Monday 26 July 2010

Lemon cupcakes with brown sugar cream cheese frosting

A.k.a. how to make cupcakes when you're running late for yum cha

It was my cousin's birthday the other week and at the very last minute I decided to make her some cupcakes. So with just over an hour till we were due at yum cha, and still in my pj's, I started baking.

09h30 Put toast on, preheat oven, set up the battle station: Mixing bowl, check. Beater, check. Measuring cups, check.

09h35 Toast in one hand, other hand tearing open cake mix packet.  I had used up my pre made cake mixes so raided the emergency betty crocker stash.  Throw the rest of ingredients in the bowl, whizz it all up.

09h40 Cupcakes shoved in the oven.  Rinse bowl, put the kettle on before caffeine withdrawal kicks in.

09h45 Cup of tea in hand and time to start whipping up frosting. Butter, check. Cream cheese, check. Caster sugar, chec...what the?  That packet was supposed to be icing sugar.  Turns out there is only a tiny bit of icing sugar left in the house.  Panic.  We have brown sugar and I vaguely remember seeing brown sugar frosting on smitten kitchen.  She'll be right so in it goes.  Not bad, gives the frosting a slight caramelly flavour even if the texture is a little gritty. 

10h00 Cupcakes come out.  Let them cool and have a shower, get changed, put my face on.

10h30 Frost cupcakes.  Snap a few pics for the blog.  Pack them in my trusty cupcake courier.  Out the door.

Lemon cupcakes with brown sugar cream cheese frosting

Makes around 24 cupcakes

Lemon Cupcakes

1 packet vanilla cake mix
1 cup buttermilk (or as a substitute put 1 Tbsp lemon juice in the measuring cup and top up with milk and wait for the milk to curdle)
1/2 cup oil (e.g. canola)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

1) Preheat the oven to 180oC.  Line two 12 cup muffin tins.

2) Place all ingredients in a bowl and beat for around a minute an a half until mixed.

3) Fill cupcake liners until 3/4 full.

4) Bake for 20 - 25 minutes turning once, until toothpick comes out clean when poked in the middle and the tops are springy to touch.

5) Immediately take out of muffin tins and place on wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

250 g cream cheese ***make sure you use full fat cream cheese and not spreadable or low fat. I recommend using Philadelphia brand, have had some bad batches with other brands!***
150 g unsalted butter softened
3 Tbsp lemon juice, optional
Zest of 1 lemon, optional
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup icing sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp cornflour

1) With a hand held beater or in a food processor cream butter until fluffy.  Add cream cheese and beat until just mixed in. In a separate bowl, whisk together brown sugar and cornflour and make sure there are no lumps.

2) Add icing sugar 1/4 cup at a time to the butter/cream cheese mixture, beating well after each addition, until it is all added. 

3) Beat in lemon juice, zest and vanilla.

4) Beat in brown sugar 1/2 cup at a time.

5) Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.


  1. Oh my word! I can't get over how amazing these sound! I'm baking them right away - thank you!

  2. Sometimes those last minute substitutions make the best recipes! They look wonderful.

  3. I cant believe you made those in a hurry, that piping is amazing they look like little roses :)

  4. Is icing sugar the same thing as confectioner's sugar? I haven't heard of cornflour. I assume it's not the same as corn meal. Where do you get it?

  5. Anonymous: You should definitely try them! They are so quick and easy but are so fluffy and moist and deliciously lemony :)

    Carolyn: Necessity is the mother of invention huh! I was so relieved they turned out ok and it was a total bonus to have a new frosting recipe! Thanks for your comment :)

    Paula: Aw thanks for your comment! I love my 1M nozzle it makes such pretty frosting.

    Bonoca: Yip icing sugar is confectioner's sugar. I think the american equivalent to cornflour is cornstarch? :)

  6. So beautiful. I've never used brown sugar in frosting but now I'll try--sounds delicious!

  7. i made your world peace cookies yesterday AMAZING !!! can't stop eating them .....

  8. These sounds great! Definitely great job doing them within an hour!

  9. Aw thanks for the blog love Paula - mwa! I think the salt is the magic ingredient, somehow makes the cookies not too rich so you can just keep eating them!

    Peggy: Thanks Peggy! It was definitely speed baking. You should have seen the kitchen afterwards though...complete pig sty! :)

  10. This recipe is amazing! The cupcakes are soo moist. I made these and took them to work and they were such a huge sucess. Within only a week two other ladies from work had asked for the recipe and then also made them that week. We have now had them about 5 times. I have even seen staff hide themselves one or two to ensure they don't miss out. :)

  11. Thanks Mel! Stoked your work like them! And they are so easy too ay? Looks like you spent hours slaving away in the kitchen when you really haven't ;) xox

  12. Your photos are also quite stunning.. another past time??

  13. Oh wow, thanks for the lovely compliment Lynette! I love taking photos - I'm always the embarrassing one who pulls out the camera at a drop of a hat. It's totally the camera though. I got myself a DSLR last year and am totally in love with it! Thanks for stopping by :)

  14. Adorable! I'm whipping up cupcakes today and may just use a brown sugar icing instead...

  15. Feast on the Cheap: Thanks heaps for your comment! Brown sugar totally rocked my icing world! Hope you like it if you do end up trying it :)



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