Lemon cupcakes with Lemon icing

An ultra-luxe pound cake recipe adapted to cupcake format, with a lemon flavor so bright and cheerful, it will make all the zesting and juicing well worth the effort! The citrus plays beautifully with the buttery poundcake here. As a poundcake purist I can safely say that if you are going to mess with a classic, you better do it right!

We start by zesting and juicing a whole lot of lemons for this cake. 8 lemons sounds like a lot, but you are doing the work for the batter, the syrup (to soak the cupcakes and make them extra moist and lemony) and the sharp, tart glaze that will wake you up!

Put on some nice music and get right to it!

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Cupcakes and Gratitude

Last Updated: March 25, 2021

When I was pregnant last year, there were so many reasons it felt like a cloud was hanging over us, the pandemic being just one of them. Most of the time we powered through, busy with work, getting the house ready for the baby, and like everyone else in the world, tracking down toilet paper and disinfecting our groceries took up 80% of whatever time was left over! The upcoming early months with the baby seemed very daunting at the time, especially since we were not going to have anyone to help out at home, so to make it fun and to have something to mark the milestones and celebrate the fact that we were “surviving” early parenthood, I planned this very special little side project: I decided that for each of our baby’s monthly birthdays (the 25th of each month), I would make a seasonal cupcake recipe, and take his picture with the cupcakes!

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Orange chocolate chunk cupcakes with chocolate frosting

A delightful citrus combination, that can be taken to the next level with the addition of orange liqueur to the cupcake batter and/or the chocolate ganache frosting! These cupcakes (which I often make into bundt cakes or mini bundt cakes with the ganache draped over, or round cakes filled with the frosting) are one of my most frequent bakes all year round – turns out many of my friends dig the chocolate and citrus combination!

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Tiranga Shrikhand Bars (frozen yogurt bars)

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Ever since my friend Shruti told me how to make shortcut Shrikhand (a sweet and creamy dessert from my home state of Maharashtra in India, made with hung yogurt, sugar, ground cardamom and saffron) using Labneh, I must have made it dozens of times. It comes together in no time – whisk together Labneh (extra thick middle-eastern yogurt cheese aka yogurt that is the consistency of cream cheese) and sugar with a pinch of ground cardamom and saffron, and chill in the fridge for a bit. That’s it!

I make it quite frequently to go with elaborate Indian meals – meals that have 7 or 8 other components as it is. So making the shortcut version is an easy win, especially if you make the mango version of it, called Amrakhand (Aam = mango), with mango pureé subbing for half the sugar. I’ve had this idea of converting Shrikhand to a bite-size, easy to freeze format, so that its easy to get a quick taste of it occasionally without investing any time/effort. I thought it would be a great idea to try a “Tiranga” (Indian tricolor) version of it to celebrate the upcoming Indian Republic Day (January 26th).

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Grapefruit poppy seed cupcakes with yogurt glaze

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These cupcakes are a really unique and beautiful way to kick of citrus season. Starring grapefruit, a rather underrated member of the citrus family, these cupcakes are bright and whimsical. Easy to adapt to various citrus combinations, but there’s something about grapefruit, poppy seeds and yogurt that makes this particular combination sing!

Thanks to a surplus of grapefruit from the farmers market, I actually tried my hand at candying grapefruit slices at home this time, and used the homemade candied grapefruit slices to decorate these cuties. Before citrus season ends, I do intend to try candying a few more times and share some tips on the blog!

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[for young chefs] Kheer in a jiffy

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Kheer is a classic Indian sweet pudding, made with all sorts of things, from vermicelli to rice, to wheat berries, to tapioca pearls – the flavors are as diverse as the different states of India that make it!

Vermicelli Kheer (shevai or semiya kheer) is one of those quick desserts that we make to celebrate things big and small: the traditional recipe involves cooking vermicelli (previously sautéed low and slow in ghee, or clarified butter) in warm milk, perfumed with cardamom, until the milk reduces to about half its original volume. Raisins are plumped up in more ghee, cashews fried in some more, and finally the entire saga of it all is topped with saffron (bloomed in a teaspoon or so of warm milk).

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