Well, I've heard back from the contest winners (there were two!) and so I think it's safe to publish one of the two recipes -- I'll post the other one in a week or two.
Here is the recipe for Lemon Cupcakes, submitted by Christine from Ohio! I used Meyer Lemons for this recipe, mostly because they were available at Whole Foods when I shopped there, and they looked irresistibly beautiful!
1 cup of butter (room temperature)
2 cups sugar
zest from 4 lemons
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Juice from 2 lemons
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice from remaining 2 lemons
1/2 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray muffin tins and dust with flour. Alternatively, you can line the tins with cupcake liners, however, there is a step that follows baking that can leave your cupcake liners somewhat sticky. If you don't mind sticky cupcake liners, then use the liners instead of spraying and flour dusting.
Cream butter and sugar together at medium speed for about 5 minutes. Do not skimp on this step, it greatly affects the texture of the cupcakes.
Add eggs, one at a time, to creamed mixture, blending well before adding another egg. Add lemon zest, and blend well, taking time to scrape down the sides of the bowl of your mixer and the mixer blade. The zest accumulated on the blade for me when I made these, so do make sure that you scrape the blade to make sure that the zest gets well incorporated.
Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In a different bowl, mix together the lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla. Gradually add 1/3 of the flour mixture, blend, and then half of the lemon juice mixture, blend. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, blend, the last of the lemon juice mixture, blend, and finish up with the last of the flour mixture. Mix for about 20 seconds on medium speed, making sure that batter is well blended but do not over mix.
Scoop batter evenly into muffin tins, filling each cup about 2/3 full. This makes about 24 cupcakes.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Cupcakes are done when a wooden skewer inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Now for the sticky part!
Juice the remaining 2 lemons (remember, you zested 4 lemons, but only juiced 2 of them), and pour into a small saucepan with 1/2 cup of sugar. Heat over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved.
Using a wooden skewer, poke several holes into the crown of the cupcake. You should drive the skewer through to almost the bottom of the cupcake, as you want the syrup to be absorbed throughout the cake.
Now, spoon the lemon juice syrup over the cupcake. I used a soup spoon for this, and used about a spoonful and a half for each cupcake. Allow the syrup to absorb into the cupcake.
Allow the cupcakes to cool completely, and then frost them.
A note about the syrup ... do not make the same mistake I made and drizzle the syrup over the paper lined cupcakes while they were still in the muffin tin. Instead, move them to a cooling rack and drizzle them there... use yesterday's newspaper underneath the cooling rack to catch the drippings to avoid a sticky mess!
Christine won a Chatsford teapot, along with a tin of her favorite tea! (and I might add, these cupcakes are the perfect accompaniment to tea!!!)
Thanks for reading along, I hope you too will enjoy this recipe!