These cupcakes are delicious, moist, and dainty and in my opinion, have a perfect level of tartness. However, if you’re concerned about the cupcakes being too tart, omit the lemon zest or lessen the amount of pink lemonade concentrate by a tablespoon or so.
I find cream cheese frosting to be a wonderfully sweet compliment to lemon cupcakes. When preparing the frosting, I recommend that you begin with 2 cups of powdered sugar and add more by half cup intervals until your icing reaches the desired level of stiffness and sweetness.
You can certainly enjoy these cupcakes simply frosted, but I wanted to make sure my cupcakes caught the judges’ eyes. I tinted the icing a gorgeously girly shade of pink using Wilton’s Icing Gel (my favorite colorant) and piped it on top of the cupcakes using my Pampered Chef Easy Accent Decorator (one of my favorite kitchen gadgets!). For a stellar presentation reminiscent of true pink lemonade, I filled plastic water glasses ($1 for a pack of 5 at Dollar Tree) with pink tulle and set the cupcakes atop the tulle. I inserted a striped candy stick into each cupcake to serve as a mock straw and to help the cupcake lover easily remove the cupcake from the glass.
Though I didn’t win (there were 39 other bakers!), my cupcakes were a crowd favorite. Every last one disappeared and I heard plenty of oooohs and aaaahs from children and adults.
Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin pan with liners. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest, and salt. Set aside.
Scoop batter into liners (fill about three-fourths full). Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack. When cupcakes are completely cooled, top them with frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2-4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Beat softened butter and cream cheese until well blended. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until creamy.
© 2009, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.