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
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 It
Step 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.
Step 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.
Step 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.
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