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Lemon-Raspberry Cupcakes



If you're looking for a cupcake recipe that's a little different, try this one! Lemon juice and zest is added to the batter, so it's nice and citrusy. A crisp lemon-raspberry glaze goes on top, and a dollop of raspberry jam awaits you in the middle of the cupcake (okay, so my jam sank to the bottom -- maybe because I didn't have a thick enough batter?).

Next up, I'm going to try to tackle the ubiquitous strawberry sponge cake that can be found at just about any Asian bakery. You know the kind -- the cake is soft and airy, the icing is fluffy and not too sweet, and the strawberries just bring it all together. Trouble is, I simply can't find a recipe for one. I'm starting off with a Norwegian sponge cake recipe that is supposed to be similar, and working from there. I'll keep you posted.

Lemon-Raspberry Cupcakes
Bon Appetit, April 2008

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, divided
4 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel, divided
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
12 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam
Fresh raspberries (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Using electric mixer, beat butter, 1 1/2 cups powdered suga, and 3 teaspoons lemon peel in large bowl until blended, then beat until fluffy and pale yellow. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Beat in half of flour. Add buttermilk and 2 tablespoons lemon juice; beat to blend. Beat in remaining flour.

Drop 1 rounded tablespoonful batter into each muffin liner. Spoon 1 teaspoon raspberry jam over. Cover with remaining batter, dividing equally.

Bake cupcakes until tester inserted halfway into centers comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan on rack. Meanwhile, whisk remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon peel in small bowl. Spoon half of icing over 6 cupcakes. Whisk 1 tablespoon raspberry jam into remaining icing. Spoon over remaining cupcakes. Let stand until icing sets, about 30 minutes. Garnish with raspberries.

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Chicken Tikka Masala



Ah, chicken tikka masala. What's there not to love? Tender chicken with tasty charred bits, an ever so spicy, tart and creamy sauce... It's heaven! I saw this recipe on Posie's blog a few weeks ago, and have been planning to make it since. As soon as the weather cooled down enough to think about broiling anything, I pounced.

The original recipe was featured on America's Test Kitchen, and you can find a printed version on the Cook's Illustrated website without having to register. The key to their version is that the chicken is covered in yogurt before being broiled; it prevents the chicken from drying out too much, and it chars up nicely. I also peeled and diced up a fresh tomato instead of using canned -- after all, it's summer!

If you are going to cook basmati rice with this and are using a rice cooker, I find that the best way to end up with fluffy rice is to cook the rice and water in a 1:1 ratio. Add a few drops of oil or butter to the rice, and set it on 'white rice'. After the rice is done, pop open the lid and fluff the rice a little, then close the lid again and let it steam for about 10 minutes.

Go and make yourself some delicious Indian food!

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