Sunday, December 9, 2012

Lemon Pistachio Cupcakes

8 Decemeber 2012 - cell group BBQ day. Checked my email after I got back from a short holiday in Hong Kong with my family on late 5 December. I'm assigned to get satay. That's an easy task; no need for me to marinate any items and I ordered the satay from City Satay. Job done. Then I started thinking what I should bake. I wanted something lighter and refreshing. No chocolates. Actually thought of a Christmas log cake, but that would be a little too heavy considering the amount of food we are going to have. After flipping through a cupcake magazine I bought recently, I settled on Lemon Pistachio Cupcakes.

I've not baked anything with lemon flavour yet and I think it's gonna be a good choice. Lemon is refreshing. I've lots of pistachios in the fridge. Better use them before they expire. The cupcake is adorned with lemon flavoured swiss meringue buttercream and chopped pistachios to give it a little crunch. After browsing through recipes for vanilla and lemon cupcakes in the various books that I have and the web, I came up with my very own recipe and I love it. The plain yoghurt that I added gave it the moistness that I wanted and the lemon juice and lemon zest just lifted up the flavour of the cupcake. Finally, the lemon swiss meringue buttercream not only beautify the cupcakes, but also added a little indulgence to a simple-flavoured cupcake.
Lemon Pistachio Cupcakes

(A) Cupcake
80g cake flour
40g plain flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ + 1/8 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
90g granulated sugar
102g unsalted butter, room temperature
60g plain yoghurt
1 large egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped pistachios
1 tsp lemon zest

(B) Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
3 egg whites
105g granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
270g unsalted butter
3-4 tbsp lemon juice
Some chopped pistachios for sprinkling into the buttercream

Preheat oven at 180°C.
Line a 12-hole muffin pan with cupcake liners.

(A) Cupcakes

1.      Gently whisk the egg, vanilla extract, lemon juice and 1 tbsp of the plain yoghurt.

2.      Sift the cake flour, plain flour, baking powder and baking soda into an electric stand mixer bowl. Add in the salt and sugar.

3.      With the mixer on low speed and using the K-beater, mix the above mixture for about 20 seconds.

4.      Add in the unsalted butter and remaining plain yoghurt. With the mixer on low speed, beat the mixture until the flour mixture is moistened by the butter mixture. Increase speed to medium and beat for 1.5 minutes. Scrape the mixture down to the centre of the bowl.

5.      With the mixer on low speed, add in half of the egg mixture. Increase speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other half of egg mixture.

6.      Fold in the lemon zest and chopped pistachios.

7.      Spoon the mixture into the cupcake liners to about ¾ full.

8.      Bake for about 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cupcake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the muffin pan for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

(B) Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1.      Combine egg white, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved.

2.      Attach the bowl to a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff peak forms. Continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and glossy and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl).

3.      With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in the lemon juice.

4.      Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all bubbles are eliminated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth.

5.      Use immediately or transfer it into an air-tight bowl and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
**Note** This recipe is enough for about 16 cupcakes. You can store the balance in the refrigerator or freezer if not going to use it within the next 3 days.

Decorating the cupcakes
You can use a large star tip nozzle or just a simple round tip nozzle to pipe onto the cupcakes. If you do not have a nozzle, you can simply spread the buttercream using a spatula. Sprinkle with the chopped pistachios.

Makes about 8 cupcakes

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