I was going through my fridge the other day to see what kind of ingredients I had leftover from some recent meals I have made ( stuffed shells, whole wheat buttermilk pancakes the doughnut muffins) to see what I could make. I had ricotta cheese, pumpkin ( which ended up being no good) buttermilk and something else can't remember what it was now. Any way. I was thinking pumpkin lasagna but discovered the pumpkin had taken a turn for the worse so that was out. And I didn't have lasagna noodles anyway. I thought I would just research recipes with ricotta and buttermilk.
First recipe was this one from Week of Menus blog using both the ricotta and buttermilk, the second was from Culinary Adventures of a new wife blog which look good too. My friend Stephanie made them and they are posted on her blog : Sweet Creations and she said they were the BEST blueberry muffin she's ever had. So I was going to make those but since I had just made a "muffin" type recipe, well sort of, the doughnut muffins were way more cupcake like than muffin, I decided to go the cupcake route. Back to the search engine drawing board.
I was thinking I like the sound of lemon and ricotta and I came across a few recipes. The only problem was that they were all measured out in grams and well we here in America like our measurements in CUPS. So luckily for me I have a food scale, which I HIGHLY suggest every home baker own one. I will never measure out flours via the cup method ever again. Always by weight. The only thing missing from my kitchen was lemons. Ran to the store to get a few other items and I saw Meyer lemons on sale. I love lemony goodies I LOVE Meyer lemons. A little smaller and sweeter than normal lemons. I grabbed them up.
They almost look like little tangerines.
I am also a kitchen/baking/cooking gadget JUNKIE. I wanted to get a zester also so I did. I normally use my microplane for zesting but since this is an actual lemon zester I wanted to try it. The Meyer lemons are a lot softer than lemons so I ended up using my microplane or else I would still be zesting and not blogging.
Way more orange looking than a lemon. So good!
Another one of my gadgets - my lime squeezer. Another highly recommended item. Gets ALL the juice out and is perfect size for the Meyer lemons. Photo courtesy of my husband who caught the droplet of juice. Cool.
One gadget that I use almost on a daily basis is my kitchen scale. I have be doing a lot of research lately into the science of baking and what and how and why the type of flours used are best. I'm kinda nerdy that way. And I have learned that doing the spoon and level into a measuring cup method can actually result in too much flour and can make baked goods much more heavy and dense and even gummy. So the best way is to sift into a bowl sitting on the scale to get EXACT weight in grams or ounces or even POUNDS depending on the recipe.
Once I got all my ingredients set out the recipe came together very quickly. At first I thought the ricotta was going to make the batter gooey and heavy but it didn't. It was silky looking
you can see the pieces of zest in the batter before baking
And after baking. These smelled AMAZING
I also made a Meyer lemon buttercream to frost these with. I used my Ateco 172 tip which is similar to Wilton 4D. This frosting tasted sooo good.
I sprinkled with yellow jimmies which I think added a nice touch. There is zest in the frosting as well which is kind of hard to see in this pic.
One with a little extra frosting swirled high for the hubby!
Recipe adapted from lemon ricotta cupcakes
The original recipe came from Australia so I am showing it in the original in grams and my conversions with ounces and cups
Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes ( orginal made 12 I doubled the recipe)
400g all purpose flour ( slightly over 4 cups or 14.1 ounces)
300g castor sugar( bakers or superfine sugar 1 1/2 cups or 10.5 ounces)
300g fresh ricotta cheese ( 2 1/2 cups)
240 g butter( slightly over 1 cup or slightly over 2 sticks) melted and slightly cooled
2 large eggs
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
Juice and zest from 2 medium lemons or 4 Meyer lemons ( 4 tbsp juice, 2 tbsp zest)
Preheat the oven to 350 deg and set rack in the middle of the oven. Prepare two cupcake pans with either grease and flour or baking cups/liners
Sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside. ( I measure the flour out into a bowl on my food scale as I sift it)
Using a stand mixer cream eggs and sugar 2 minutes until pale. Add in the melted butter, lemon juice, zest, ricotta and extracts until well mixed on medium. Slowly add in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides with a spatula. Mix again on medium for 30 seconds. The batter should be smooth and silky
Spoon the batter into the tins about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20-25 min until golden or the tops bounce back when slightly pressed or a skewer comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 min then remove the cupcakes and cool completely on wire racks before frosting.
Meyer Lemon Buttercream recipe
My own recipe
3 sticks of butter, softened or at room temp
4 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tbsp meringue powder ( optional - this helps keep the frosting stiff for piping. Not needed if not piping on)
2 teaspoons heavy cream
dash of salt - if not using salted butter
Cream the butter on medium in an electric mixer with either the paddle attachment or whisk. I personally like the whisk for nice fluffy frosting. Add in the sugar one cup at a time until incorportated then mix on high a few seconds to fluff. Repeat with the rest of the sugar a cup at a time. Add in the zest, juice and salt. Beat on high once all is incorporated and fluffy.
I used unsalted butter and added in salt. My only salt I have is sea salt in a grinder so there were some larger flakes which I thought tasted great with the tangy sweet frosting . I would get little zingers of salty with the sweet and sour. Really good in my opinion!!!