Tender, citrus-infused lemon cupcakes are piped high with seasonal grapefruit buttercream frosting for the perfect sweet and tangy treat.
Well, it’s 2017. (Yes, I know it’s more than a week into 2017 but let me be.)
Before I get to these Lemon Cupcakes with Grapefruit Buttercream, I want to tell you a story that pretty much sums up the hopes and dreams everyone seems to have for this year.
It’s a beautiful story full of twists and turns, despair and hope.
It’s also about pizza.
To celebrate New Year’s Eve, Alex and I ventured out in the deep snow via Uber (never again, pretty sure I could have bought a small horse for that skyrocketing price) to go to a friend’s house. There was much merriment, and as the clock ticked closer to midnight, everyone started to get hungry. As the majority of people there were: a) male, and b) military men, we ordered pizza. Lots of pizza.
By our calculations, the pizza had until 12:10 a.m. to arrive or it was free. While we were all starving, there was an unspoken hope of the pizza being delayed by outside festivities or the thick snow. To pass the time, we turned on the New York City ball drop. Then: midnight. Kisses, party horns, cheers. And something else.
A phone ringing.
Yes, mere seconds after midnight, our pizza arrived. It was as if God had spoken and said, “You are good people. You’re going to have a kick-ass year. Let there be pizza.”
And there was.
So, if we can take a lesson from that story, it’s this: I feel bad for pizza delivery guys working on New Year’s Eve. And also, this year is going to be awesome.
Might as well kick it off with the season’s most popular treat: citrus!
These Lemon Cupcakes with Grapefruit Buttercream are an ode to citrus. The cupcakes themselves are bursting with lemon-y goodness and a soft, tender crumb. The buttercream is lightly flavoured with fresh grapefruit juice, and if you’re really feeling festive, add grapefruit curd or citrus jam to the frosting with a trick I detail below in the recipe.
Now, go forth, eat cupcakes, and rock 2017.
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Total Cost = $4.01 (Budget breakdown below recipe)
- ½ cup salted butter
- ¾ cup and 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2.5 tsp. lemon extract
- 1 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 and ¼ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Scant ¾ cup buttermilk*
- 1 cup salted butter
- 3 and ½ cups confectioners' sugar
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ tsp. cream of tartar
- 1 tbsp. fresh grapefruit juice*
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 drops red and 4 drops yellow food colouring (optional)
- ¼ cup grapefruit curd or citrus jam (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a muffin tin with liners; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on low until fully combined. Add in eggs and both types of extracts. Mix until just combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the stand mixer in 3-4 batches, running the mixer on the lowest setting and letting combine before adding the next batch.
- Let the mixer run on low and slowly pour in the buttermilk. Mix until fully combined.
- Scoop batter into cupcake liners evenly, then tap the tin against the counter to release any air bubbles and to settle the batter.
- Bake 17 to 20 minutes, or until centres are set and cupcakes bounce back when gently pressed. Remove to a wire rack to cool fully.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add butter, confectioners' sugar, salt and cream of tartar. Place a kitchen towel over the top of the mixer and turn on the lowest setting. (Trust me, the sugar will go everywhere if not.) Remove towel once mixture has combined.
- Add in fresh grapefruit juice and vanilla extract. Add in food colouring if desired. Mix until fully combined and fluffy.
- Assemble once cupcakes are fully cool. To add the optional jam accents (seen in the photos), use a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip. Scoop 1 tbsp. of jam and fill the first seam of the bag with it, running it up and down the seam. Do the same with the second seam and another tbsp. of jam. Carefully add frosting to the bag, trying not to disturb the jam. Pipe as usual.
- I had to refill my bag once more, so I did another round of jam in the seams.
* I used freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and highly recommend this.
Crumb Kitchen original recipe.
1/2 cup salted butter = $0.50
3/4 cup and 1 tbsp. granulated sugar = $0.22
2 large eggs = $0.30
1 tsp. vanilla extract = $0.07
2.5 tsp. lemon extract = $0.20
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour = $0.18
1 and 1/4 tsp. baking powder = $0.06
1/4 tsp. salt = $0.01
Scant 3/4 cup buttermilk = $0.30
1 cup salted butter = $1.00
3 and 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar = $1.05
Pinch of salt = $0.01
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar = $0.02
1 tbsp. fresh grapefruit juice = $0.15
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract = $0.03
Why it’s Cheap
Trust me on this, these cupcakes are up there with the fancy bake shop ones that cost $3.50 EACH. And guess what? For $4.00 you get a dozen.
Make it More Budget-Friendly
Feel free to use unsalted butter if you have that at home already, but add a bit more salt to both the cupcakes and the frosting. You should be able to use pure bottled grapefruit juice in place of the real stuff, but I haven’t tried it and can’t verify.
Want more? Check out the recipes below!