Healthy Celebrations: Double Lemon Cupcakes (a guest post!)

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Please join me in welcoming Holly, who is guest posting today to share her awesome Double Lemon Cupcake recipe with us! I can’t wait to give these a try!
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Hello Heavenly Homemakers readers! My name is Holly. I am a Christian, a military wife and momma to an 18 month old son, and I am really excited to be sharing a recipe (or three) with you. The past year I have been learning about traditional foods; I have reinvented how I shop, cook, eat, and feel about food. The most recent milestone in this journey was birthday cake. Remember when Laura asked us to choose between chocolate and vanilla? Well, to celebrate my 24th birthday I chose option C.  

I wanted  a birthday dessert that satisfied my emotional desire for cake, but also fulfilled my sensible need to eat wholesomely. I knew that if I did not satisfy both halves I would be left either feeling like a whole wheat martyr or a big sugar-filled failure. Yuck. Blessedly, I found a happy medium with these  sweet and tangy cupcakes. 

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Let me just say that I am normally very relaxed baker, I never sift. I fudge the temperatures and can be lazy with the mixing. But for this recipe, if I say sift I do mean sift. The same goes for temperatures and times. It may seem fussy for some of you, but the results are rewarding. 

Double Lemon Cupcakes

 

3 c whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½  tsp sea salt
1 c butter, room temperature
1 c orange blossom honey
4 large eggs, room temperature
the zest of 3 lemons (I recommend organic because you are consuming the peel), plus 2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c buttermilk 

Preheat oven to 325° F. Butter and flour the inside of two round cake pans or two dozen muffin tins. Zest the lemons (just the yellow part, try to avoid the white pith because it is bitter), you want this to be very fine. Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside. Add the lemon juice to the buttermilk. 

Cream the butter and the honey until they are nice and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, until well mixed in. Add the zest and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk in three parts. Beat until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepped pans and bake until golden brown and they pass the toothpick test, 30-35 minutes for a cake, 25 minutes for cupcakes. 

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While the cakes are baking, mix up a nice batch of… 

Lemon Curd   

8 large egg yolks
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
½  c plus 2 tbsp lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons)
½ c orange blossom honey
teeny pinch of salt, about 1/8 tsp
¾ c unsalted butter (10 tbsp or 1 ¼ sticks) cold, cut in pieces  

Wisk together all ingredients except butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. When the mixture registers 160° F on an instant-read thermometer and is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, remove from heat. This should take about 8-10 minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer, just do what I did and use good quality eggs. 

Remove pan from heat and add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth after each addition. Strain through a sieve. It is normal for small bits of cooked egg to strain out, don’t worry you did it right. :) Cover this with plastic wrap and let it cool in the fridge at least one hour.

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Fill your cupcakes with lemon curd. You can use a pastry bag and large tip, or poke a hole with the wrong end of a wooden spoon and use a plastic baggie with a corner snipped off. Spread extra curd on top of the cupcake. If you’re making a cake, spread the lemon curd between the two layers. Then whip up your frosting. 

Soft and Fluffy Frosting

8 egg whites
¾ c orange blossom honey
1 tsp vanilla extract. 

Combine egg whites and honey in a large heat-proof mixing bowl (or the bowl for your stand mixer if you have one and it’s heat-proof) set over a pan of simmering water. Wisk rapidly for two minutes  Make sure your water does not boil! You will end up with scrambled egg frosting and it will be gross. Cook this until it reaches 160° F on an instant-read thermometer (or if like me you don’t have one, use good eggs and cook for two minutes). Remove from the heat and beat on your mixer’s highest speed for  until soft and fluffy, about 7-9 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Use this frosting immediately. 

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I used (some of the) leftover curd to decorate the tops of some of the cupcakes. Or you could eat it with a spoon and not tell anyone there were leftovers. I won’t look. 

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Thanks Laura for letting me share my recipes with you and your readers!

Holly wanted me to be sure to let you know that the curd will keep in the fridge about 3 days, but it is best served in the first 24-36 hours, and the frosting should be used immediately after it’s made, because it will start to deflate after a few hours. It’s still edible for several days, but the quality goes down after 6-8 hours.
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This post is linked to Works for me Wednesday.

