I think I mentioned on one of my recent posts that I was looking into renting a commercial kitchen so I can start an online bakery. For awhile it looked as if I wasn’t going to be able to find one that I could afford or that wasn’t 30 miles away. About the time I started wondering if having a bakery was going to be possible, I got a call back from one of the kitchens I found online a few weeks before. They had just opened a new facility about 15 minutes from my house, and they were very reasonably priced compared to the others. I met with them and found them to be extremely friendly and helpful. So this last month I have been going in once a week to bake and learn how to cook in a commercial kitchen. It has been exciting and stressful all at the same time, but I am so thankful to have this opportunity. I have really been learning a lot!
I have learned that a commercial kitchen is a great place to cook in. Powdered sugar doesn’t fly across the kitchen when you turn on the mixer because the mixing bowl is about the size of a bathtub. However, chocolate batter will spray you in the face if you start the mixer on too high of a speed. I learned that one the hard way right before the owner walked in to see how I was doing. Learning can be humbling sometimes. Another thing I found out is that a 16 foot stainless steel table is really nice to have and gives you a lot of space to spread out all of your baking supplies. I also found out I can take up however much space you give me and make a huge mess no matter how long the table is. I have never gone through so many toothpicks in my life. It takes approximately 42 toothpicks to make sure 60 cupcakes are done. I’m afraid I may be shut down by the EPA for destroying too many trees at some point. I am still getting used to the ovens, and I haven’t even attempted the convection ovens yet. One of the sad things I’ve learned is 1 month working in a commercial kitchen making a variety of flavors of cupcakes translates to 10 pounds of added weight on the baker!:( I may need to hire a taste tester. I guess it is good that I like my own product. Now I just have to convince the rest of the world.:)
Anyway, lemon pie cupcakes were on the rotation last week. I normally prefer some kind of chocolate or vanilla cupcake, but there are a lot of people who enjoy lemon so I want to be able to offer that kind at my bakery. I absolutely loved these cupcakes. I now cannot say I don’t like lemon cupcakes. In fact, this batch may be responsible for at least a third of the 10 extra pounds I am lugging around right now. The thing that made them so delicious was filling them with a lemon curd that tasted like a tart lemon pudding, and topping the cupcakes with creamy sweet buttercream. The combination of creamy and tangy was just wonderful. It really did remind me of eating a piece of lemon pie with whipped cream only better because I don’t like lemon pie. So if you like lemon at all, please make these cupcakes sometime. You will be so glad you did. But if you don’t want to gain those dreaded pounds, make sure you invite a few people over to help you eat them. Because it is hard to stop at one, or two, or….well, just make these and you will understand!
(See why I had such a hard time resisting these?)
Lemon Pie Cupcakes
3 c all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 c sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- Finely grated zest of 3 lemons (about 3 Tbsp.), plus 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 c buttermilk
- Lemon Curd (Trader Joe’s is best because of its tartness or see recipe below)
- Lightly Lemon Buttercream Frosting (see recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- Beat in zest and vanilla.
- Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and lemon juice, and beating until just combined after each.
- Divide batter evenly among lined cups. I used a 3 Tbsp. scoop, and they came out great.
- Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, approximately 18-20 minutes. Don’t overbake.
- Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.
- When cupcakes are cool, using a sharp knife, cut a little hole out of the center of each cupcake about 1 inch in diameter, and 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep. Make sure you don’t cut all the way to the bottom of the cupcake. Discard or save for another use.
- Fill each hole with lemon curd. Putting the curd in a baggy or piping bag makes it go faster, but a spoon works just fine.
- Frost cupcakes with Lightly Lemon Buttercream Frosting recipe below. I used a large star tip.
- Decorate with sprinkles if desired.
- Refrigerate cupcakes until needed. Make sure you leave them out of the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving so they will be soft.
- Makes about 24 cupcakes.
Recipe for cupcakes from Martha Stewart
1/2 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 c sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- pinch of salt
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted, cold butter, cubed
- Place a mesh strainer over a bowl and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks, eggs, and salt.
- Add the butter cubes and set the pan over medium low heat, whisking constantly until butter is melted.
- Increase the heat to medium, and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and just begins to become jelly like, approximately 5 minutes. It’s done when you lift the whisk and the mixture holds its shape when it falls back into the saucepan from the whisk.
- Immediately press the curd through the strainer.
- Store the lemon curd in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to one week. Makes about 1 cup. This is a very mild, not tart, lemon curd.
Recipe for Lemon Curd from David Lebovitz
Lightly Lemon Buttercream
1 c unsalted butter, softened
- 4 c powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
- sprinkles, optional
- Beat butter for 3-5 minutes until pale in color.
