Woody's Lemon Luxury Cupcakes

Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum Rose's Heavenly Cakes
Makes 24 to 26 cupcakes



For the cupcakes:

  • 6 ounces white chocolate containing cocoa butter, chopped
  • 6 large egg yolks (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons egg yolks), at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (10.5 ounces) cake flour, sifted into the cup and leveled off
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (8-1/2 ounces) superfine sugar
  • 4-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt

For the lemon curd:

  • 3 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 7 large egg yolks (1/2 cup egg yolks), at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice


Step 1: To make the lemon curd: Place lemon zest in a medium bowl and place a fine-mesh strainer over bowl.
Step 2: In a saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk yolks, sugar and butter until well-blended. Whisk in lemon juice and salt, stirring constantly with a silicon spatula (and scraping sides of pan) until mixture thickly coats spatula but is still liquid enough to pour; do not allow mixture to come to a boil or it will curdle. Whenever steam appears, remove pan briefly from heat, stirring constantly, to prevent mixture from boiling.
Step 3: When curd is thick enough that it will pool quickly when a little is dropped on a surface, pour it through prepared strainer. Stir gently to mix zest into curd and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
Step 4: Divide curd into 2 containers: 6 tablespoons for buttercream, the remainder for filling and topping. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
Step 5:  To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and adjust oven rack to lower third of oven. Line 24 cupcake tins with cupcake liners.
Step 6: In a microwave oven (or a double boiler over hot but not simmering water), heat white chocolate until almost completely melted. Remove from heat and, with a silicon spatula, stir until fully melted. Allow to cool until no longer warm to the touch but still fluid.
Step 7: In a medium bowl, whisk together yolks, 1/3 cup of milk and vanilla extract and reserve.
Step 8: In a bowl of a mixer on low speed, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest for 30 seconds. Cake flour (or low protein flour) makes your cake very tender.  For a slightly denser texture, you can use 1-1/2 cups cake flour and 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour.
Step 9: Add butter and remaining 2/3 cup milk and mix until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat 90 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl.
Step 10: Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually add egg mixture to batter in three parts, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl. 
Step 11: Add melted white chocolate and mix until fully incorporated. 
Step 12: Divide batter evenly among line cups (fill about 1/2 to 3/4 full).
Step 13: Bake until golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes (a wire cake tester inserted in center should come out clean, and tops of cakes should spring back lightly when pressed in centers). 
Step 14: Remove from oven and transfer pans to a wire rack for 10 minutes. Cool completely.
Step 15: To assemble the cupcakes: When cupcakes are cool, cut an upside down cone shape out of the top of your cupcake. Add you lemon curd filling to a pastry bag and squeeze filling in the cupcake using a plain round pastry tip. Place cone top back on cupcake and frost with lemon buttercream.

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