A Southern Grace: turning lemonade into lemons since 1983

December 28, 2012

turning lemonade into lemons since 1983


I don't know if any of you watch New Girl, but I catch it as often as I can, and for primarily one reason: Nick Miller, played by the laugh riot known as Jake Johnson. The character is hilariously pessimistic, curmudgeonly, and cynical, and when given the chance to ad lib, Jake consistently delivers laugh after chortle after guffaw.

He (or the writers)(or some combination of those) is responsible for my title, and I have every intention of citing it often in my life.

There is a connection here, and it's lemons! While raspberry lemonade may be a summer beverage, raspberry lemonade cupcakes are appropriate any time of year. I made lemon cupcakes and filled them with lemon curd. The raspberry (and, if you ask me, best) portion comes in the swiss meringue buttercream frosting. It's slick and delicately-hued and absolutely delicious.

There really is a nice balance between the tart curd and the sweet frosting. I like the play of textures, too--thick, creamy filling seems to go nicely with a fluffy cake and a light-as-air topping. Don't take my word for it, though--bring the flavors of summer into your house to bid farewell to 2012!

Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 3 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
Lemon Curd:
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, cold
  • 1 teaspoon freshly-grated lemon zest
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves

First, make the lemon curd:
In a heavy saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, cream, and butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, 5 to 7 minutes, or until mixture just reaches a boil. Strain the curd into a bowl and stir in the zest. Cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap and chill at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.

To make the cupcakes, first preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tin with paper liners. Whisk together flour and salt. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl every few minutes. Add citrus zests. Reduce speed to medium, and add vanilla. Add eggs, three at a time, beating until until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in four batches, beating until completely incorporated after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full; tap pans on countertop once to distribute batter. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of a standing electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, mix until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula and switch to the paddle attachment; continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Add preserves and beat until combined. Stir with a flexible spatula until the frosting is smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

To assemble the cupcakes, carve out a cone-shaped bit from the top of each cupcake. Squirt or spoon in some of your lemon curd. Top the curd-loaded cupcakes with the frosting and eat!


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Oh, wonderful! Those cupcakes must taste delicious.

Best wishes for the New Year!



Alicia Foodycat said...

Your cupcake flavours are always so inventive! These look just my sort of thing.

Dana said...

The raspberry lemonade frosting has been printed out to make once I get back home. I was at a wedding in September that had lemonade cupcakes and the frosting was phenomenal, I just wasn't sure how to tackle it when I tried to recreate them. This is going to be so good!

Unknown said...


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Man and Van Woking

Elizabeth said...

Raspberry lemonade sounds soo delicious right now, as do these cupcakes! They're really beautiful!

Ally said...

I love NIck too, he's hilarious with his old man crotchetiness!

The cupcakes sound delish. If you were closer to California, I'd send over a box of Meyer lemons. My trees are going bezerk!!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Hehe I loved the title! Why make lemonade when you can have lemons? Or cupcakes? :P

Carolyn Jung said...

This has me feeling like it's summer even if it's cold and rainy here. A lemonade cupcake is the perfect bite of sunshine.

Shirley said...

New Girl is hilarious and gives me laughing fits every time. The lemonade cupcakes look delicious!

Joanne said...

I LOVE the New Girl!! And Nick. Sigh. Makes my day every time I find a new episode on Hulu.

I have five million Meyer lemons on my kitchen table that are begging to be turned into cupcakes!

Hungry Dog said...

I've never watched TNG as Zooey Deschanel bugs me. But, that does not affect my feelings on these cupcakes! These sound fantastic. I made some pink lemonade bars this summer (a la Smitten Kitchen) and these are a riff on the same idea. Happy new year!

Erica said...

What a wonderful cake recipe!The frosting sounds delicious,Grace!I love citrus desserts!!!Happy New Year!!

Magic of Spice said...

I agree...appropriate anytime :) They look wonderful!
Happy New Year!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

This is definitely a sweet way to end the year! And I like it even more because of the pretty pink frosting. Happy New Year!

Abby said...

Looks delicious! Just stopping by to say Happy New Year! I still read every post!

Gloria Baker said...

ABsolutely delicious Grace!! Happy New year!!!

Savor The Baking said...

I'm always making homemade lemonade so I am sure that I will like these raspberry lemonade cupcakes. Happy 2013!!!

Angie's Recipes said...

As always, your cupcakes are wonderful.
Happy New Year!

Katerina said...

Lemonade cupcakes sound like fun and tasty! I love the citrus flavors! Happy 2013!

waka network said...

The kids will love this cute and delicious cupcakes. Another treats for their sweet tooth.