In the Aug. 15 issue of the Almanac, Katie Blankenberg, 14, of Portola Valley writes about the popularity of cupcakes, and her favorites cupcakes, made by Sibby Thomsen of Sibby's Cupcakery in San Mateo. Ms. Thomsen agreed to share one of her recipes. See below.
Yields approx. 24-28 regular cupcakes or 48 mini cupcakes
-- Preheat oven 350 degrees F (for regular size) or 325 degress F (for mini size)
-- Line muffin cups with paper liners.
-- In large bowl, sift together, and set aside: 2-3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour; 2-1/4 tsp. baking powder; 3/4 tsp. salt; 2 tsp. ground ginger; 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg.
-- On medium speed of electric mixer (paddle attachment), cream until softened (1-2 min.): 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature).
-- Gradually add, and beat until lightened (3-4 min.): 2 cups granulated sugar. Scrape sides once or twice.
-- Gradually drizzle in: 4 large eggs, lightly beaten. Beat until no longer slick -- about 5 minutes. Stop once or twice to scrape down sides.
-- On low speed, alternately add in small increments: flour mixture; 3/4 cup milk; 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice; Zest of one large lemon (about 2-3 tsp.); 1/2 tsp. lemon extract (optional, for extra lemon flavor); 2 inch cube (1-1/2 ounces) finely grated fresh ginger (and juice). Begin and end with flour.
-- Fold in: 1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely chopped crystallized ginger.
-- Fill cups about 3/4 full with batter.
-- Bake 22-23 minutes for regular size and 18 minutes for mini size.
-- Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove to cooling racks to cool completely. Frost with Sibby's lemon cream cheese frosting.
Sibby's Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
-- Beat in large bowl until smooth and creamy: 8 oz. cream cheese; 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened.
-- Slowly add and beat until smooth: 5 cups confectioner's sugar.
-- Mix in: 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract; fresh-squeezed lemon juice to taste. Start with the juice from 1/2 of a lemon and increase if desired.