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