Cupcakes and I aren’t especially close. I’m picky about cake, I’m picky about icing, and muffins are way easier to transport from A to B. But even I agree that cupcakes are celebration food – they’re the stuff of birthdays, weddings and reunions, while muffins* seem better suited to the every-day. So it felt fitting to try making cupcakes for the first time over the May 2-4 long weekend (prime time for celebrating), and it feels fitting to write about them now, fresh from a self-made long weekend home in Ottawa with family and old friends.
*Notable exception: those spiced Nutella muffins. I’ll celebrate with those any day.
Limes in our apartment mean one of a few things: guacamole, charmoula, mojitos, or this long-time favourite recipe for lime poppy seed muffins. They’re lighter and fluffier than most muffins I bake, and last time I made them I remember thinking, “These are probably cupcakes in disguise.” This delicious experiment ensued.
Because I’d never made cupcakes on my own before, I had no go-to icing recipes, but happily we’ve got a Martha Stewart cupcake cookbook in our kitchen; I’ll bet she knows her cupcakes. I took the very first recipe (best to start at the beginning, yes?), shrunk it by two thirds (let’s not go TOO crazy), and added lime rind and poppy seeds. Oh hello, delicious creation. We will absolutely meet again.
These cupcakes are sweet & sour, bright & speckled, and it’s hard to eat just one. I brought them to KP’s for our movie date, but they’d hold their own for an evening affair, and I imagine they’d be pretty awesome at a summer barbecue with beers or mojitos. We should probably confirm that for the sake of science, don’t you think?
Lime Poppy Seed Cupcakes
3/4 cup canola or sunflower seed oil
1.5 cup flour (all purpose or cake/pastry)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 egg white
2/3 cup milk
1 tbsp grated lime rind
juice of 4 limes
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1. In a large bowl, sift flour with the baking powder and salt. Stir in sugar; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, use a whisk to combine the oil, egg, egg white, and milk. Add lime rind and juice, whisking until incorporated. Pour all into flour mixture; stir until combined. Gently fold in poppyseeds until evenly distributed; lumps in the batter are ok.
3. Pour batter into 12 lightly oiled muffin cups. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges and cooked through.
Lime Poppyseed Icing
adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes – Fluffy Vanilla Icing
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp grated lime rind
- 2 tsp poppy seeds
1. Beat butter until light and smooth (about 2 minutes with an electric mixer on medium-high).
2. Add the icing sugar a bit at a time, beating after each addition. (If you’re using an electric mixer, after every two additions, increase the speed to high for 10 seconds, allowing extra air to enter the icing.) Once all the icing sugar is incorporated, the icing should be light in colour and fluffy in consistency.
3. Add vanilla, lime rind and poppy seeds; beat until combined. Smooth immediately over cupcakes, or transfer to a tupperware and keep in the fridge for up to 10 days. When ready to use, allow it to return to room temperature and re-beat on low for a minute or so before spreading over cupcake tops.