Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon-Coconut Cream Frosting

Howdy All! Here is another exciting episode of my kitchen blunders and wonders! Was still in my lemon mood today. Saw a very inspiring recipe for Lemon cupcakes with lemon butter cream frosting on the 1/4 cup Kitchen blog, so I thought Why not!

Obviously I didn't follow the recipe exactly, just used it as an inspiration. Like my mom use to say, I never listen to anyone anyways. When cooking or baking I usually don't like to use boxed and canned items and try my best to make everything from scratch, but today I made an exception. I had picked up a box of Betty Crocker's Lemon cake and used that as a base. I made 9 cup cakes and two 6" cakes.

I have an e-version of the book "What's New, Cupcake?". In the book there is a tip that if you want to make perfect cupcakes they must be a bit firm . Therefore when ever you buy a box cake mix , use 4 eggs rather than the 3 eggs written on the box. Also substitute the water written on the box ( its usually 1and 1/4 cup water) and use one cup buttermilk in its place. The water will be more in quantity but use only one cup buttermilk in its place.

If you don't have buttermilk then no worries. Just take one cup milk and add one tablespoon of lemon juice (or vinegar) and let it stand for 10 minutes and then its good to use. Simple!

BUT....I just followed the box recipe and added a tablespoon of fresh lemon zest for an extra zing!When the cupcakes were done and cooled ,I carved out a hole in the top of the cupcakes and then filled them with my homemade strawberry sauce.

For strawberry sauce take 2-3 cups fresh strawberries and cut or slice as u like..I like it chunky. Wash, dry and slice and put in a microwaveable bowl and sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice and microwave it for 3-4 minutes till it boils and then cool it. It will thicken a bit. Now fill the cupcakes with the sauce. You can use blueberry or raspberry too if you want.

Now for the frosting. Buttercream frosting is obviously the best choice but its too sweet and I don't like too much sugar in my frosting. I'm no chef but I love to experiment. So I try to use some thing to substitute the sugar. Here is what I came up with. Its not your usual frosting but was so yummmm.

Lemon- Coconut Cream Frosting:
2 cups Confectioners Sugar (I used Icing Sugar)
1 cup coconut cream powder
1/2 cup dry milk powder (I used Nido)
1/2 cup soft butter (227 grams- one stick)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest
4Tblsp fresh lemon juice (use less if you don't like it tart)
1/4 cup milk (if you like your frosting really tart and lemony then you can use more lemon juice in place of this milk. That's what I did ;-)

In a bowl mix the softened butter with the lemon zest and 2tbsp milk and 2table spoon lemon juice and mix well. Then add the coconut powder and sugar slowly and and keep mixing. Slowly add the lemon juice till the frosting obtains required consistency. Chill a while and then frost the cupcakes. I used the remaining frosting on the cakes and the chilled them. They were really Yummm. I had 3 pieces already!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Magic No-Bake Lemon Cracker Pie

Living in Lahore-Pakistan means getting use to the 10 months of sun. This translates into "a looong hot summer". Now if your anything like me, then you just have to have something sweet after a meal and in hot weather it has to be light ,cool and refreshing! also want to avoid toiling long hours over the stove. Sounds Familiar?

How many of you think anything "LEMONY" as a perfect summer dessert? Yes? Really? Ok now your my kinda person!

I love food and I love all the new food blogs popping up everyday. The best thing about these food blogs are that they usually mention recipes that the blogger has ACTUALLY tried themselves and then they also give tips and variations to take it up to the next level of delight-fullness.

In my search for a nice cool lemony dessert I stumbled upon a super awesome blog called Serious Eats. This has now become one of my favorite blogs. On this blog, I found a recipe for a 10 minute no-bake Lime Cracker pie. I searched some more and found the same recipe tried by The Cookie Scoop blog. This recipe was explained better on the second blog as it had step by step photos to take us through the stages visually. I love anything that has a lot of visual representation.

So now its my turn. Im now posting my version of the recipe with photos taken by yours truly :)

The photos may not at all be up to the mark as I have seen on many other blogs. Reason being that I just started taking food pics a few days ago and am at the beginners level . I had no idea its so technical but through trial and error I might be able to take a few good ones. So do cut me some slack till then :(

Another thing I must mention before posting the recipe is that the original recipe requires a few products that are not available here. I have visited some of the top food stores here and cant find Key limes anywhere. So I swapped them with lemons. The lemons here are really good. They are not as large as the ones you find in the US but just as good.

Then there are the imported items that are only available in very few stores in the top metropolitan cities like RITZ crackers, Borden Condensed milk etc. So Im giving you the local substitutes that I used and the result was just as tasty!

No-Bake Lemon Cracker Pie:
This is a lemony, salty, sweet dessert that requires just 4 ingredients!

29 Saltish Crackers (approx one box or two half sized pouches)
One Cup Cream (250 grams approx)
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
One 14oz tin Condensed Milk
1tsp Lemon rind

Step One: Empty the contents on the condensed milk tin into a bowl. Now mix in the heavy cream and stir till combined.

Step Two: Add lemon juice to the cream mixture and stir/ whisk swiftly. You will see that the mixture suddenly thickens up into a custard like consistency. That means your doing good. Keep going.. Almost done ;)

Step Three: Take a pie dish or what ever you prefer to serve it in. I used a square glass dish that is about 5-6inches. Now spread a layer of this lemony custard on the bottom of the dish and place a layer of the crackers on it , then again pour custard on it and continue layering.

The last layer must be the custard. Then top your pie with some kind of decoration. Those making the Lime pie can grate some peel on top to make it look pretty. But I used lemons so I improvised by decorating it with lemon slices. I know.. I know... I need to work on my food styling.

Now put it in the fridge overnight or at least 7-8 hours if you want it to set right. If you take it out any sooner then you will have round crackers running around in loose pudding. Believe me...As the impatient person I am, I took it out after 2 hours and ummm wasn't quite a pie, but still super yummy!

  • Now if you don't like the sweet and salty combo you can easily replace the crackers with graham crackers, wheat cookies or better yet MARIE cookies. It will give you an even better pie taste.
  • Also this custard can be mixed with other fruits too like bananas or mangoes or even fruit fillings.
  • Instead of lemon juice you can use orange juice and gingersnaps in place of the crackers.
Use your imagination and the combinations are endless!! Will be awaiting your feedback!

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