Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes aka ‘The Ayodeji’ Cupcake
In honor of Cupcake Month Flavor Requests, going in the order they were received, this is ‘The Ayodeji’ cupcake.
Cupcake Month Flavor Requests are a part of cupcake month where readers picked out 2-3 flavors of their choice for me to come up with a cupcake based on those ingredients. The resulting cupcake would then be named after them, with a bonus video!
Ayodeji requested “…how about some citrus (preferably lemon), a berry (either raspberry or blueberry) and some nuts (I love cashews but they are never really used in baking) ;). So yeah, that’s my combination [citrus+berry+crunch/texture] – nothing too crazy *wink*. …I hate (loathe/detest doesn’t do it much justice) frostings so couldn’t care less if they featured on the cupcake or not (in no way attempting to be a diva/divo) but they always make the cakes prettier.”
I had a few ideas (read my thought process below), but decided on something that incorporated a lemon, strawberries and almonds. After I was done, I realized I made a Strawberry Lemon Cupcake (with almonds)! Please read below, so much more information!
To learn how to make ‘The Ayodeji’ cupcake, you will need the following:
Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 30 minutes Difficulty: Intermediate Makes: 6-8 cupcakes
For the cupcake
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1.5 tsps baking powder
- Pinch of salt (1/8th of a tsp)
- 1 lemon (zest of whole lemon : juice of 1/2 lemon)
- 5 tbsps unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the ‘frosting/icing’
- 4 fresh strawberries
- 1/2 lemon
- 3 tbsps granulated white sugar
- 1 cup water
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, line standard cupcake pan with 8 standard cupcake liners
2. Soak lemon in water and vinegar for 15 mins to rid it of pesticides/insecticides
3. Using a deep bowl, add dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, salt)
4. Set aside, using a grater, grate skin of entire lemon
5. Add grated lemon zest to dry ingredients
6. Squeeze out juice from 1/2 of lemon
7. Add wet ingredients (almond milk, vanilla extract, eggs, lemon juice)
8. Add sliced almonds and butter
9. Using the ‘low’ speed on your hand mixer, gently mix ingredients together
9b. Keep mixing on low, incorporating all flour
9c. Mix on low until everything is nicely mixed in together
10. The batter shouldn’t be too thick nor too watery, but should drop down from a spoon very easily
11. Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake liners to top with batter
12. Insert cupcake pan into oven, let bake for 20-24 minutes
13. Check cupcakes with a toothpick at 16 minute mark
14. Let bake another 6-8 minutes till done
15. Turn off oven, transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cook
16. Time to make the topping/frosting! Wash and rinse strawberries, cut in half : peel rind off lemon, cut in half, add to pot
17. Add sugar to fruit
18. Add water; let boil over low-medium heat for about 15 minutes
19. Once it starts simmering, the water will start to take on the color of the strawberries
20. When it starts to boil, the colors will deeepen
21. If it burns a tiny bit,
22. Just add a small amount of water and stir
23. Reduce heat to low till it thickens without burning
24. Remove from heat, let cool completely
25. Once cooled, using a small spoon, scoop some onto center of cupcake
26. Using back of spoon, spread reduction over entire top of cupcake
27. Decorate top of cupcake with a partially sliced strawberry. Honey, this is ‘The Ayodeji’ cupcake!
28. Some extra photos for you to salivate!
My Thought Process:
So, when Ayodeji told me he wanted citrus|crunch|berry|no frosting, I thought as follows: for the citrus, I was trying to decide between a lime and lemon, but ultimately decided to go with the lemon. For the crunch, I love almonds, so that was a no-brainer, for the berry, I love strawberries and even though he mentioned raspberries or blueberries (which I forgot until after the fact!), I decided a strawberry and raspberry were kinda similar and can easily be substituted.
He also mentioned not caring for frosting/icing and with that, I thought to keep the cupcake plain or make a plain strawberry reduction (minus the lemon) and using a pair of kitchen tongs, dip the top of the cupcake in the mock frosting/reduction and leave that plain.
I also thought I would core/hollow out the center of the cupcake and fill that with the reduction, followed by more reduction top. The main idea I had was to fill the cupcake liners to the top so it would rise a few inches above the liner. I would then slice off the top of the cupcake, make a round circle in the sliced off top, put the top back on the cupcake and fill the now hollowed out center with the reduction.
Unfortunately for that idea, the cupcakes didn’t all rise equally, since I didn’t fill them all equally, hence my discarding the idea.
‘The Ayodeji’ cupcake is lemony sweet, but not overly so and the reduction was a tad tart because of the lemon. The cake reminded me of a cheesecake with the strawberry topping, it also had a mildly similar texture to cheesecake and was moist and ever so slightly sticky.
- If you don’t want it to taste heavily of lemons, use half of the grated zest and omit the juice.
- If you don’t like tartness, omit the lemon in the reduction and just use strawberries.
- I like to spread the frosting all the way around the cupcake, right up to the edge of the cupcake liner, but you can just have the frosting in the middle and add the strawberry on the top.
- This is my first time using cake flour, but I think I like it, subsequent recipes will determine that as time goes on.
- You can use all purpose flour instead of cake flour.
- You can use regular granulated white sugar or dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar.
- You can use regular milk instead of almond milk.
- You can use any kind of nuts you like in place of almonds, e.g. walnuts, pecans, pistachios etc.
- You can use salted butter, just be sure not to add any extra salt.
- Vanilla extract is optional and based on personal preference.
- You can use fresh raspberries instead of strawberries.
Just peel back the liner and eat!
Plus the bonus video!