Lemon Cupcakes & Silicone Baking Cups

La-la-la! LEMON! I’m feeling bright and cheery today, so a bright and cheery lemon cupcake fits in just perfectly. 
You probably remember me saying in the past how citrus-y desserts rarely catch my attention. Vanilla, chocolate, caramel, cinnamon, red velvet…all top picks above anything citrus like lemon or lime. But more often than not, I am pleasantly surprised by them. They’re refreshing and offer a balance of sweet and tart that you can’t get anywhere else. 

The kind people at The New York Baking Co. sent me these silicone cups (don’t worry – they’re BPA free!), giving me all the more reason to bake something special. The baked cupcakes pulled away ever so slightly from the cups while baking, making them pop right out without even hardly trying. No falling apart and no leaving half of the cupcake behind in the liner (not that I would ever let that happen anyway). 
Not only do reusable cups like this save on paper and waste, but they’re also dishwasher safe. Laundry and kitchen cleaning are the two household chores I dislike most, so anything to make kitchen clean-up easier gets an extra thumbs up in my book.

Enough about the baking cups. The cupcakes themselves did not disappoint. Although, it did take me a day to fully appreciate them. See, I have a problem where I never like what I bake right away. Whenever I try something right out of the oven, or even an hour later, I don’t think it tastes good. When I let some time pass and try it again later on, I will want to eat every last bite. So what changes in that time period?

One theory I have is that while I’m baking, I’m usually taking tastes of the batter here and tastes of the frosting there, which may be suppressing my appetite. By the time the real thing is ready to go, I’m not as into it.

Or, maybe it’s the idea that things simply taste better when other people make them for you. PB&J, Kraft Mac and Cheese…the simple childhood classics are always best when made by Mom or Dad, am I right? But I usually don’t have this problem when it comes to my own cooking. I’m almost always pleased with what I cook (as opposed to bake) straight off the bat.

Whatever the case may be, in the end I loved these little citrus treats and I know you will too.

I followed Jessica’s recipe for Fluffy Lemon Cupcakes, only subbed homemade sugar frosting for the whipped coconut cream (only because I didn’t have the right kind of coconut milk on hand, but I look forward to trying it next time). 
  

If you’re interested in the silicone baking cups, you can purchase a 12-pack on Amazon for $11.95*.

*I updated this post on 8/7/14 to reflect the increased price I was recently made aware of.

Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Muffins

I have been dreaming of lemon yogurt muffins ever since I saw some at a bakery in Breckenridge. The same bakery where I indulged in a giant oatmeal raisin cookie and hot chocolate. I couldn’t get the lemon yogurt muffin off my mind. I made a mental note to return to the bakery on our way out of town to put an end to my obsessive thoughts, but unfortunately it never happened. So here I am, making my own lemon yogurt muffins.

As much as I love to bake, I am well aware I am very much an amateur. I know how to follow recipes and can make modifications if I feel experimental. I usually have a general idea of what certain ingredients will do when combined with one another, but sometimes I’m just guessing. I have borrowed books from the library to learn about the science of baking, but have failed to actually read them enough to learn. Thumbs down to me.

Maybe one day I will gain a better understanding of what actually happens when mixing flour with baking soda (or is it baking powder? or both??) and salt and butter and eggs. Geesh. Baking is a complicated thing when think about it. Soooo let’s just not think about it, deal?

No thinking, just doing. Shortly followed by eating. Don’t forget that step, it’s the most important of all. Breakfast time or snack time, these refreshing little muffins are sure to brighten your day.

I almost didn’t include poppy seeds at all, simply because I had never bought poppy seeds. I get intimidated by new ingredients. Where will I find them store? They’re probably expensive. Will I ever use them for anything else or will they just sit and take up space for the rest of their existence? 

I obviously have issues with even the slightest changes or new experiences. 

Looking back, poppy seeds were the last thing that should have intimidated me. I mean…really? Poppy seeds? What’s there to be afraid of?

Nothing! Guess what? They’re located with all of the spices in the baking aisle (genius!) and if you’re lucky enough to find them on clearance like I did, they’ll only set you back two dollars. Bada boom, bada bing. No big deal.

The brief anxiety was so worth it. Also worth it? Using fresh lemons for zesting and juicing. It’s a must. And when you’re done with the muffins and want to use more of your new poppy seed purchase, you can make these Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt PANCAKES. Yes, puh-lease.



Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Muffins
Recipe via The Tasty Bite

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 large eggs
3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
zest of two lemons
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, melted

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, mix four, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and poppy seeds. Set aside.
3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, lemon zest and juice, vanilla extract and butter. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Whisk until just combined. Fill muffin wells about 3/4 full with batter.
4. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool about 10 minutes before removing from muffin tin and serving.

Store any remaining muffins in airtight container. Best eaten within about three days.