Lemon Cardamom Cupcakes

makes 8 cupcakes
I wanted to make these cupcakes purely because of how they look.  I saw the idea of putting rock candy on top of cupcakes on Pinterest.  The look of food really isn’t too important to me, I tend to lean toward taste rather than presentation, but this situation was different.

I have a lovely friend named Megan.  Megan is an adventurer extraordinaire who I admire so much.  She goes places on a whim without tons of planning or thought.  She is magically majestic and really truly reminds me of a fairy.  Megan just moved into a new house, and when I saw these cupcakes I instantly thought of her.  I thought, “I MUST make these!”.So, I got a’bakin’.  I adapted this recipe from a simple vanilla cupcake recipe, but I couldn’t make just vanilla!  Cardamom and citrus always pair well together and I thought the flavors would make these cupcakes more vibrant and interesting.Guess what.  They were the best cupcakes I’ve ever made!  For an experiment, that’s a darn great thing to have happen. If I make these again, I probably won’t add the rock candy.  I does add a nice crunch, but it also adds too much sugar for my liking.  However, the rock candy was perfect for the housewarming gifts I wanted these cupcakes to be, so I don’t regret adding it at all.Here’s a quick side note: I halved this recipe but doubling it would obviously give you more and it’s sort of easier to make (since you don’t need to half an egg).

Okay, let’s have some fun!

Active time: 60 minutes  Cook time: 16 minutes  Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes*

What you’ll need:

For the cupcakes:

1 1/4 cups flour*

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

3/4 cup sugar

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup almondmilk

1 egg white + 1/2 egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup half & half

juice and zest of 1 lemon

For the frosting:

3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1/2 cup cream cheese (I used light and it worked great)

2 cups powdered sugar

3/4 tablespoon half & half

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3 rock candy sticks, crushed (optional, but makes the cupcakes so cute)

Preheat oven to 350˚F and spray eight standard sized muffin tins with nonstick spray and put cupcake wrappers in them.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom.  In a smaller bowl separate one egg, putting the egg white in the bowl and throwing away (or maybe saving) the yolk.  Then crack a different egg in a measuring cup, beat it lightly, and then pour half of it out into the egg white (I know this is weird, but I didn’t want a ton of cupcakes laying around as I said).   Pour the almond milk, vanilla, half & half, zest, and lemon juice into the egg mixture.  Mix together.

In a high-speed mixer, beat together the sugar and butter for about 3-4 minutes on medium speed.  Slowly add the wet ingredients to the butter mixture.  Then, add the dry ingredients slowly.  Mix until the batter is silky smooth.

Fill the muffin tins about 3/4 full with cupcake batter.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for 10-16 minutes.

Now for the frosting: (make this while you’re waiting for the cakes to bake)

Clean your high-speed mixer.  Cream together the butter and cream cheese until it is puffy and smooth (5-6 minutes).  Slowly add the powdered sugar (about 1/4 cup at a time).  Allow all the sugar to incorporate fully.  You will probably have to scrape down the sides of the bowl multiple times.  Add the half & half and vanilla (you can add more half & half if your frosting seems too thick).

Now for the fun part (if you want your cupcakes to look super pretty): put one rock candy stick into a plastic bag.  Smash that up with a rolling pin until the sugar crystals are pretty beat up.  Pour the candy out, and repeat with the other two sticks.Your cupcakes are probably done by now, so make sure they cool completely before frosting.

Once cooled, frost your cupcakes any way you’d like (I usually just use a butter knife…I like a more “rustic” and “homey” feel).  Top with rock candy, and enjoy!

Tips:

*Add 1-2 tablespoons extra flour if you live above 5000ft

*I halved this recipe because I don’t like to be drowning in cupcakes, it’s super easy to make doubled, plus you don’t have to half an egg.

*Time doesn’t include cooling

Adapted from: Best Friends for Frosting and We Share

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