Lemon is a favourite in this house, I just love it's clean fresh smell and I find that it really comes to life in when I use it in baking. This recipe may look tricky but in reality it is very easy, the sponge mix is an all in one, so nothing can go wrong there, same with the frosting.
If you are a bit apprehensive about piping then I suggest you practice, fill the piping bag and pipe swirls right back into the bowl until you are happy with your technique, if not, refill the piping back and start again until you are confident. Chilling the cream cheese frosting will give a much better result and although I used low fat cream cheese, the full fat version will be better still once piped.
I pipe each cupcake the same way, position the piping bag vertically over the cupcake, start from the outside and swirl inwards, lifting straight up for the peak. Different nozzles will give a different finish so relax and have fun :) Eating them is fun too!!
Cream cheese frosting recipe adapted from GBBO Everyday Cookbook~ Spiced and Iced Carrot Cake
For the lemon cupcakes:
200g Self raising flour
200g Caster sugar
200g Soft margarine
1tsp Baking powder
Juice and zest of half a lemon
Cream Cheese Frosting:
200g Low fat cream cheese at room temperature
135g Unsalted butter at room temperature
115g Icing sugar, sifted
2tbsp Fresh lemon juice
1-2 drops of yellow food colouring (optional)
Grated zest of half a lemon
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/Gas Mark 5. Line a muffin tray with muffin paper cases.
Place the flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder, margarine, lemon juice and zest into a large bowl.
Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, mix until the batter is pale and fluffy.
Divide between the paper cases. For an even sized cupcakes, I use my regular ice-cream scoop which is an extremely handy tool to have! Bake in the centre of the oven for 18-20 minutes or until risen and golden.
When baked the cupcakes should spring back when gently pressed in the centre. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
Meanwhile place the cream cheese, butter, icing sugar and the lemon juice in to a bowl, mix with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the yellow food colouring if using and whisk again. Chill until needed. The cream cheese must be at room temperature before beating or it will separate and become lumpy.
When the cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe swirls of the cream cheese frosting onto each and sprinkle with grated lemon zest.