Winning Recipes: Sweet Lemon Cupcakes

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By: Gwen Ragno

Melodie Halvorsen/Flavor 574

The Elkhart County 4-H fair is just over three months away, and we’re already getting excited for all the creative, delicious food that’s sure to come out of it. Last year, The Elkhart Truth put out a fantastic cookbook collecting the recipes from all of the first-place winners (plus some runners-up) in the contests put on by the Elkhart County Extension Homemakers.

You can purchase the cookbook, “Winning Recipes from the 2013 Elkhart County 4-H Fair,” for $4.99 through the Elkhart Truth Digital Publishing app for iPad, Kindle or Android.

We’re getting ready for this year’s fair by cooking our way through some of the recipes in the 2013 cookbook. This week, Melodie Halvorsen baked Sweet Lemon Cupcakes, the first-place winner in the frosted cupcakes category.

Sweet Lemon Cupcakes
Recipe by Cherylynn Boyd of Culver, Ind., from “Winning Recipes from the 2013 Elkhart County 4-H Fair”

CUPCAKES

Ingredients

  • 2 lemons, washed
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 12 tbsp. butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup whole milk (or 2%)

Directions

  1. Line two 12-cup muffin pans. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Zest the lemons to yield 2 teaspoons. Save the lemons for juice in the icing.
  3. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together and then add the zest. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer. Add sugar and beat until fluffy and pale.
  5. Add each egg one at a time and beat well.
  6. Add half of the flour and beat until blended. 
  7. Add the milk and beat until smooth. Then add the rest of the flour mixture. Batter will be like whipped cream. 
  8. Fill the 24 cups half full; these will rise to the top and you don’t want it to overflow.
  9. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then move to a rack to cool. 

ICING

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 4 to 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. juice from lemons
  • 1 tsp zest

Directions

  1. Cream butter and shortening together and slowly add powdered sugar. 
  2. Add juice slowly. Add a few drops of cream if too thick.
  3. Add zest and cream until fluffy. Can be frozen for later use.

Note: When Melodie made these cupcakes, she found them to be a little dry. Every oven is different, so it’s a good idea to start doing the toothpick test at around 18 minutes to make sure you don’t over-bake them. Some say that under-measuring the flour slightly and mixing by hand can help, as well. 

Join in the fun by sharing a Elkhart County 4-H Fair-inspired recipe in the comments, and you could win a copy of the 2013 cookbook. Plus, we’ll do our best to make your recipe a reality and post it on the site for all to see. Let the games begin!

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