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Whole Wheat Pie Crust

Making pie crusts has never come easy to me. In fact, if you recall…I put out an all call many months ago and used YOUR recipes to put together the free ebook, For the Love of Pie!

Since that time, I have discovered a delicious and healthy way to make whole wheat pie crust! I am SO excited!

The secret ingredient is Tropical Traditions Palm Shortening. We all know to stay away from regular shortening (like crisco) right? I’ve tried making pie crusts with butter, and that works too (especially in these Mini Apple Pies). But, since I tried using Palm Shortening from Tropical Traditions, I feel like my days of frustration with pie crust may be over. When I tried making a whole wheat crust with Palm Shortening, it formed perfectly. It rolled out like a dream. I could be heard shouting out Whooops and Woohoos from my kitchen for miles around. I’m telling you, this from the lady who never could make a pie crust.

Here’s how you make the crust…

Whole Wheat Pie Crust

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup Palm Shortening (or butter)
4-5 Tablespoons cold water

I found this recipe to work best in my food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can cut the shortening into the flour with a pastry blender.

Place flour, salt and shortening in food processor. Blend until shortening is cut throughout the flour and the mixture resembles crumbs.

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Admire the crumbs…

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Begin adding water and processing (or stirring). If your dough looks like this, it doesn’t have enough water in it yet…

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Add little bits of water until your dough will form a nice round ball.

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Roll out your dough  on a well floured surface.   Fold it in half.

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Then fold it in half again.

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Place your dough in your pie dish with the folded corner in the center.

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Unfold the dough, shape it into the dish and make the edges pretty.

Whole Wheat Pie Crust

Here’s a little video tutorial I made that will maybe (hopefully) give you an idea about how I shape my pie crust. There are all kinds of different ways to make it pretty…this is just the way my grandma taught me.

Poke your dough a few times with a fork to keep it from poofing up in the oven.

Bake at 450° for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Mmmm…pretty dutch apple pie! (I just used this Mini Apple Pie filling and crumb topping recipe with the crust for this pie…in case you feel like you must try it right NOW!)  I must say, a glass of milk helps this pie go down real nice.

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Healthy Celebrations at Heavenly Homemakers

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I can’t tell you how many emails I receive asking how we celebrate birthdays and other special occasions with more wholesome ingredients. Do we still eat cake? If so, what kind of cake? And what about the frosting?

Many of you are interested in learning about how to make healthy party treats that actually taste good and that will please your party guests. You want to make your child’s birthday special, but you don’t really want to give them high sugar cupcakes with high fructose corn syrup-red food dye #40 fruit punch.

Is it possible? Can celebration foods still taste good, but be made with more wholesome ingredients?

Absolutely!

For all 0f you who have emailed in the past months asking for these recipes…thank you for your patience! I’m finding it harder and harder to keep up with posting reader requested recipes and ideas…because you all are full of so many wonderful and exciting requests! I find it awesome and challenging when you ask me to share (or invent) recipes for specific delicious food items! Trust me, my family enjoys your requests too because they get to taste test! So, keep ’em coming…but just know that I literally have a list of at least fifty items waiting to be experimented with! 

On that note, as I work to post some of these fun healthy varieties of cakes, pies, ice cream and other celebration treat ideas and recipes, I need to know what you’re most interested in! 

What’s your favorite kind of cake? Pie? Ice cream flavor? Other party treat?

Will I be able to post a recipe for every single suggestion you leave? I’m guessing not. Like, I doubt I’ll be able to figure out how to duplicate a natural version of Funfetti Cake Mix! A girl has her limits. Plus, I’m not sure how frequently I’ll be able to create and come up with a new recipe. I don’t want our family eating THAT many sweets!

But, I’m excited to see what recipes you might be interested in! What are some family favorites that you’d like to serve for birthdays and other parties?

I’ll do my best to post a new recipe or treat idea every few weeks so that we can all enjoy Healthy Celebrations!

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