Lemon Curd Stuffed Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting and Coconut

I’m going to go ahead and admit right now that I get cupcake cravings. Often. Maybe it’s the single-serve portion size, the frosting-to-cake ratio, or simply the fact that there’s so many varieties and decorating options, but I just love them!

Recently the craving hit again, but we were out of a few key ingredients to make what I originally wanted..s’mores cupcakes! Excitement took over as I remembered that we still had some lemon curd in the freezer, leftover from a previous brunch recipe. (Homemade lemon curd topped pancakes with fresh raspberries and a dusting of powdered sugar. To answer your question – yes, they were delicious!)

Then my brain starts thinking.. hmm.. lemon curd.. what’s in our cupboards that I can combine with this? Well, more lemon of course, and coconut! Perfect for a springtime cupcake recipe.

Since there’s just two of us here, I only made a half batch of these. I still had a LOT of extra lemon curd, but not enough butter to frost more than a half dozen or so cupcakes. Like many, I’ve been on the hunt for the ideal vanilla cupcake recipe, and I think I may have found one that’s pretty close.. although I added lemon zest to the recipe, so I’ll have to make them again without the lemon at some point before I can really make a decision. The recipe used oil instead of butter, which I think might be the key to keeping them moist. (Have you noticed how many white cake recipes are really dry?!) My favorite chocolate cake recipe – the Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake – also uses oil, so I think that might be the key!

To  make these cupcakes, I simply mixed up a half batch of the vanilla cake recipe (below) and added zest from one lemon to the batter. After I baked the cupcakes and let them cool, I put a few large spoonfulls of lemon curd into a pastry bag with a wide tip, and filled the cupcakes with about a TB of lemon curd. Stick the pastry tip about 1/2-3/4″ into the cupcake and then gently squeeze the filling into it. You’ll see the cupcake top “rise” as it is filled! Then I frosted them with a basic white frosting, and topped them with some untoasted/unsweetened coconut flakes. (The same kind I used for the Samoa Cake, but untoasted.)

Here’s a few recipes:

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes
Recipe by Glorious Treats
Yields- 15-16 cupcakes
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup oil (vegetable, canola or extra light olive oil)
1/2 cup buttermilk
(or 1/2 cup milk plus 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice- add acid to the milk then set aside for 5 minutes before using)
Directions-
* Preheat oven to 350*F.
* In a medium bowl, add cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir together with whisk, and set aside.
* In the bowl of an electric mixer, add eggs and beat 10-20 seconds.  Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed about 30 seconds.  Add vanilla and oil, beat.
* Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture.  Add half of the milk, then the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk.  Beat until just combined.  Scrap down the side of the bowl.
* The batter will be thin.   Pour batter into a muffin pan prepared with paper liners.  Fill liners about 2/3 full.
* Bake cupcakes in pre-heated oven for 12-14 minutes.
* Cool in pan 1-2 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan (carefully) and finish cooling on a wire rack.

* Frost as desired when fully cool.

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I’ve been using this recipe for years!..I can’t even begin to tell you the various uses for lemon curd.. For example, we’ve used it as a topping for pancakes (instead of syrup,) as a filling for stuffed braided bread, incorporated it into whipped cream frosting for a lemon whipped cream frosting, and now to fill cupcakes! Don’t be afraid to make the full batch here, and use it for other recipes besides a cupcake filling. Last time I made it, I froze half of it to use later.

Lemon Curd

Gourmet  | January 2001

yield: Makes about 1 1/3 cups

active time: 20 min

total time: 1 1/4 hr

Ingredients

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest

1/2 cup sugar

3 large eggs

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into bits

Preparation

Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubble appears on surface, about 6 minutes.

Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and chill, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 1 hour. (Can keep chilled in the refrigerator 1 week.)

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For the frosting, I just used a basic ratio.. for every 1 cup of powdered sugar, I added: 1-TB softened unsalted butter, 1-TB milk,  1-tsp vanilla extract, and then mixed all ingredients together until smooth. Easy!

There you have it, lemon cupcakes stuffed with lemon curd, topped with vanilla frosting and coconut flakes. My only regret is that we don’t have any left!

Giant Samoa Girl Scout Cookie Birthday Cake

It’s that time of year again… my guy’s birthday! We sort of alternate between “boring” normal birthday cakes, and creative/challenging cakes. This year entailed the latter.

