Two Lemon Cupcakes with Brown Butter Bay Leaf Buttercream

The heart doesn't break. Expectations and dreams do. When we deal with emotional hardship, our bodies register it as physical pain. 

Letting go of an idea or wish can be a painful task. These cupcakes were created to encourage letting go.

This has to be my favorite recipe. I say that a lot, but let me explain myself. This recipe is simple and full of heart. This recipe makes exactly two cupcakes. You can have both, or share the other with someone you love. The cake itself is light and tastes of honey. The buttercream is just enough and flavorful. It's a great pick-me-up treat.

I recommend measuring all the ingredients out before starting this recipe—it helps create a mindful process. Part of what makes this recipe special is the heart and care you put into it.

You Make These Cupcakes Meaningful

When making this recipe, think of something you want to shed. When adding in the lemon zest, picture this difficulty moving further away. When mixing in the honey, think of something sweet to substitute that piece of negativity.

Envision these unwanted mental connections evaporating as the cakes rise in the oven.

This baking practice is to encourage calm and aid stress. Healing is never a one-step process, it is a continuous project.


Yield: 2 cupcakes
The Cake:
  • 4 Tablespoons (25g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon (1g) baking powder
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 2 Tablespoons (42g) honey
  • 1 Tablespoon (8g) olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon (13g) room temperature sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon (13g) room temperature milk
  • 1 small egg white
The Buttercream:
  • 3 Tablespoons (43g) unsalted butter
  • 1-2 fresh bay leaves or 1 dry bay leaf
  • 6 Tablespoons (30g) powdered sugar
  • dash of vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • bee pollen
  • sea salt
  • lemon zest

Making the brown butter:
  • The night before you want to make these cupcakes you want to prep the buttercream.
  • Place the butter into a small saucepan over medium heat. Move the butter around constantly as it melts and then browns. The brown butter is finished once it smells nutty and has turned amber in color.
  • Pour the brown butter into a heat-safe container and place with it some bay leaves. Seal the container and let it sit overnight on the counter. This will encourage all the flavors to come out of the bay leaves.
  • If you're really in a pinch, refrigerate the brown butter until it's solid. However, you won't get the same flavor as you would letting the flavors steep overnight.
Making the cupcakes:
  • Preheat the oven to 350F°
  • Make two stacks of 3 or more cupcake liners. Layering the cupcake liners creates a sturdy vessel for the cakes to bake in. Place the two stacks of cupcake liners on a baking sheet and set them aside. 
    • Alternatively, you can place two cupcake liners in the most center cups of a muffin pan.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  • In a separate small bowl, mix together the honey, olive oil, sour cream, vanilla, and lemon zest.
  • Place half of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix. Next, pour in the milk and mix. Lastly, add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
  • In a small bowl, beat the egg white with an electric hand mixer until you get stiff peaks.
  • Fold the whipped egg white into the batter using a rubber spatula. Do this gently and stop once it's incorporated.
  • Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake liners. The batter will reach towards the top of the liner.
  • Bake at 350F° for 10-13 minutes, or until the cakes bounce back to the touch.
  • Allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
Making the Buttercream:
  • In a small bowl, whip the solidified brown butter until fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and pinch of salt. Beat together until it is light in color and smooth.
Putting it together:
  • Once the cupcakes are cool, frost them with a butter knife or a spoon.
  • Top with whatever garnishes you like and indulge!
Enjoy! If you made this recipe post it to Instagram Instagram free icon using the #ingrainedkitchen hashtag and mentioning @ingrainedkitchen


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