I’m not always a chocolate-and-cream kinda girl. Sure, chocolate comforts and soothes my soul, but sometimes, I like a little zing in my sweet treats. There’s something about citrusy bites that puts a spring in my step, that makes me feel like spring/summer is around the corner. Perhaps it’s the bright yellows and greens or that burst of orange, but yes, occasionally, I like to dish out sunny cheerful bakes in my kitchen. Besides, M loves tangy treats more than sweet ones, and we were calling out desperately for winter to ‘go-away-already!’ as January slipped by. Those were good enough reasons for me to bring a little zing into our home.
I happened to have some lemons, limes and ginger lying around the pantry, and if you don’t know already, nothing pleases me more than to put something together with what I already have at home. I’ve said before that ‘waste not’ is something I’d like to practise in my kitchen, and it makes me happy that indeed, nothing goes to waste when I manage to conjure something out of ingredients that might have otherwise landed in the bin. Since I always have butter, flour, sugar, eggs and milk in my kitchen, it seemed pretty obvious that I should make some lemon cupcakes with lime and ginger whipped cream.
The lemon and lime combination was a no-brainer. Trying to get the ginger into the party was a little tricky. I wasn’t sure if it would worked, but in my head, a subtle heat that comes through after all that tanginess, seemed pretty damn fine. As I was expecting guests that evening, I didn’t want to overwhelm them with something too adventurous, and added only a teeny bit of ginger juice to the whipped cream topping. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when one of my guests said she doesn’t like ginger and was glad that she couldn’t taste it. You see, I really like ginger myself, and would have preferred a stronger flavour to come through. Oh well, I’m going to be heavy-handed with the ginger next time. Otherwise, the cupcakes were moist and citrusy, and gently perfumed with the smells of summer. The whipped cream lent a certain lightness to the cupcakes, and it made for a (deceptively) guilt-free treat!
Here’s the recipe:
Lemon Cupcakes with Lime & Ginger Whipped Cream
(adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)
For the lemon cupcakes:
120g plain flour
150g caster sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
40g unsalted butter, room temperature
100ml whole milk
20ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with muffin cases.
2. Beat flour, sugar, baking powder, zest and butter in a mixer at slow speed until combined.
3. Gradually add the milk and lemon juice and beat at the same time until just incorporated.
4. Add the egg to the batter and beat till mixture is smooth.
5. Spoon the batter into muffin cases until each is 2/3 full. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until skewer comes out clean after being inserted. Do not overbake as it can dry out. 6. Leave the cupcakes to cool sightly in the muffin pan before turning them out to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the lime & ginger whipped cream:
1 and 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest, plus extra for decorating
1/4 teaspoon juice squeezed from freshly grated ginger (you can increase this to 1/2 or even 1 teaspoon, adjust to taste)
200ml whipping cream
2 and 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar (adjust to taste)
A very, very tiny drop of liquid green food colouring (you want a very pale jade cream)
1. Whisk cream, ginger juice, zest, colouring and sugar till stiff peaks are formed.
2. Frost cupcakes and decorate with sprinkling of grated lime zest.