Kids in the kitchen – triple threat lemon cupcakes

It’s the school holidays again, which means filling two weeks with activities that suit everyone. My son is quite happy pottering around home. His current obsession is airplanes so the living room/hallway/spare room/backyard are all filled with various planes and runways. My daughter would have a playdate every day if she could, so it’s a balancing act keeping everyone happy.

One activity they both enjoy is baking. Pikelets are always a winner, as is Bradley’s ginger crunch, but this time he requested lemon cupcakes. We decided to really up the lemon factor, hence the triple threat – lemon cupcakes, filled with lemon curd, and topped with lemon buttercream. These are easy for kids to make, with minimal parent supervision. I ended up piping these neatly, as I wanted them to look pretty lol, but they taste just as good with the buttercream smooshed on.

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For the cupcakes

Ingredients 

250g butter, cut into cubes and softened
2c sugar
4 eggs
1½c self raising flour
1¼c flour
1c milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of 2 lemons
4 tablespoons lemon juice (more if you want more lemony flavour)
350g lemon curd (store bought or homemade, I use this one)

Method

Preheat your oven to 180°C and line 3 x 12c muffin tins with cupcake cases.
Sift the flours together and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well in between.
Combine the milk and vanilla extract. Add the flours in 4 parts, alternating with the milk mixture. Lastly, add the lemon zest and juice. Make sure everything is well incorporated.
Fill each cupcake case about 2/3 full and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and while they are still warm, scoop the centre out of each cupcake (a melon baller is handy for this.) Cool completely.

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For the buttercream (this is enough to generously cover each cupcake)

220g butter, cut into cubes and softened
4-6 tablespoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons lemon zest
1kg icing sugar

Method

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, lemon juice, zest and about half the icing sugar until smooth.
Gradually add the remaining icing sugar and continue beating until smooth and creamy. Add more lemon juice if you prefer. If you add too much icing sugar and the buttercream is too stiff, add a splash of milk.
Plop a teaspoon of lemon curd into the centre hole in each cupcake and then pipe or spread the buttercream.
These will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day, or up to 5 days in the fridge.

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