. If there are any major chunks of frosting still exposed, redunk.
- Dab a small amount of buttercream onto one side of a Cadbury Mini Egg and gently press (icing side down) into the top of the cupcake.
If you need a visual for any of these steps, check out my IGTV tutorial. It’s very low tech and poorly produced (I’ll get better at these, I swear!), but it helps give an idea of the process, step by step.
I hope you enjoy these cupcakes as much as we do! Make sure you tag me on Instagram so I can share how yours turned out! And if you have questions, please leave a comment or DM me. Happy spring and happy baking! ❤️