Glazed Meyer Lemon Cupcakes with Candied Lemon Peel

My little sister came to visit for this fabulous 3-day weekend, and even though I was sick part of the time, we made the most it with a LOT of good food, a great run, and a batch of cupcakes.

I got these last weekend but the week went by so fast I didn’t get a chance to use them.

When Emily got here I knew baking would have to be on the agenda because she likes to bake even more than I do. Before I get to the cupcakes, though…some food.

Sushi places aren’t exactly hard to find in San Francisco, but we decided to try one in the Richmond district that got good reviews on Yelp (Minami Restaurant, 1900 Clement Street, San Francisco). It turned out to be perfect because they had an 18-piece vegetarian sushi plate (shown in the picture above). It was SO GOOD! I haven’t had sushi for so long because usually the vegetarian options are kind of boring, but this plate came with portabello mushroom, burdock, cucumber, egg, sweet potato, cucumber, and inari sushi.

They had a couple different sakes to choose from. Plus the seaweed salad was perfect!

The restaurant is TINY but the two women who were serving were incredibly friendly and sweet, and I loved the decorations.

After dragging ourselves home in a food coma, we went to sleep pretty early so we could run first thing in the morning. It was BEAUTIFUL.

We ended up running 8.5 miles…to the beach and back.

After our run, we went to one of my favorite places…Sunrise Deli (2115 Irving Street, San Francisco)

They have won a bunch of awards for having the best falafel in town, and they deserve them all! It’s so flavorful and light and crisp. I usually get the falafel plate because it comes with sides that I like, but today we all got the Super Falafel sandwich.

It’s lavash bread wrapped around falafel, vegetables, and tahini sauce, but the best part by far is that it has French fries inside!
We also split an order of dolmas, which were wonderful.

I love that they also have a small section of Middle Eastern groceries.

After that amazing lunch, it was baking time. It took us awhile to find a basic cupcake recipe…most of them included raspberry or ricotta or white chocolate, but I was looking for something that would let the meyer lemon flavor shine, and these definitely do that.

They have a tender, soft texture and the bright, fresh flavor of Meyer lemons. The glaze definitely brings out the citrus flavor, and the candied lemon on top is a fun addition but definitely isn’t crucial.

For me, the lemon peel was a giant pain because in my first attempt, all the water boiled away and I almost ruined the pan, and for the second attempt, I think I may have let them boil too long in the sugar water because they all clumped together when I got them out and I had to quickly use a fork to separate them so they wouldn’t harden into a giant lemony-sugary mass. So if you’re going to do the candied peels, make sure you keep a close eye on them!

Recipe:
(adapted from Alpineberry and All Recipes)

makes 24 mini cupcakes + 6 regular cupcakes, or about 15 regular cupcakes

cupcakes

1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 ounces butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
zest of 1 meyer lemon (about 1/2 Tablespoon)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp meyer lemon juice

glaze
2 tbsp meyer lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar

candied peel
zest of 1 meyer lemon, removed with a vegetable peeler in strips
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

To make the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line your pans with paper liners.

Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together with a fork. Set aside.

Beat the butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment for about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for about a minute and scraping down the bowl after each. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest.

Stir together the buttermilk and lemon juice.

Add a third of the flour mixture to the batter and mix on low until combined. Scrape down the bowl and add half the buttermilk. Mix until combined, and repeat with flour mixture, then buttermilk, then flour mixture.

Divide evenly among pans, and bake for about 8-10 minutes (mini cupcakes) or 18-20 minutes (regular cupcakes) or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze, whisk the lemon juice and 3/4 cup powdered sugar together until smooth. Add remaining powdered sugar little by little until it reaches the desired thickness. Wait until cupcakes are completely cool to glaze (and if you’re using candied peel, you’ll want to have it ready)

The candied peel can be made a few hours in advance. Cut the strips of peel with a paring knife so they’re about 1/4″ by 2″

Put 1 cup of water in a small sacuepan and bring to a boil. Add the peel strips and boil 5 minutes, covered, then remove with a slotted spoon.

Add the sugar to the water and return to a boil. Stir in the peel and boil for about 10-15 minutes. Carefully use a small mesh strainer or a slotted spoon to remove the peels and place them on a plate so they’re not touching each other. Let dry.

Spread or pour the glaze on the cupcakes, then top each with a small piece of candied peel.

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