These just might be the sunniest cupcakes ever. Lemon cake holds the sweet surprise of lemon curd filling, and it’s all topped with a cute grassy knoll of lemon buttercream. A piped buttercream daisy makes the display even more cheery. They’re easy to make — you’ll just need a couple of inexpensive decorator piping tips and some disposable piping bags to get started. These items can easily be found at craft stores and cake decorating supply shops.
Ready-made lemon curd is used in this recipe and is a great shortcut. Use the best quality you can find.
You Will Need:
Wilton piping tip #103 (for petals)
Wilton piping tip #233 (for grass)
3 disposable piping bags (cloth bags may be used if you have them)
Yield 18 cupcakes
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tsp lemon extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon curd
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners. Note: Presentation counts! I used white picket fence cupcake wrappers for these, but you could also use red-checked paper liners for a picnic theme.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup sour cream. Mix well, and add the lemon extract. Add flour and sour cream mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Batter will be thick.
Fill cupcake papers with 1/4 cup level measures of batter. Bake for 17-22 minutes. Let cupcakes cool completely before filling with lemon curd.
Cut a divot into the top of each cupcake with a serrated knife and fill with lemon curd.
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp lemon extract
2-3 Tbsp milk or cream
Yellow food coloring
Green food coloring
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream softened butter and powdered sugar together. Add lemon extract.
Add milk or cream 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture comes to piping consistency. Cover bowl of frosting with a damp tea towel so it doesn’t dry out.
Drop the petal piping tip into a disposable piping bag and press it firmly into the pointed end of the bag. Lightly score the plastic bag around the piping tip using a pair of scissors.
Pull the pointed end of the bag away and off of the piping tip.
Remove 1/3 cup icing from the covered bowl and transfer it to the piping bag fitted with the petal tip. Tint the remaining frosting with the yellow food coloring. Transfer 1/4 cup of the yellow frosting to a disposable piping bag and snip a small opening at the end. No piping tip is required for this bag.
Add green food coloring to the remaining yellow icing a little at a time until a grassy green color is achieved. Transfer the green icing to a disposable piping bag fitted with the grass piping tip.
Draw eighteen 1 1/2-2-inch circles onto a sheet of parchment paper. I used a large decorator piping tip for this, but you could use a bottle cap or small round fondant cutter. Flip the parchment paper over onto a cookie sheet to avoid piping over the pencil lead.
Begin piping petals with the white icing. Place the petal tip about 1/4-inch above one of the drawn circles. The larger opening on the piping tip should be facing away from you.
Pipe a line moving towards the center of the circle, gently decreasing pressure as you move to the center. This is the first petal.
Pipe consecutive petals radiating around the circle until it is completely filled.
Use the bag of yellow icing to pipe the center of the daisy. Repeat process with remaining drawn circles.
Transfer cookie sheet to the freezer and allow buttercream daisies to harden, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, pipe mounds of “grass” onto the lemon curd-filled cupcakes. Place piping bag 1/4-inch above cupcake and apply pressure, letting the frosting pile onto the cupcake; pull the bag straight up to achieve a “standing grass” appearance. Repeat this process over the entire cupcake surface, and repeat with remaining cupcakes.
When icing flowers are frozen, use an off-set spatula to lift them from the parchment and onto the cupcake.
Serve cupcakes at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers.
All photographs by Heather Baird.