I am starting to see a few signs of spring here in Northern Arizona. As bits of green start peeking through and nature starts to wake up I start to crave bright fresh foods. I start to crave lemon! Lemon just seems to add a bit of cheer to everything.
I bake several lemon delights. Lemon squares, blueberry lemonade cupcakes, lemon pound cake, and lemon bread. But sometimes I just want a simple lemon cupcake. Nothing fancy. Just delicious lemon goodness. I baked these gluten free, vegan lemon cupcakes on Friday and today there are still so fresh and delicious. I keep eyeing them this morning thinking they might be perfect for breakfast with a nice cup of tea!
Fresh lemon work best for a bright strong flavor. When Lemons go on sale grab a bunch and make your own lemon juice! Just juice up a bunch of lemons and pour the juice into ice cube trays and freeze. When they are frozen you can just pop them out and store them in a plastic bag in the freezer. So easy! You will have wonderful lemon juice anytime you need it.
Lemon Cupcakes: Gluten Free, Vegan
- 1 and 3/4 Cup Kat’s GF Cake mix
- 1 Teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 Teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/4 Teaspoon salt
- 1/2 Cup soy milk or milk of choice
- 1/2 Cup lemon juice
- 1 Cup sugar
- 1/3 Cup non-gmo organic canola oil, or melted coconut oil
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla
- Zest of one lemon
- 1/2 Cup Earth Balance Vegan Butter
- 1/2 Cup organic non-hydrogenated shortening
- 4 Cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 Teaspoon lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners. Sift together flour blend, baking powder and soda, xanthan gum and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a two cup glass measuring cup mix together milk and lemon juice. Let stand for a minute to curdle into “buttermilk”. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the sugar, oil and vanilla.
With mixer on low mix the wet ingredients well then slowly add the flour mixture 1/4 cup at a time. Beat on medium for 1 minute or until all ingredients are will incorporated. Pour into prepared pan filling the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full. I use a scoop to do this. It is cleaner and easier!
Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the cupcake springs back when lightly touched. Place on cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting put the butter and shortening into the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium high for about at minute until smooth. Add the powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time. As it gets thick add lemon juice and zest. Add just enough juice that the frosting is soft but holds its shape. Put frosting into piping bag fitted with a large tip and pipe into big swirls. If you do not have a piping bag you can use a plastic bag with a corner cut off. This is enough frosting to pile in high swirls on your cupcakes. If you just want to spread a little on the top only make half of the frosting.
This recipe makes about 14 cupcakes. They store nicely for several days in a plastic or glass container.
Tip: The amount of lemon juice in the recipe makes a strong lemon flavor. For a lighter more delicate lemon flavor you can use 1/4 Cup lemon juice and 3/4 Cup milk.
Tip: When making your own lemon juice to store in the freezer add 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest in each cube before freezing.This way you have the juice and the zest you need for most recipes!