- Add powdered sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice (about 2 Tbsp from fresh lemon), and cream. Beat for 3-5 minutes on medium low-speed until fluffy.
- If desired, use a pastry bag with large star tip to pipe frosting onto cupcake or just frost with a knife. If Add sprinkles right away if desired.
- Store cupcakes in refrigerator, and remove 1 hour before serving to soften frosting.
Frosting recipe from Shugary Sweets
Pingback: Lemon Pie Cupcakes and Lessons Learned | homethoughtsfromabroad626
Martha, thanks so much for reposting my post about lemon cupcakes. It is much appreciated. It is so interesting seeing the old photos on your blog. You must really enjoy going through them. I bet your family is glad you are doing that.
Congratulations, Shari! Wishing you all the best in your new business venture. That cupcake looks so scrumptious. Thanks for the recipe! xoxo, Angie.
Thank you for your well wishes, Angie! It is really interesting, and I am learning a lot. I hope you enjoy the recipe. I appreciate you stopping by!
This looks very delicious! I am so excited to know that you will be starting your online bakery soon. It is nice to see a passionate baker try her luck into the business world. How exciting it is also that you do not have to spend so much money in a store. It is so inspiring. I think the timing for your business is just perfect because people will hopefully buy lot of desserts this Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Thank you very much, Shobee! I hope you are right about Thanksgiving and Christmas. It seems like people would order more at those times. I appreciate your comment. It is very encouraging!
Wow, Shari, I had no idea you were going to take the plunge! I hope you do really well and when you’re rich and famous you will remember us peons! 🙂
Thank you very much, Teresa! I have just been taking one step at a time, and this is where it has led me. I have no idea if I will be able to make it a success, but am trusting God to guide me and use it in the way He chooses. I really do appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment.
I am SO excited for your new venture Shari! I want to do the same thing some day here in SC when I retire from academia (many years away, I fear) and hope to learn more about your journey — although I certainly could never market any baked goods from my lack of talent in that arena! These lemon cupcakes look and sound divine! Please keep me informed about your success stories (I do teach marketing by the way), I’m always interested in women’s small businesses! SO IMPRESSED!!!!!!!!!!!
Roz, thanks so much for your encouragement! That is so neat that you want to do the same thing some day. I have no doubt you will be a success with all of your wonderful recipes! I don’t know if I just missed it on your blog, but I didn’t realize you were a marketing professor. I have a soft spot in my heart for the field of marketing as a good friend of ours teaches marketing at Bowling Green University. I also have encouraged my daughter to take classes in marketing as I think she would be good at it. I am learning so much each day as I take the next step and try to go forward in this business. Whether I am able to continue or not, I am grateful for the experiences and the people I am meeting along the way. I really appreciate your comments and encouragement.
I encourage your daughter as well, to at least take a few marketing courses . . . because truthfully, we all are involved in marketing, even when we have to ‘sell’ our selves in a job interview or when presenting an idea/thought/position to someone. It’s a fascinating field (with a few warts and blemishes), and one that is necessary for a healthy economy. I will look forward to future posts about your new venture. (BTW, I’m at the University of South Carolina (the Upstate campus) and have been teaching since ’99.)
Thank you for the encouragement for my daughter, Roz. I agree with you about all of us being involved in marketing. Just with my cupcake business and the blog, I think about how much it is about either promoting your recipes or the product I am trying to sell, and it is in so many other aspects of life as well. I had never thought about it relating to a healthy economy, but I see what you mean. I am glad to know you are at the University of South Carolina. Thank you for sharing that with me. I think your students are very fortunate to have you for a teacher! I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.
It sounds like you have been busy – finding a kitchen, baking, creating new & wonderful treats… All this in addition to your regular life, right? 😉
Congrats on finding a commercial kitchen! I loved your descriptions. You made it sound like a lot of fun.
Also, the cupcakes look DEE-VINE. I’m salivating over these photos.
Thank you so much, Ruth! Yes, it has been very busy. It has been hard keeping up with blogging and reading other blogs, but I love the blogging community so much. I want to do both, and am determined to find the time somehow. Working at the commercial kitchen has been fun, and interesting, and stressful, and wonderful all at the same time. I am very grateful for the opportunity. Thanks for liking the cupcakes and stopping by. It is much appreciated.
These are gorgeous! Definitely going to my to-bake list 🙂 Just one piece of advice (because I know you’ll soon be taking lots of orders!): baking at large scale in a commercial kitchen is easier when you weigh your ingredients, and more accurate too, ensuring that all batches will taste exactly the same every time 😉
Thank you so much, Erika! I really appreciate your advice. I will have to get a scale and try that out. Anything that would provide as much consistency as possible would be good. I’m finding out just how many variables there are when baking. I love learning, though. I appreciate you taking time to comment.