Lemon-Lavender Pound Cakelets, with Lemon-Lavender Curd and Mascarpone Cream
These cupcakes are perfect for Spring!
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12 cupcakes.
For the cakes:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried lavender buds
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened, (1 stick)
- zest of two lemons (preferably Meyers)
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- zest of one lemon
- 1/3 cup lemon juice (preferably Meyer)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lavender buds
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 ounces unsalted butter, in 1" pieces, (1/2 a stick)
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream or half and half
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup mascarpone, (4 ounces)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream, (6 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cakes:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350º. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners.
Grind the lavender buds with a tablespoon of the sugar in a coffee grinder. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, ground lavender, butter and lemon zest. Beat on medium speed until fluffy and lightened in color, 3-4 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until combined, scraping as needed.
In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. With the mixer on low, add half the dries, mix until combined. Add the buttermilk, mix to combine, and then add the rest of the dries. Give the batter a final fold with a rubber spatula to make sure it is thoroughly mixed, then divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups. (A spring-loaded ice cream scoop works well for this.)
Bake the cupcakes, rotating once halfway through the baking time, for 20 - 25 minutes. The tops should spring back when pressed lightly with a finger, and a tester should come out clean. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely.
In a small saucepan, heat the zest, juice and buds to just below a simmer. Cover and let steep for 10 or 20 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg and yolks to combine. Bring the lemon juice mixture back to a bare simmer, and, whisking constantly, slowly pour into the egg mixture to temper. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, scraping the sides, bottom, and corners of the pot. Cook until thickened to the consistency of gravy, or 170º F, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and immediately whisk in the cold butter, cream and salt until combined. Strain through a fine mesh seive and into a small bowl, lay a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the curd, and chill in the refrigerator until needed. The curd will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Whip the mascarpone and cream together until they hold soft peaks. Sprinkle in the sugar and vanilla, and continue whipping until they hold firm peaks. Store in the fridge until needed, up to three days.
To assemble the cakes:
Use a chopstick to poke a hole in the center of the cakes, moving the end of the stick around to create a space for the curd. Spoon half of the curd into a piping bag fitted with a small, plain tip (or use the corner of a plastic baggie, snipping the corner when the bag is filled). Plunge the tip into the hole, and squeeze to fill. It's ok if some curd oozes up and out the top of the cake. Fill the rest of the cakes. (Alternatively, you can cut a cone-shaped section out of the top of the cake, then slice off the pointy end of the cone to make a disc. Eat the pointy scrap. Spoon some curd into the slot in the cake, then top with the cake coin to close the hole.)
Dollop the mascarpone cream on top of the cakes, and use a butter knife or offset spatula to smooth. Top with a few lavender buds and a bit of lemon zest.
Lemon-Lavender Pound Cakelets
Be sure to use organic, culinary lavendar for these cakes, rather than the pesticide-laden stuff used for potpourri and cosmetics. The cakes are best assembled just before serving, so that the cake part can be room temperature and soft, but the curd and cream cold. Extra cakes can be stored in the fridge for up to a day or two.
This recipe makes about 1 cup of curd, which is twice what you will need to fill the cakes. Extra curd can be enjoyed on toast, with scones or muffins, or stirred into plain yogurt, possibly topped with strawberries.
Since I made these cakes with cream leftover from another cake, I'm not positive about the amounts. This should work just fine, though. You can use a stand mixer, or a large bowl and a whisk if you're feeling butch. If you overwhip and the cream begins to clump up and seize in the direction of butter, not all is lost: gently fold in a few tablespoons of unwhipped heavy cream with a rubber spatula to loosen the mixture.
Nutritional values are based on one serving.
Calories: 380kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 136mg | Potassium: 95mg | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 845IU | Vitamin C: 4.8mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 1mg