Like all fairy tales begin: Once apon a time, in a land far far away, lived a girl who received a bag full of lemons. Yada yada yada, she baked a delicious batch of Lemon Macadamia Nut and Poppy Seed Cupcakes, and she lived with her goodies, happily ever after.
But, I did in fact receive a surprise shipment of gloriously large lemons, and in addition to making a heavenly tall glass full of fresh icy lemonade (with like real lemons, duh), these amazing cupcakes called out to me. Because: 1. I had a bag full of robust macadamia nuts we picked up in South Africa, and 2. Lemons. 3? I wanted to do a dry run to test whether (without the frosting) these would travel/stay well, as I promised my favourites that I would bring them some baked goodies when I visit the capital in a few days. Oh and as you may have noticed, I haven’t baked cupcakes in WAY too long. That my friends, is reason enough!
Suffice to say- success. Well, I’ve failed terribly on ‘testing‘ the staying well part, because despite baking them today, hardly 3-4 remain. I suspect that the midnight munchies will devour even the last few, leaving my research kaput. Cest la vie, as long as its eaten, I’m happy!
Right, so this recipe comes from my go to cupcake book, but I just could not resist adding in just over a tablespoon of toasted almost black poppy seeds (if you readily get black, even better! I had to labour and toast my white ones until dark ebony and distinguishably fragrant). They look so beautiful, freckled on the pale yellow complexion of my cupcakes, muddled by chunks of crunchy macadamia. The resultant texture is wonderful – crunchy nuts, moist cake with bits of poppy seed and a soft luxurious snowy heaping of frosting.
No need to delay.
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1/3 cup milk (I used non-fat)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup ground macadamia nuts
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
- 1 to 1 1/2 tbs toasted poppy seed (white or black, either work)
- Preheat the oven to 180*c and line muffin tin with liners or grease with cooking spray. Undoubtedly, pretty white or yellow liners are the preferred option here.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, yogurt, & milk. Add the lemon juice, zest, & vanilla extract.
- In a smaller bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt.
- Pour the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients and mix till incorporated. Now you can mix in the ground macadamia nuts, followed by the chopped macadamia nuts, which can be folded in. Before we finish, pour over the poppy seeds.
- Use a greased 1/4 cup measure to fill each liner till 3/4th full.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes. Allow to cool in the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack, to cool completely.
- 1. It's important to move the cupcakes from the trays to the wire rack after 5-10 minutes, otherwise there is an eminent risk of your cupcakes going stodgy. And let me just clarify, no body, and I mean nobody, likes stodgy cupcakes.
- 2. Lemon being the essential, try doing this cake with lemons. If you must substitute with lime, at least ensure that you are adding some lemon extract to the frosting.
- 3. Frosting: 1/4 cup cream cheese + 1/4 cup unsalted butter + 2 cups powdered sugar + 1-2 tbs milk + vanilla (and/or) lemon extract, to taste = one killer portion of lemony cream cheese frosting to pipe over these mean cupcakes. And some sprinkles never killed anybody (I'm just saying!).
Whoever said ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade‘ had a disturbingly low spectrum of lemon dominated goodies. Don’t waste those lemons. Instead, I insist the saying be amended hence forth to read as follows:
“When life gives you lemons, do NOT make lemonade. Lemonade is for losers. Make lemon cakes instead. Everyone will love you for it.