Summer desserts are never easy for me. Summer in general, in fact, can be quite trying, especially towards the end when it’s a million degrees and I just really, really, want to wear boots (like, really).
However, I’ve been stocking up on baking supplies lately and really all things cute, and figured it had been long enough since I baked…anything. Especially cupcakes!
Do you guys like rosewater/are you aware of how insanely delicious it is? If you’re not, go try some. It’s kind of a love hate thing though, like avocados or cilantro, where you’re either lifted to a land of floral-berry-sandy goodness or you’re left wondering why everything tastes like perfume. I’m obviously of the former, so on with it. (sidenote: avocados AND cilantro are delicious. ya’ll crazy!).
little lemon zesty with pinky icing!
totally ready for baking
So let’s be clear here. This recipes actually makes two kinds of cupcakes: rose water, and lemon zest. The base recipes is out of the book below, which is really too small to be called a book but whatever. The whole thing is more craft ideas than anything. I usually use a standard sponge or pound cake recipe for vanilla cupcakes but figured I’d give it a shot, and it turned out fantastic! buttery but light tasting. I halved this recipe to make just short of 24 mini cupcakes. (I also tweeked certain things in this recipe enough to maybe in future claim it as my own)
1 electric mixer (or one really strong arm)
1 large mixing bowl, for dry ingredients
1 medium mixing bowl, for wet ingredients
2 smaller bowls, for each flavour
1 medium bowl, for mixing icing
2 smaller bowls, for colouring finished icing
1 wooden spoon
2 small ziplock bags
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (important!)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
about 5 tblsp milk (whole, 2%, skim, whatever you’ve got is fine)
1 tblsp rose water (found at any greek or arabic grocery)
1 tblsp lemon zest
2 drops food colouring (the choice is yours, colour wise)
3/4 a cup unsalted butter, room temperature (seriously, you guys)
3 tblsp cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups icing sugar
I didn’t have a mini cupcake pan so I winged it and tried to keep the liners as closely packed as possible to avoid weird shapes. This worked for approximately half of them, the rest were pretty deformed. If you’re making these for something important or giving them away as a gift, I wouldn’t recommend it…
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set up your cupcake liners in a mini cupcake tin (see above).
2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into your medium bowl and set aside. In the large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixture on medium for a few minutes until smooth.
3. Scrape the sides and add egg and vanilla and beat for another 2-5 minutes, depending on how good your mixer is. Personally, mine is from the late 80’s so it usually needs an extra push.
4. Lower your speed and add your flour mixture until fully incorporated. Try not to over mix.
5. Seperate your mixture into 2 small bowls. To one bowl, add the tblsp of rose water and blend well. To the other bowl, add your lemon zest.
6. Colour coding is a good way to separate your two flavours. Just sayin’!
7. Fill paper liners using two dessert spoons. One for scooping, one for scraping. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from cupcake tin. Let cool completely before icing. This could take hours but they’ll be a runny mess if they’re not handled with care.
little finished cakes firming up in the fridge
1. Blend your first three ingredients with your electric mixer on medium for a few minutes.
2. Add the icing sugar a half cup at a time to avoid lumps and blend until smooth and glossy.
3. Seperate your icing into 2 small bowls. In each of these add your food colouring. Note: food colouring is very strong, so if you want more of a pastel look, like I was aiming for, all you need is ONE DROP. Or even half a drop in some cases.
4. This bit is slightly difficult. Fill one corner of each ziplock bag with icing until full. Squeeze the icing to the corner of the bag twisting the opposite end closed. Make two small, half centimeter cuts into the corner of the bag in a cross action to replicate it’s shape "X". When squeezing onto the cupcakes, push the end of the bag through your first and your middle finger and hold the bag like you’re squeezing a water balloon. (When I worked at Casa Loma the head chef would always say a proper piping grip was like squeezing a boob. It’s still the most accurate description I’ve ever heard). Use your other hand to steady the bag, if necessary.
Ice your little cakes and serve!