Lemon Easter Chicks Cupcakes

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Spring is here, but you would never know it from the Arctic-style winds rolling through Washington DC!

Any dessert that has lemon just screams spring to me; even if the current weather suggests otherwise. And with Easter coming up this weekend, and lemons on the brain, I decided to make these festive lemon cupcakes.

Any of my family or friends will tell you, that I’m a big fan of making cupcakes for gatherings (future cupcake recipes to come!). Simply put, it’s the perfect way for each person in the room to get their own, equally delicious portion of dessert.

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I’ve tested many lemon cupcake recipes over the years, and the one below from the September 2012 issue of Real Simple is by far the BEST one and my current go-to.

The cupcakes come out perfectly moist, with not an overly powering lemon taste. As for the frosting, the delicate, light butter cream has an added kick of lemon zest and juice that compliment the cupcakes nicely.

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You’d think lemon on top of lemon would be too much, but honestly it’s perfection.

The decorative Easter touch is courtesy of the Betty Crocker website. I searched for some cute and creative way to give these cupcakes a festive theme and in my opinion these cute little chick cupcakes just screamed Easter!

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1  tablespoon  finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/2  cup  (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4  cup  granulated sugar
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1  teaspoon  pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2  cup  whole milk

For the frosting:

  • 1/2  cup  (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2  cups  confectioners’ sugar
  • 2  teaspoons  finely grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4  teaspoon  kosher salt

For decorating:

  • shredded coconut
  • yellow food coloring
  • plastic bag
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • orange gum drops or orange peeps

Directions:

Make the cupcakes: Heat oven to 350° F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the  vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until combined (do not overmix).

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Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to rack(s) to cool completely.

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Make the frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the lemon zest, juice, and salt. Frost the cupcakes.

To decorate: Toss the shredded coconut with two drops of yellow food coloring in a sealed plastic bag. Add in more color as desired for a yellow hue. *You’ll notice in some of the photos that I had some coconut that came out a bit more orange than yellow. (A bit over excited with the food coloring apparently ha) So do make sure to add slowly!

Top each cupcake with a generous amount of frosting, then cover with yellow coconut. Put two semi-sweet chocolate chip pieces on each cupcake for eyes, flat side up, and then cut the gum drop or peep for your beak.

(Cupcake and Frosting Recipe from Real Simple

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