Lemon-Ricotta Cupcakes with Fluffy Lemon Frosting

Joanne Chang makes her moist, lemony, fresh-tasting cupcakes with honey instead of refined sugar, which keeps the sweetness in check. This is the perfect grown-up cupcake.

Slideshow: Cupcake Recipes
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  • Servings: Makes 12

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  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup crème fraîche

How to make this recipe

  1. Make the Frosting

    In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Add the butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and beat until incorporated. Beat in the honey, vanilla and salt. Cover and refrigerate until firm and spreadable, about 3 hours.

  2. Meanwhile, Make the Cupcakes

    Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk the honey with the ricotta, vegetable oil, lemon zest and vanilla; whisk in the eggs and egg yolk. Whisk in one-third of the flour mixture just until incorporated, then whisk in half of the crème fraîche until smooth, scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Fold in the remaining flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the remaining crème fraîche until well incorporated.

  3. Meanwhile, Make the Cupcakes

    Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and bake for about 25 minutes, until the cupcakes are lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool completely. Frost the cupcakes and garnish with lemon zest.

Make Ahead

The cupcakes can be refrigerated for 2 days.

Contributed By Photo Christina Holmes Published April 2014

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