Choosing the cake was up to me this year – sometimes that’s dangerous, because I’ll always pick something I’ve never made before, and it usually requires literally hours’ worth of preparation. No matter, I’m always up for it! We’ve been on a Girl Scout Cookie kick this year (Samoas and Thin Mints, of COURSE) and I was inspired by this blog post about making a giant Samoa cake. She had a great idea, but I wanted to make some variations on her idea to include more “cookie” elements, and of course frosting.

The end result was this:

The bottom layer consists of shortbread cookie, topped with dark chocolate ganache and salted caramel sauce. Above that is vanilla/white cake, covered in caramel frosting, and coated with toasted coconut flakes, drizzled with melted dark chocolate. To say it was delicious would be an understatement!

I used a variety of recipes here – some online, some from actual cookbooks..yes, people still use those! I’ll do my best to include any actual recipe I used for this, but for some of the steps I just eyeballed it with no recipe or real measuring. (Sorry!) Here’s the step-by-step process I used to assemble, followed by some recipes:

Giant Girl Scout Cookie Cake

*Notes: I made this a two-day process since I had class on his actual birthday, and would need more time to finish the cake. The first day I made the shortbread crust, made the salted caramel sauce, and toasted the coconut. The second day I baked the cake, made the ganache, made the frosting, and assembled it all together. This seemed to work out fine, and you could do them all in one day, but you would need to leave adequate time for cooling each part (caramel especially) which can take some waiting time. I’m posting the photos in the order I prepared everything and assembled the cake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the recipes I used:

 

Shortbread

from Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook 1980 ed.

Minutes to Cook: 35

Number of Servings: 18

 

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons sugar

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

– in large bowl beat 1st 6 ingredients until well mixed, occasionally scraping the bowl

– pat down into 9 in round cake pan and with fork, prick well

– with spoon, sprinkle sugar over dough

Bake 30-35 minutes

– cut into wedges while warm, cool on wire rack, separate cookies

Serving Size: 18

 

***I used HALF of the shortbread recipe, since I just wanted a crust. I did not sprinkle with sugar, and I did not cut it into wedges.***

Caramel Sauce

Bon Appétit | April 2006

Mary Cech

Yield: Makes about 1 1/3 cupsIngredients3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup whipping cream

Preparation

Combine sugar, 1/2 cup water, and corn syrup in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Carefully add cream (you may want to stand back — mixture will bubble vigorously). Stir sauce over low heat until any caramel bits dissolve and sauce is smooth. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat just until pourable, then let caramel sauce cool to room temperature.)

***After adding the cream and mixing the sauce, I removed it from the heat and stirred in about 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract and a dash of sea salt.***

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Toasted Coconut:

No recipe, but I wanted to mention I used unsweetened coconut, spread out on parchment over a cookie sheet.. baked it for about 10 mins at 350-F. Carefully watch and/or use less toasting time if you’re using sweetened coconut, as it burns faster than unsweetened.

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Dark Chocolate Ganache:

No recipe for this either, but I heated 1/4 Cup heavy cream over a double boiler, removed it from the heat and then stirred in about 1/3 Cup chocolate chips (Ghirardelli 60% cocoa) until they were melted and the mixture was smooth.

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Vanilla Cake:

Simple White Cake

by: SCOTTOSMAN (Allrecipes.com)

Prep Time:
20 Min

Cook Time:
30 Min

Ready In:
50 Min

Servings

Original Recipe Yield 12 cupcakes or 1- 9×9 inch pan

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×9 inch pan or line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. For cupcakes, bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch.

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Salted Caramel Frosting:

No real recipe for this either.. I softened 1 stick (1/2 Cup) unsalted butter, then beat it with the whisk attachment on my mixture until fluffy. Next I mixed in about 3/4 Cup of the salted caramel sauce until smooth. Then I gradually beat in confectioner’s sugar until the desired consistency. (About 2 1/2-cups. You may want more if you like a thicker frosting. I didn’t want the caramel taste overpowered by the sugar, so I kept it on the “less sugar” side.)

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And there you have it! The end result was a delicious combo of cookie and cake. I wouldn’t change a single thing! This is definitely not a healthy cake , and is best intended for special occasions.. like birthdays. 🙂