My most sincere apologies for posting one entry and then leaving you all hanging! I started neurology and the inpatient service has been way busier than I anticipated (read: 4 pages of patients and 5 hours of morning rounds!). The most surprising thing? I loved every minute of it. No joke. Neurology is a puzzle and I love puzzles :)
The topic of my blog this time is the luscious lemon cupcake. I chose this topic carefully because I feel like this cupcake represents, to some extent, a thought that has been floating around my consciousness for the past few weeks. Life is inevitably filled with disappointments, but despite the universality of this experience, I don’t think anyone has ever come up with an easy way to come face to face with failure. Think positively. Life moves on. You’re called to greater things. Look for the other door that’s opened. The list goes on. But HOW? What is it that needs to be done to turn that lemon into a deliciously delectable cupcake?? I truly wish I had a profoundly insightful answer, but I don’t. Yet, oddly, I think that’s actually the point. Failure cuts as deeply as the depth of our affection. The more we cared about something, the worse it hurts when it doesn’t turn out the way we want it to. So when I think about the lemons in my life, it actually surprises and amazes me that I can care so deeply about so many things, and it is this thought that is the silver lining to my dark clouds. The cupcake potential in my lemons. If I had the choice to be apathetic as a way to blunt the pain of every disappointment or to feel each moment of sadness as vividly as I do now, I would choose the me I am, every time. And yes, it hurts every time. But that pain lets me know that I am capable of caring deeply, and that there are many things in life that are worth caring for. So just pick yourself up and try again :) Challenges are inevitable, but defeat is optional.
Cupcake (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens) – for 12
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk + 1tbsp lemon juice, let stand 5-10 minutes
1. Preheat the oven to 350F and butter 12 muffin tins; set aside. In a small bowl, mix the milk and lemon juice and set aside.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
3. Cream butter. Slowly add sugar. Beat in 2 eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla.
4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Stir well. Then alternate 1/2 milk-lemon, 1/3 flour, 1/2 milk-lemon and end with 1/3 flour mixture. Stir until all combined.
5. Grate the peel off two lemons. Finely chop half of the peels and stir into batter.
6. Evenly distribute batter int the muffin tins and bake for approximately 17 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and let cool for half an hour.
Icing: I actually just used the leftover icing from my Red Velvet Cake, which I had put in the freezer. Thus is the efficiency of the medical student at work :)
Garnish: finely chop the rest of the lemon rind and sprinkle on top.
Overall consensus: I was initially a little skeptical about using the better homes and gardens recipe because I think the rating on it was only 2.5/5 stars, but I chose it because I thought I could make enough substitutions to both 1) make it taste better and 2) not have to buy any extra ingredients. Basically I just increased the egg content and replaced the sour cream with milk and lemon juice instead, which gives the cupcake an extra lemony flavor and makes it fluffier with the little bit extra egg. Overall, I actually really loved this cupcake with its cream cheese frosting. And the people who got the enjoy it seemed to agree :) I would most definitely make this again!