I have been in a baking groove lately and that’s a good thing. House smells warm and cozy. Plates are piled high with beauty.
I just made 4 loaves of bread for a brunch at my school -2 Banana Breads and 2 Honey Pecan Loaves. I also made a throw-back Pineapple Upside Down Cake and a Berries and Cream Cheesecake for a dessert party. When my parents were over last month I made a Double Chocolate Adonis Cake and these gorgeous Triple Lemon Cupcakes.
The big reveal about all this baking?? It was ALL vegan – not an egg or stick of butter in sight. Good for my heart. Good for the planet. And especially good for the critters. (Also good for my neighbors and friends who shared in all the baked goodness.)
These Triple Lemon Cupcakes were featured on the cover of a recent FoodNetwork Magazine and I made some simple changes – for the better, I contend. There are quite a few steps and you need lots of lemons! So read the recipe through a few times before you decide how many lemons you need and what order you want to tackle this recipe. My suggestion is to make the candied lemon peel first. This recipe makes way more than you need for 1 dozen cupcakes, so be prepared to make more cupcakes or use the candied lemon peel in another dessert. (Lemon Cheesecake, anyone? Click here.) The candied lemon zest keeps well stored in sugar in an air tight container.
(Ener-G Egg Replacer is a combo of potato starch and tapioca flour and can be found in health food stores or in Asian markets. It gives plenty of body to baked goods and actually produces a better flavor – much less rich and bulky than eggs – plus NO cholesterol. Try it! I am SO GLAD I switched over and got eggs out of my baked goods.)
Here’s what you need:
For the cupcake:
1 ¼ C all-purpose flour
¼ C sliced almonds
¾ t baking powder
¼ t baking soda
¼ t salt
2 Ener-G Egg Replacer ‘eggs’ (3 t Ener-G powder and 4 T warm water. Whisk well and set aside to thicken)
¾ C sugar
½ C nondairy milk (I used almond)
1 ½ t lemon juice
½ C vegetable oil
1 T finely grated lemon zest
2 T fresh lemon juice
For the frosting:
2-3 C powdered sugar
¼ C Earth Balance non-dairy butter, room temperature
¼ C fresh lemon juice
Zest from one lemon
Tiny, tiny bit of yellow food coloring (1/2 drop or less! Use a toothpick to add it)
For the candied lemon peel:
¾ C sugar
¾ C water
Here’s what you do:
Make the candied zest: remove the lemon peel carefully, avoiding the white pithy part with a vegetable peeler. Slice into very thin strands. Place in small sauce pan, cover with water, bring to a simmer, drain. Repeat this process two more times. You will be amazed at how much bitterness washes away from the zest.
Bring the sugar and water to a simmer in another pan and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the lemon zest and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes – watching carefully. Drain the zest and arrange in clumps on parchment paper. Allow to dry and pull the strands apart. Store zest buried in white sugar.
Make the cupcakes: Place the flour and almonds in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely chopped. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pulse to combine.
Add the 1 ½ t lemon juice to the almond milk to create sour milk (a great buttermilk swap). Allow to sit for a few minutes. Pour the prepared Ener-G eggs into a large bowl. Add the sugar, the sour milk, the oil, the zest and the lemon juice. Mix well.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently mix until just incorporated. Fill prepared cupcake tins about ¾ full. I think you should spray the paper cups to insure that the cupcake comes out nicely. Bake 350 for about 16-18 minutes – checking at the 12 minute mark. They are done when a toothpick inserted into the puffiest part of the cupcake comes out cleanly. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting: Place the soft butter in a large bowl (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer for this). Mix the butter until fluffy – about a minute. Slowly add 1 C powdered sugar, incorporating well and scraping down the sides. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, food coloring (just a tiny, tiny bit! You don’t want your frosting to look like egg yolks!) Slowly add the remaining sugar until you have a perfect spreading consistency.