I think I do my best work when I’m baking for a particular person. Baking for someone motivates me to think of something that the recipient will really enjoy, and ways that I can incorporate that into my food.
And that is how these lemon, lime and bitters cupcakes were born. A combination of fresh citrussy flavours, bitters and lemonade, it is one of JC’s go-to drinks whenever we go out. So it felt rather fitting to make these cupcakes for her surprise party as we bade her farewell to Victoria (where she is studying to be a doctor for the next 4 years!)
The recipe is very similar to the Mojito Cupcakes I’ve made previously, but tweaked a little bit to incorporate the flavours of lemon, lime and bitters. The cupcake is drizzled with a lemon and lime syrup, while the bitters flavour is part of the buttercream, which also gives it a lovely blushing pink colour. These were a hit at the party – and probably one of my favourite cupcakes to date!
Lemon Lime & Bitters Cupcakes
Makes 12 standard or 24 mini cupcakes
For the cupcakes
150g icing sugar
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
120ml buttermilk or 120ml milk with a squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the syrup
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp lime juice
zest of 1 lime
zest of 1 lemon
For the icing
100g butter, softened
190g icing sugar
about 2 tbsp bitters, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line cupcake tin with cases. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, until well combined
2. Add dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) to the butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the wet ingredients (buttermilk and vanilla). Mix with a spatula until just combined.
3. Pour the batter into the cupcake cases and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and springy to the touch. Allow to cool.
4. While waiting for the cupcakes to cool, prepare the syrup by bringing the water and sugar to the boil in a small saucepan. When the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and add the citrus juices and zest. Allow the zest to steep for 5 minutes before straining.
5. When the cupcakes are cool, use a knife to cut the tops off the cupcakes and set aside. Using a spoon, drizzle the syrup evenly into the cupcakes until it has all been absorbed. Replace the tops back on top of the cupcake. (Note: I found it best to put the top next to the cupcake that you cut it off so you can replace it back onto the correct cupcake easily.)
6. Prepare the icing by creaming the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the bitters to taste and mix until well-combined. Place the icing into a piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes.