Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How To-sday! Making Lemon Thyme Cupcakes

I decided to add some “HOW TO” to my blog, so I am calling this HOW TO-SDAY!
For the first How To-sday I am going to demonstrate Lemon Thyme Cupcakes!

The first plants I generally can harvest from in the spring are my thyme plants.  Growing close to the ground and shallow in depth, they start to enjoy the warmth of the sun and warmer soil the soonest of all my perennial herbs.  As a result I am snipping them and touching them as I get into the spirit of Spring which in Illinois means it is still too cold to grow anything new or work with the soil for fear of compacting it when the soil is wet.  All I can really do these days is rack off the mulch and look for new growth (see my post from Saturday for the fruits of my labors.)
Of the thyme plants I grow, my favorite is lemon thyme.  I love to cook with it, make tea with it, and even use the sprigs to decorate with.  The scent they emit is earthy and sweet and thoroughly rejuvenating.
Recently I found this nice recipe for Lemon Thyme Cupcakes and decided to give it a try.  Here are the instructions and pictures of the results.

This moist cupcake recipe was adapted from a recipe by Susan Belsinger.
1 ½ cup unbleached flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
2 Tbls. finely minced lemon thyme (reserve 1 tsp.)
¾ cup milk
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Lemon glaze:
3 Tbls. lemon juice
3 Tbls. sugar
1 tsp. thyme
Step 1:
First preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prep the pans with papers, so I don’t forget.  There is nothing worse then being ready to pour and oops!
Then I prep the fresh ingredients, mincing the thyme and grating the lemon zest.  Remember the zest is only the yellow part of the skin, not the white pith underneath, that is bitter so you want to avoid it.

For this recipe you need a couple of bowls, so get those out
Now I will measure my dry ingredients flour, baking powder, salt into a small bowl.  Remember to fluff the flour before you scoop to get an accurate measure and scrap off the excess to make a level measure. 
Add the thyme (minus 1 tsp.) and lemon zest to milk and stir well.
In a medium bowl, cream the butter with a mixer on medium speed for about 3 minutes. 
Scrape down the sides and add 1 cup sugar and beat for two minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides.  Add the eggs one at a time, blending well after each one and scraping the sides as needed.  Continue beating until the batter is light and fluffy. 
Add the vanilla and beat one minute longer.

One low speed now blend in half of the dry ingredients, then add the milk mixture and mix well. 

Then add the rest of the dry ingredients.  Scrape down the sides and make sure the batter is well blended.

Now spoon it into the prepared cups. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees in a preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until the tops are just starting to turn golden brown and a tooth pick comes out clean. 

While they are baking, combine the glaze ingredients, lemon juice, sugar and 1 tsp. of thyme and stir well to dissolve the sugar. 

When the cakes are done, remove the pan from the oven brush with the glaze while still warm.  Then let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing them to cool on a rack.

Here are the finished cupcakes ready to enjoy!  They do not need frosting, but I have put a lemon frosting on in the past.

Stop back for more How-tosdays in the future!
~ Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh

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