Tag Archives: buttercream icing

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes

Good morning!

We had the most amazing, low-key, relaxing and productive weekend we’ve had in ages.  I hope yours was relaxing and productive, too!

On Friday, our good friend Hehle suggested that for the game this weekend (which was a huge one for all the Georgia fans in my life) we have some Victory Cake instead of Victory Cookies.

Hehle has a tradition of having Victory Cookies for every game.  You can’t touch them until the game is over – hence their name.  If your team loses, you still get to eat the Victory Cookies though… Because we aren’t just going to let cookies go to waste.

Anyway, Hehle couldn’t remember how the tradition started, but we always have Victory Cookies.  Until this past weekend.  Since Hehle wanted Victory Cake, and Wheat was the birthday-ish boy, I let Wheat pick what kind of Victory Cake he wanted.  He suggested lemon cake like I made that one time.  However, after the week I’d had, I wasn’t exactly ready for a 14-layer tribute to butter, eggs, flour, and victory.  So I decided to adapt that cake into cupcakes, and they turned out to be insanely delicious.

Lemon Vanilla Cupcake Recipe | Oysters & Pearls

It also gave me a chance to try out a recipe I found in my family cookbook.  I follow Brave Tart’s Stella Parks on Facebook, and she has been asking her followers questions about food and regional differences in it for the past few months as part of the research for her upcoming cookbook.  One post caught my eye and jogged my memory.  Stella was researching old timey recipes, and kept coming across recipes for “lemon cheese.”  Turns out, lemon cheese is simply lemon curd, but the name pre-1895 was lemon cheese.  After reading her post, I remembered running across just such an icky sounding recipe for lemon cheese in the family cookbook.

Lemon Cheese Recipe from Canada | Oysters & Pearls

My grandmother’s family was originally from Canada, and I reckon they brought this recipe down to West Virginia with them.  It may sound icky, but I assure you, it was delicious.

Hattie’s Special Lemon Cheese Recipe
(aka Lemon Curd)


– 2 ounces butter (4 T)
– 3 ounces sugar (6 T)
– 2 large eggs, well beaten
– 5 ounces lemon juice
– zest of one lemon


Melt butter in a double boiler over medium heat, then add the rest of the ingredients.  Whisk constantly while cooking until it reaches a pudding- or custard-like consistency and you can leave tracks in it with your whisk.  Once it’s reached that consistency, remove it from the heat and continue whisking until it cools.  Refrigerate.  You can then use it to top delicious vanilla cupcakes, as filling between cake layers, in a tart, in mini-phyllo cups with fresh fruit on top, mixed in with yogurt or ice cream…. the possibilities are endless.

Lemon Cheese Recipe | Oysters & Pearls

Lemon Cheese Recipe, aka Lemon Curd | Oysters & Pearls

Of course, I used it to top some delicious vanilla cupcakes.

Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe
makes 2 dozen cupcakes


– 1 3/4 cups cake flour
– 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
– 2 cups sugar
– 1 tablespoon baking powder
– 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
– 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1″ cubes
– 4 large eggs
– 1 cup milk
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line muffin tins with liners.  In the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Mix on low speed until combined.  Add the butter, piece by piece, mixing until the butter is just coated with flour.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla.  With mixer on medium speed, add the wet ingredients in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl before each addition.  Beat until the ingredients are well incorporated, but be sure not to overmix them.

Fill tins 2/3 of the way full.  Bake, rotating the pan halfway through (but if you forget, like I almost always do, your cupcakes will probably be just fine!).  The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean – about 17 minutes in a conventional oven.  Cool completely on a wire rack and frost as desired.

Using an Offset Spatula to Ice a Cupcake with Lemon Curd | Oysters & Pearls

These vanilla cupcakes are light and fluffy with a really delicate crumb.  They are the perfect base to get creative with frostings or fillings!

I used a small offset spatula to ice the tops of the cupcakes with the cooled “lemon cheese.”

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing | Oysters & Pearls

Then I whipped some previously made and frozen Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing back into shape.  How many pictures do I have of this buttercream on a whisk attachment on this blog?  Too many, probably.

But I, for one, cannot tire of seeing pictures of heavenly buttercream frosting.

I also cut some slices of lemon up into tiny wedges (8 wedges per slice) for garnish.

Lemon Wedges for Garnishing Cupcakes | Oysters & Pearls

Then I used a medium-ish (?) star tip to frost the cupcakes.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Curd & Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing | Oysters & Pearls

They were TDF.

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes | Oysters & Pearls

I mean, not to toot my own horn (or am i?) – but Hehle suggested that these cupcakes might be the reason Georgia beat LSU.

He also wanted me to point out to all you fine folks that these lemon cupcakes pair wonderfully with a Crown & Gingerale.

Lemon & Vanilla Cupcake Recipe | Oysters & Pearls

I’m going to go ahead and say these Victory Cupcakes are probably responsible for the Gator win, too.  Ya know, while I’m making ridiculously far-fetched supersticious claims.

But hey – it’s only weird if it doesn’t work, right?

Sunday was a crazy awesome day full of productivity.  We got up early, checked my pumpkin patch, checked to see if the cotton has been defoliated yet, pulled some peanuts, picked some peanuts, boiled some peanuts, cleaned up the house, I experimented with some pumpkin spice latte goodness at home (still on Operation: Eat All The Pumpkin), and picked up a Hugh Jass (and Bah Dass) cutting board (post to come soon!), then rounded it out with an awesome meal, good beer, and live music at my favorite restaurant, The Whip.  That was the longest sentence I have ever typed, but it was just that kind of epic, full, happy day.  It helped that it was so pretty yesterday it literally hurt to be inside.   My cup runneth over!


Bakery Style Buttercream Icing

As promised, I’m back to share this bakery-style (cough, Publix, cough) buttercream icing recipe.  I can assure you, it earned rave reviews last weekend at Jim’s Birthday Party!

Black Magic Cake with Bakery Buttercream Icing  | Oysters & Pearls

I shared the recipe for the Black Magic Cake yesterday, and it went really great with this buttercream icing… but I’m pretty sure this icing would go well with just about anything.  Including a spoon.  Or a sneaky finger.

Bakery Buttercream Icing (barely tweaked from ifood.tv)


– 1/2 pound unsalted butter (two sticks)
– 2 cups vegetable shortening
– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
– 2 teaspoons butter flavoring
– 2 teaspoons almond extract
– 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
– 1 tablespoon meringue powder
– 2 pounds confectioners/powdered sugar


In a large mixing bowl, whisk or sift powdered sugar until all clumps are broken up completely.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and the shortening until smooth.

While continuing to beat the mixture, add in the almond and vanilla extract, butter flavor, and meringue powder, and continue to beat until incorporated.

Add the sugar in a tiny bit at a time and beat well after each addition until incorporated.  Once you add the final bit of sugar, turn the mixer off, scrape the sides of the bowl well, and then beat again until everything is smooth.

Cover everything with it.

Now I have to warn you: this is NOT a healthy snack.  This is for occasional use to decorate cakes.  I was a little leery of butter flavor and meringue powder, but I’m a big proponent of the “everything in moderation, including moderation” rule.

Exhibit A: Crisco shortening + butter.

Crisco & Butter for Buttercream Icing | Oysters & Pearls

Turn into this.

Crisco & Butter, Creamed for Buttercream Icing | Oysters & Pearls

Which with the addition of confectioner’s sugar, turns into this magical goodness:

Bakery-Style Buttercream Icing | Oysters & Pearls

It. is. so. good.

That’s it!  Ice anything and everything with it, or eat it with a spoon.  Up to you.

I also thought I’d share a tip I learned at the cake decorating class I took.  To color icing, the best way is to use gel colors.  But they come in little tubes with no easy way to add them to the icing, and they’re very powerful, so you don’t want to add too much.  It can break down your icing if you’re not careful.  Now, I’m not sure this is the best example, because red icing is the hardest to work with, but naturally that’s what I chose.

Using Gel Food Coloring to Color Icing | Oysters & Pearls

Place some icing into a separate bowl, and use a toothpick to dip into the food coloring and then run it across the surface of the icing.  I know it doesn’t look like much, but it colored all of that icing.  Just mix it up and scoop it into a piping bag.  To load your piping bag, drop your desired piping tip down into the bag and cut off enough of the bag tip to tightly fit around the piping tip.  Fold the top of the bag down around your hand, and then scoop the icing in until the bag is about halfway full.  Twist the top of the bag until the icing squeezes down to the tip and the bag is taut around the icing.  Go to town!

Piping Bag | Oysters & Pearls

You can find all sorts of icing tutorials on Pinterest and via Google, so I won’t go into that today.  Most especially because I’m still a beginner and am not fit to teach, but here’s a good spot to find a lot of videos teaching lots of cake baking techniques: {click here}

Now, speaking of celebrating, I’m off to Charleston, South Carolina for the long weekend to celebrate my friend Sara’s bachelorette party!  I’m so excited to be reunited with our group of college girlfriends, see Sara’s high school friends again, and to get to know Sara’s optometry school friends.  It’s going to be a helluva of a weekend!  I’ll be recovering on Monday/Labor Day, but I’ll be back on Tuesday with the long-awaited pepper sauce and hot sauce recipes I’ve been keeping from y’all.  If you can’t wait until then, you can always keep up with me through my weekend adventures on my favorite social media, Instagram. :)

Happy Labor Day Weekend, everybody!