CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I'm not sure why, but last week's balmy weather prompted a taste for something lemony at my house. I searched through cookbooks, magazines and online for tempting recipes and found one for Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes, which I baked last weekend.
The dense, moist cupcake was especially tangy, probably due to my heavy-handed measurement of grated lemon rind. I definitely used more than the 1 teaspoon specified in the recipe. The lemony cream cheese frosting was, well, icing on an already delicious cake.
A naked cupcake would probably suffice for lemon-lovers who prefer their baked treats slightly less sweet.
With a stick of butter in the recipe, the Glazed Lemon Cookies from Martha Stewart don't qualify as low fat, but Martha generally bakes a decent cookie, so the recipe's worth a try.
The Web site lowfatcooking/about.com offered a healthier take on classic buttery-crusted Lemon Bars. Reviewers called the moist, tangy lemon bars a low-fat, easily portable treat perfect for picnics or other casual gatherings.
Although she doesn't sink to Paula Deen's disregard of fat and overly processed ingredients in her recipes, Ina Garten isn't known for her healthy recipes. Her Lemon Yogurt Cake is a pleasant surprise. She uses a cup of yogurt to add moisture and density to the cake, but adds a half-cup of oil for good measure.
I haven't baked Garten's cake, but I have tasted one baked by a friend. She substituted low-fat plain yogurt for the whole milk variety, but otherwise followed Garten's directions to the letter. The cake was delicious, moist and bursting with lemon flavor. My friend also used a wooden shish kabob spear to poke tiny holes in the top of the cake before she poured the lemon syrup on top. It soaked into the cake and intensified the lemon flavor.
Because I purchased a bag of lemons, instead of a few single ones, I think I'll tackle Garten's Lemon Yogurt Cake next. You know that old saying about making lemonade when fate gives you lemons - cake's even better.
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.
Makes 12 cupcakes
1 1/2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
10 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 large egg
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup 2 percent reduced-fat milk
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Fresh blueberries (optional)
HEAT oven to 350 degrees.
PLACE 12 decorative paper muffin cup liners into muffin cups.
LIGHTLY spoon 1 1/2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Measure 1 tablespoon flour; level with a knife. Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour plus 1 tablespoon flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.
COMBINE melted butter and egg in another large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add buttermilk, milk and 1 teaspoon rind to butter mixture; stir with a whisk.
ADD buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Toss blueberries with remaining 1 tablespoon flour. Fold blueberries into batter. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
BAKE at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
TO PREPARE FROSTING, place cream cheese, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon rind, vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed just until blended. Gradually add powdered sugar (do not overbeat). Stir in juice.
SPREAD frosting evenly over cupcakes; garnish with blueberries, if desired. Store, covered, in refrigerator.
Nutritional Information: calories 236, fat 7.7g, protein 3.7g, carbs 38.7 g, fiber 7g, cholesterol 38 mg, iron 1 mg, sodium, 71 mg.
SOURCE: Cooking Light, January, 2007
Glazed Lemon Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract