cupcakes | lemon | recipe | vanilla

Fairycakes, aka Lemony Snickets cupcakes.

October 10, 2007

Jay told me he liked plain vanilla cupcakes the best. I do too; sadly we share the exquisite and complex tastes of … well… children. But thats okay, because those are my favorite &his and what better to make than something you love & the person you love… er, loves?

Tonight I was bored. So what to do- BAKE. Drawing is not relaxing. Neither is painting, or anything related to it. But the following of a recipe is both time consuming and CONSTRUCTIVE and good for taking your mind off things. Baking is good for the soul. So is cooking, which is why I made homemade chicken fingers for dinner… but thats a whole ‘nother blog.

So these are buttery yellow vanilla cupcakes. But I couldn’t be tooooo boring. Yeah- they’re vanilla… with a surprise- a bit of lemon zest in there. Not too much, I’d hardly classify these as overly “lemon” flavored in any way. So subtle in fact, if I didn’t tell you I bet you’d never put your finger on what was “different.” And I really liked the frosting job I did on the these. The color was pretty. This frosting recipe is the best. These cupcakes themselves are the best, actually. I give them 5 stars. On par with Magnolia’s recipe, fer sure. To me anyway.

I shall call them… vanilla lemon soo-preeeeeze! (I’m saying that in the voice of Jim Carrey from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events…. imagine that if you will)… upon further reflection, “Lemony Snickets” is an even better name!

gaze into the beautiful deliciousness…



  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 large lemon (optional)*
  • 1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) milk



  • 2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Zest of 1 large lemon (optional)*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk or light cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and lightly butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

For the Cupcakes:

  1. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter and egg mixture, along with the milk, and beat until combined.
  3. Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing. If you want flat topped cupcakes then slice off the dome of each cupcake, with a sharp knife, before frosting.

For the Frosting:

  1. In an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk or sugar, if needed.
  4. Tint the frosting with desired food color (I use the Wilton icing colors in the little tubs).

Makes about 12 cupcakes.
I wanted to make little flowers on top but alas I got lazy. And I really wanted to eat ’em.

These were really good. REALLY. They’re “fairycakes”… as they say in jolly old England. Excellent recipe thanks to

*Lemon Zest – The yellow outer rind of the lemon that contains the fruit’s flavor and perfume. The rind being the outer skin of the lemon which consists of both the yellow zest and white membrane (pith)
AND… remember this…

Anything made with love can’t be bad for you. Despite the sugar content.


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