Muffins and cupcakes are generally the way I like my cakes. In the few years that I have been baking, I think 90% of everything I have made are in the shape and form of cupcakes/muffins. Personal, handheld, portable portions just appeal so much to me.
Also, I’ve never frosted many of them. I think so far, I’d frosted maybe… 5 batches of cupcakes before? I’ve always been that kid that scrapes off all the cream on top of a cake. Over the years, I’ve come to respect and appreciate frostings or any kind of cake topping, though I would try not to if I could help it. I like my cakes rustic and real. No guise of extra sweetness to interfere with the actual flavours of the cake.
That said, I couldn’t help but to pinch the idea of sugared lime zest and use it so spruce up this Vanilla Poppy Seed Cupcakes. Vanilla has a floral fragrance, poppy seeds provide the crunch and nuttiness. I wanted something subtle to bring everything to life without the all that frosting and cream or butter: hence zesty lemon-lime sugar. It really worked to bring on an extra dimension of fragrance.
I started by making the sugared zest just so the oils in the zest gets time to infuse the sugar. By rubbing the zest with the into the sugar, you get more fragrance out of it. And lovely smelling fingers after. Win-win!
Then our favourite part comes! Just like several cake recipes we’ve done, after mixing up the dry ingredients (flour & leavening agents), it’s whisked into that buttery mixture alternately with the milk. I’m not sure if that previous sentence is grammatically correct. Let’s just leave it at that. 😀
My blue poppy seeds are folded in last. Yes, they are called blue poppy seeds. When I look at them under bright light, they do have a blue hue. Very pretty!
Fluffy, crunchy & zesty all in one bite. This is one cupcake after my own heart. ♥
“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed My lambs.” (John 21:15)
2 1/2 cups Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 cup Milk
1 tbsp Vanilla extract (I scraped seeds from one vanilla bean)
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup or 170gm) Butter, at room temperature
1 cups Sugar
3 Eggs, room temperature
2 tbsp Poppy Seeds
1 tsp Lemon Zest
1 tsp Lime Zest
1/4 cup Sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F (170C). Line 24 cupcake tins.
- To make lemon-lime zest, rub zest into 1/4 cup sugar and set aside so oils from zests will be released into the sugar. Set aside.
- In a bowl, mix flour with baking powder and soda.
- In a small bowl, Scrape vanilla bean into milk, if using, or mix in vanilla extract with milk.
- On a mixer or mixing bowl, first cream butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time until combined.
- Add 1/3 of flour into buttery mixture. Beat until just combined. Then add 1/2 milk and beat till just combined. Add in another 1/3 of flour, rest of the milk and the last 1/3 of the flour, mixing each time until just combined.
- Fold poppy seeds into the batter.
- Fill cupcake liners up to 3/4 full. Then sprinkle a pinch or two of lemon-lime sugar on top of each cupcake.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Leave to cool completely on a wire rack and devour!