This post is brought to you by one Anne E., a person whom I have actually never met. But, she did supply me with this
modest huge bag of gorgeous lemons, with which I proceeded to whip up a batch of chocolate cupcakes with lemon mascarpone frosting. Hence, when people-you've-never-met give you lemons, make...
...cupcakes. Okay, okay. So random people don't just come up on the street and hand me bags of lemons (but that could be kind of awesome--or disturbing, I haven't quite decided which). Rather, Anne is someone in my roommate's department at school, and that's my lemon connection. The deal being, of course, that I supply yummy lemon desserts back. But I can do that!
Anyways, Anne's lemons came at the *perfect* time, because there I was, sitting in class, fantasizing about lemon mascarpone frosting over chocolate cupcakes. (Yeah, I do that a lot.) Call it premonition or a sixth sense or what you will, but the minute I got out of class, there was an email waiting for me in my inbox from my roommate, announcing the arrival of lemons. Sometimes, life just really works out that way, no?
Now, I'm not quite sure why I was dreaming of lemon mascarpone chocolate cupcakes. The mind truly works in the weirdest ways. Maybe it's because we've had these awesomely fluffy clouds floating around lately, between all of those rainstorms:
Fluffy, fluffy white clouds. I say this because these cupcakes are like eating clouds. I'm serious. (I've had reports that these are better than eating clouds.) The chocolate cupcake itself is incredibly moist and soft, and then the lemon mascarpone frosting on top, which is basically just mascarpone cheese and cream whipped to a frenzy, is lighter-than-air. Together, you sort of feel like you're sinking your teeth into a fleeting moment of puffy, fluffy, airy deliciousness.
The subtle crispness of the lemon zest that comes through at the very end is just the perfect light complement to the extreme fluffy cloud-ness of these cupcakes. For toppers, I used lemon and dark chocolate wafers to give a robust "preview" of the flavors to come in the cupcake. And, of course, I had to whip up a few little ones, too, because what's better than bite-size chocolate and lemon mascarpone clouds?
Well, Anne, thank you so much for the lemons, and I hope you thoroughly enjoyed your cupcakes!
P.S. You, too, are invited to supply this baker with fruit, for which, in return, you, too, shall receive sweet deliciousness. :-)
Read on for the recipe...
Chocolate cupcakes with lemon mascarpone frosting
makes about 18 cupcakes
for chocolate cupcakes:
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tspn salt
1 tspn baking powder
1 tspn baking soda
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup boiling water
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 18 cupcake molds and liners.
2. In a mixer bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the beaten egg, vegetable oil, and milk. Stir to mix. Then, with the mixer on low, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix on low until evenly distributed.
4. Pour the boiling water into the batter and mix on medium low until smooth.
5. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full.
6. Bake for 20-30 minutes. When a toothpick inserted at the center of the cupcake comes out cleanly, the cakes are done. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Tip: I highly recommend using cupcake liners for this because the cake is so moist and fluffy that it would probably stick to the cupcake molds and create much trouble!
for lemon mascarpone frosting:
1/2 lb. mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
freshly grated zest of 2 large lemons
3/4 cup heavy cream
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a mixer bowl. Beat on high until soft peaks form. Do not overmix!
2. Immediately after the frosting forms, pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.