Oof, these were yummy. Each element of these – whether it’s the cupcake, the lemon curd or the icing – is just fantastic. Exactly what I needed to get me through yet another week of rain here in Switzerland. Oh my goodness the rain! I’ve never experienced anything like it. And I’m a fan of rain. I love the way it sounds pattering through leaves, or showering against the window panes. I love the smell of it, before it comes, after it’s left. I love how green everything is here because of it.
What I don’t love is being cooped up with a toddler who most definitely wants to go out to play, rain be damned. Rain seems to have a spurring effect on him, just looking at is causes him to go super hyperactive. And while Geneva is a really great place for kids, most of the places you can take them kind of assume you’re going to be outside. Because this weather is not normal at all. Apparently, it’s the worst summer since 1965. If you think this upsets me, you’d be wrong. Even though it’s rainy, it’s still HOT out there. I’ve never lived anywhere with humidity before, and it’s going to take some getting used to. So I’m thinking this is Switzerland’s way of easing me into the sweaty, dripping heat that I would normally come to enjoy over here.
Anyway, when stuck inside, it’s always fun to bake. X loves to help me out. Any time I add something to the bowl, he then has to add something to the bowl (even if it’s pretend). And we take turns stirring, unless it’s with an electric mixer, at which point he clings to my knees and howls, so, you know, that’s fun. He is very keen to help me eat them when we’re all done as well. It’s a great activity we can share in the afternoon, and ends with fantastic results.
I was especially pleased with how great the lemon curd turned out. One of my favourite Christmas treats growing up was lemon curd in tart shells. I didn’t realize back then that you could make your own curd, or that it would be so delicious! It was a near miss, though. I had been cooking the curd for a bit and thinking that it was really, really thick, when I realized I hadn’t added the sugar. Oops. That could have been disastrous. As soon as the sugar was added, it took on the appropriate texture, as well as taste. Thank goodness I caught that one.
I found this recipe on Adventures in Cooking – another blog with amazing photos that I am so jealous of. My icing is a little bit different, because she used freeze-dried blueberries, while I used fresh. The colour is a little lighter and the consistency was thinner, but the taste was unreal, so I’m going to suggest using fresh blueberries when they are in season. If not, though, by all means use freeze-dried and get that amazing purple look.
Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Filing and Blueberry Cream Cheese Icing
1 and 1/2 cups flour
1 and 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup lemon juice, plus 1 tbsp
3 tbsp grated lemon zest
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 and 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
½ cup blueberries
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tbsp poppy seeds (for decoration)
Place the cupcake liners in the cupcake pan and set it aside. I put this into 12 cupcake liners, but in truth it might have been better divided over 15 or even 18: the batter overflowed a bit for this one.
Preheat the oven to 180C, and mix together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Set it aside. In another small bowl, mix together the sour cream, milk, vanilla extract, and lemon juice, and set that bowl aside as well. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar, then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions. Add the grated lemon zest and then alternate between adding the flour mixture and the lemon juice mixture until they’re all completely combined. Stir in the poppy seeds. Evenly distribute the batter between the cupcake liners. Place the cupcake pan in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean.
While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the lemon curd. Whisk together the sugar, egg, egg yolk, butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest in the top of a double boiler until combined, (make sure the top of the double boiler isn’t actually touching the boiling water, it should hover just above it). Allow the lemon curd to cook for fifteen minutes, stirring every 3 minutes or so, until it thickens. Then remove it from the heat, scoop the lemon curd into a separate bowl, and set it aside to cool.
Once the cupcakes are finished, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool to room temperature. Put the blueberries in a blender until juiced. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the cream cheese and the butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and the blueberries and mix until a frosting forms.
Once the cupcakes and lemon curd have cooled, scoop 1 teaspoon out of the tops of each of the cupcakes and fill the holes with 1 teaspoon of the lemon curd.
Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle a pinch of poppy seeds over each cupcake.