Saturday, 12 April 2014

Guest Post: Amy's Limoncello Cupcakes

Our guest poster of the week is Amy, a now regular at our cakeups! She always brings much colour to, as proved by these colourful Limoncello cupcakes which she brought along to our last cakeup. A baker extraordinaire - we asked her to tell us about her experience of Cake Club and of course to share with all of you lovely readers - the recipe for her cocktailish delights which were enjoyed by all!

A huge thank you to the divine ladies of the Canberra Cake Club for inviting me to guest post and share this recipe!

I have always loved to bake, and some of my very happiest memories are connected to being in the kitchen. I spent a lot of my childhood with my great-grandmother, and it was she who instilled my love of cooking. Many afternoons were spent in her company, wrapped in an oversized apron, baking scones, icing patty cakes, and learning the secrets of her famous banana cake.

Nan had a seemingly endless stream of visitors dropping in to her flat for a cup of tea and chat, and they never went hungry! From her I learned the generosity and joy of feeding your friends and family something homemade and delicious. It’s a tradition I continue with my friends now.

I first learned about the Canberra Cake club through the blog posts of committee members Rachi and Giulia. After seeing the pictures of the January cakeup and reading the premise of cake club I knew this was the club for me!

I couldn’t think of a better opportunity to meet some of my favorite Canberra food bloggers, make some new friends and talk all things baking, cake, and food with other passionate Canberrans.

I gleefully attended the February Cakeup hosted by the delightful ladies of the Essential Ingredient. What a veritable feast of cake! The table was laden with amazing creations and the room was buzzing with chatter about all the “Secret Ingredients”. I spent most of the afternoon in a glorious sugar haze, munching my way through cake and chatting with the other lovely cakeup participants. I was hooked.

What I love about the Cake Club is that it is so friendly, positive and there is no judgment of your creation; everybody is just there because they love cake! The bakers I’ve met at cakeups include novices who confess that they don’t bake much and had to borrow the equipment to bake their creation, to professional bakers who make a livelihood from their baking.

The cakes have been old family recipes, amazing multi-layered creations, rustic cupcakes, MKR contestants impossi-balls masterpieces and even cakes shaped like the Cake Club logo! And every one of them has tasted amazing! Cake Club is fantastic for the people it brings together; it’s so lovely when someone tells you they really enjoyed your cake, or you swap a recipe or get to pick the brains of a really talented baker.

The March Cakeup was another chance to eat some truly delicious cake and chat with some lovely people. Set in the beautiful Mint Garden Bar on a gorgeous warm Autumn day, vintage cake stands and vases full of flowers were a heavenly backdrop for the awesome “cocktail” creations.

For the March cocktail theme I had decided on something simple and citrus; Limoncello Cupcakes. I’m not ashamed to say I adore these cupcakes! They are dense, yet fluffy and moist at the same time and the lemon has a lovely tang without being overpowering. There were none left at the end of the Cakeup so I guess that’s a good sign!

I did have a small frosting disaster the morning of the Cakeup (Note, it’s never a good idea to try an experimental frosting recipe the day of the cakeup without a back-up plan!) so the frosting on my cupcakes, while delicious, was quite thin and wasn’t capable of holding its shape for piping.  If you follow the recipe below though (which I didn’t) you will get a lovely thick cream cheese frosting that you can pipe easily.

Limoncello Cupcakes 
(From Bake it with Booze:  
Oven temp: 350
Yield: About 18.
For the cupcakes:
•        2 eggs 
•        115grms  softened butter
•        1 cup yogurt (I used full fat Greek style.)
•        1 cup caster sugar
•        1/4 cup lemon juice
•        1/4 cup limoncello
•        1 tbsp vanilla extract
•        zest from 1.5 lemons
•        1 tsp baking powder
•        1/4 tsp salt
•        1.5 cups flour
•        1 tsp baking soda 
•        1/2 tsp cream of tartar

For the frosting:
**Note: this will make enough frosting for around 24 cupcakes, so there will be some leftover ( I may or may not eat this with a spoon....)
•        250grms  cream cheese
•        100grms  butter
•        zest from the remaining  ½  lemon
•        1 Tbsp limoncello
•        1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
•        3 cups icing sugar


1. Mix the softened butter on med-high until fluffy, then mix in the yogurt and sugar until light and creamy. Mix in the two eggs.

2. Now, add the vanilla, lemon juice, limoncello, and lemon zest. Mix on med speed. (Don’t panic if your beautiful creamy mixture turns into a curdled mess at this stage, its normal)

3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. It's a good idea to stop and scrape the sides of the bowl every now and then so you don't end up with pockets of baking soda.

4. You'll end up with a very thick, but fluffy, batter. Prepare your muffin tin with cupcake liners, and spoon in the batter. I filled mine pretty full, and ended up with enough mixture for around 18 cupcakes.
Bake at  170 degrees for 18-20 minutes, depending on your oven.

For the frosting:

1. The butter and cream cheese should both be at room temperature. Beat them both together until you have a fluffy and homogeneous mixture, with no visible lumps of butter.

2.  Add the vanilla bean paste, limoncello, and lemon zest. Beat again until fully incorporated. Then, with the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sifted icing sugar. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then mix on med-high for about 30 seconds.

Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, cover generously with your frosting.

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