Tuesday, 3 June 2008

herbal essences - lemon and rosemary cupcakes

i have been eyeing the beautiful rosemary plant growing in the garden for a few weeks now. it has grown so well and is just flourishing in this warm summery weather we've been experiencing these past few days. so what better thing to do than pop it in some cupcakes. for me, rosemary and lemon are a perfect combination and i have seen a lot of recipes calling for those two ingredients together.
so i gently clipped some rosemary...the smell was lovely, so aromatic and flavour-full...it tingled the senses all the way back to the kitchen! once there, i gave it a good washing and plucked the leaves from the sprigs. then i set about chopping them up as fine as my fingers and knife would allow...quite a challenge as the leaves are quite tough and hardy (i did have that moment of panic where i thought that if they stay that way in the cupcake it's not going to be very tasty...but then i remembered the tea experiment and relaxed!)

i made the lemon cupcakes...with the juice and rind of the lemon in there to really bring out the 'zing' of the lemons and just added the chopped rosemary to the batter. the smell of them baking was just fabulous...again that lovely aroma that i had smelled whilst picking the rosemary in the garden. it just filled the whole kitchen!

i couldn't bring myself to ice them with a buttercream or fancy icing...not sure why, maybe because they seemed to earthy and good with the fresh herbs in there. i figured a lemon glaze would do nicely and again emphasise the 'zing' of the lemon flavour. drizzled the glaze on top and then came the taste-test.

the rosemary had softened beautifully and consistency-wise was unnoticeable when actually eating the cupcake, but the flavour was definitely there and allowed for little pocketfuls of rosemary goodness throughout. the cupcake was incredibly moist and the lemon was refreshing and light. the glaze added that lovely sharpness to the overall eating experience and i think this is why i wanted to go with the glaze...sometimes having that lovely sweet and tangy drizzle is preferable to just the sweetness of buttercream icing.

it feels really great to have used some home-grown herbs in my cupcakes...nothing like being able to go outside to your culinary garden for an ingredient. these were delightful and i think would make a lovely gift...maybe you could give them to someone as a housewarming with a rosemary plant. there is so much that can be done with herbs on so many levels that really we ought to explore using them more and growing our own too.

1 3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
2 t. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. butter
2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. lemon extract
1/2 t. vanilla
2/3 c. milk
2 t. lemon peel
3 T. lemon juice

Combine flour, baking powder, rosemary and salt in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, beat butter, then add sugar. beat until fluffy. add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. add lemon extract and vanilla and beat until well combined.
Alternately add flour mixture and milk in three additions.
Stir in lemon peel and juice and then scoop into cupcake cases.
bake for 20-25 mins until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Lemon Glaze
1 c. icing sugar
5 t. lemon juice
2 t. lemon peel

combine icing sugar, lemon juice and lemon peel. stir until runny consistency and drizzle over cooled cupcakes.


Nikki @ NikSnacks said...

I like the picture of the cupcake among the needles of the rosemary. That is darling. :)

Anonymous said...

Those cupcakes looks absolutely delicious! I love the flavor combination and the use of rosemary from the garden. Perfectly summer! Thanks for sharing!

Meghan said...

I love rosemary... its my absolute fave spice!

I agree with your notion on lemon glaze instead of a heavy icing.. the perfect compliment.

I love this blog. I'll be in Ireland in July (family there in Longford) and I can't wait to see Eire again!
(hoping for nice weather!)

Unknown said...

hi nikki...me too! it was a bit trickey trying to photograph it and a couple of times pictured cupcake almost ended up in the dirt!

hey joy the baker...thanks! and yes there is something so satisfying about using herbs from the garden!

hi meghan, yes rosemary is so lovely i'd like to explore more with it! i shall keep my fingers crossed for you that you get more of the same weather we have been having these past few days in july :)

Anonymous said...

The rosemary in your garden looks so gorgeous and lush! Lucky you and what a great flavour combo :)

Unknown said...

thanks lorraine...it does look lovely in the garden...it has grown so fast and thick that it shall have to be cut back otherwise it might just conquer the rest of the garden :)

Honeyed Hashette said...

These look and sound refreshing! I could go for some lemon glaze right now!

When we move into our house this summer I will have an herb garden in the back and it already has a nice little rosemary friend for me! I'll have to save this for later.

Unknown said...

hi janna, yes i LOVE lemon glaze too...i like the sharp tangy-ness of it! how exciting that you will have a lovely herb garden...there really is nothing like it than fresh herbs from the garden!

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