It took me a weekend stuck in bed with a fever to get me to write this post. it’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that starting the new year with a new slate and new plans for the blog made me a bit hesitant. I’m not one to make resolutions, since I’m not the kind of people who do well with things that need commitment, I save myself the disappointment of having a list of goals that remain unchecked.
Before you go ahead and think that I’m being too grim and skeptic, I have decided that, knowing how my working days are long and exhausting, instead of putting out bunch of resolutions that some I might keep, some I’m going to ignore, and some I’ll probably refuse to even look at, I’m going to start my year with two main goals, going back to basics, and taking on the recipes I’ve always hesitated to make (or sometimes tried and failed).
I will make those perfect little baguettes. And those macaroons, well let’s just say I have 500 grams of almond flour ready to be used in my experiments. It’s almost a “face your fears” kind of challenge (which basically includes french pastries).
As for “going back to basics”, when I first started baking, I had one thing in mind; Cupcakes. It was what I wanted to do. Then I started experimenting with everything else, wanting to try this recipe and that, till I kind of drifted away from them. I forgot how happy a simple cupcake can make me. A small perfectly frosted cupcake has the ability to put a smile on anyone’s face.
Apart from baking, one of my (not well kept) secrets is that I’m a compulsive book shopper. I have managed to build stacks of unread books on my nightstand. With every book shopping spree, I promise myself that there will be no more before I finish the ones I have, but there’s always something that catches my attention. So in order to work this out, I’m taking the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge. I’ve already crossed two books off it so far. (If you’re interested in checking out the books I’m reading, feel free to check out my progress on Good Reads! Username: Roua_w)
And, above all, find the inspiration and motivation to keep on baking.
So I’m going to start that resolution off with a favorite of mine, Lemon Cupcakes, but with two variations. I made half the batch with blueberries, and the other half with poppy seeds. Both topped with a perfect lemon frosting. The recipe was adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, which you’ll be hearing about a lot from me since it kind of turned into my holy grail.
Lemon Cupcakes (with blueberries and poppy seed):
Yields: 12 cupcakes (or 9 slightly large ones)
For the cupcakes:
- 120 grams plain flour
- 150 grams white sugar
- 1-1/2 baking powder
- 2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
- 40 grams unsalted butter, softened
- 120 ml whole milk
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup poppy seeds
- blueberries (enough to have 5 blueberries in each cupcake)
- Preheat the oven to 170C
- Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and butter in a bowl, and beat on low speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
- Gradually add your milk and beat until just incorporated.
- Add the egg to the mixture and continue beating, scraping the sides as necessary. Mix for a few minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.
- Spoon half the mixture into the prepared cases, filling two-thirds of them, and adding blueberries on top. For the remaining mixture, mix in the poppy seeds and then fill the rest of the cases. Bake for 18-23 minutes. (check on them on the 18th minute, if the sponge bounces back when it’s touched then they’re done).
- Leave the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
For the Frosting:
- 220 grams icing sugar, sifted
- 70 grams unsalted butter, softened
- 2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
- 25 ml whole milk.
- Cream butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add sifted sugar a bit at a time to avoid clouds of sugar around you. Add lemon zest and beat till the mixture comes together and is well combined.
- Turn the mixer down to a lower speed and slowly pour in the milk. Continue beating till mixture is light and fluffy (this will take at least 5 minutes). The longer the frosting is beaten, the lighter it will get.
When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the lemon frosting on top. Decorate with lemon zest if desired.
Bon Appetit 🙂