Thursday, September 07, 2006

Lemon-Mace Cupcakes

Mace is the lacy outer covering of a nutmeg, and is scarlet red in the raw form. This skin must be removed to harvest the nutmeg, and is flattened out and dried. When removed and dried and powdered, it turns a lovely warm orange with little red/brown bits. The spice can be used in either sweet or savory settings.

Upon inspection (sniffing), it seemed like citrus would combine well, perhaps orange or lemon, and this made me want to try the sweet version of the spice. This made me realize cupcakes were what I wanted. I am not familiar with mace and so thought I'd make the cupcakes with a focus on one spice. I wanted to "experience the mace" and not confuse it with other spices. So, I found a spice cupcake recipe and substituted mace for the cinnamon blend. This cake recipe also called for sour cream, and I had low-fat yogurt but no sour cream. Substitutions aside, the taste of the resulting cupcakes was good, but the texture wasquite tough. This could be due to overcooking, overbeating, not enough fat, too much flour, I am not sure what. They were substandard.

Then posted praline cupcakes, and the buttermilk cupcake sounded nice and tender, and like a good base for experimenting. This was way more successful than the previous recipe, yielding light, soft, tender cake.

Mace-Lemon Cupcakes

1 1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 egg white
zest of one lemon
2 t lemon extract
1/4 t vanilla extract
2 t mace
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c wheat pastry flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 c lowfat buttermilk

combine sugar and butter in large bowl, beat with mixer until well-blended. Add eggs and egg white, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the lemon extract. Combine 2 c flour, baking soda, mace and salt; stir well with whisk. Add the flour to the sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, starting and ending with flour mixture.

Bake at 350F for 18 minutes (+/- 2 min?) or until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool.

2 T butter
1/3 c lowfat cream cheese
1/2 c lemon juice
zest of one lemon
3 c powdered sugar

I started this one from a bad internet frosting recipe, and kept adding sugar and cream cheese and lemon bits. It may have had some lemon extract, and the amounts are approximate. The end result was halfway between frosting and glaze, but was very tasty - bright, lemony, a good match to the soft buttery cupcake.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


2 c flour (I used 1/2 c whole wheat, 1/2 c unbleached bread and 1 c unbleached all purpose)
4 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
2 T butter
1 c milk

Combine dry ingredients, rub in the butter. Add milk, stir, roll out, cut, bake 425F 15 minutes.