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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lemons, lemons everywhere...

Yes, dust off your microplanes and zesters, we are well and truly back into lemon season. People are bringing bags of lemons into work, making as many preserved lemons as they can squeeze into their store of empty jars, making babies make funny faces by feeding them lemon slices and advertising free lemons on the uni trading list (which by the way has had some hilarious things for sale on it lately... anyone willing to pay $50 for a rosemary bush that you have to dig up yourself?).

I had an overabundance of lemons recently due to a friend of mine owning a lemon tree that could rival the Gloucester Tree, and I was going to a friend's place for an impromptu Mexican Fiesta dinner so I decided to put them to good, desserty use.

Coles had a deal recently where you got a free Philadelphia recipe book, called Simply Heaven, with the purchase of any three Philadelphia products, and given that Philly lasts for so long and I would no doubt easily use three cartons of it before it went off, I let this clever marketing ploy work exactly as they had planned. It's actually a pretty decent cookbook, with some interesting uses of Philly and a photo for every recipe, so I'm sure I'll be going back to it for more "inspiration for everyday cooking and those special occasions when you want to impress" as they spruik in the introduction of the book.

I can see it now... I've set the most amazing table you've ever laid eyes on, with beautiful origami napkins and sparkling crystal glassware; the kitchen is spotlessly clean despite the amazing Philadelphia feast I've cooked up for whomever it is I am wanting to impress on this special occasion; I serve up dish after dish to the rapturous joy of my guest/s and eventually they exclaim "Conor, there is just something so SPECIAL about these dishes, but I can't quite put my finger on it", and I turn to the camera and wink, whispering "Thanks, Philly!".

So, in search of inspiration and with lemons a-plenty I flicked through my new cookbook looking for something that wouldn't require any ingredients I didn't already have on hand and that would be quick and easy to make. I soon came across an Iced Lemon Pound Cake recipe, and of course decided that instead I would turn it into cupcakes, and also add some poppyseeds.

These were tasty, soft, moist cupcakes and went down a treat after we had all gorged ourselves on too many delicious tacos, washed down with a margarita or five.

Lemon & Poppyseed Cupcakes
Adapted from "Iced Lemon Pound Cake" recipe in Philadelphia's Simply Heaven cookbook

1/8 cup poppyseeds
Enough milk to cover poppyseeds
250 g cream cheese, softened (I used the light stuff)
1 3/4 cup caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup oil (I used vegetable)
2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
Grated rind of 2 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon

1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
Juice of 1 small lemon

Lemon threads for decoration (I used shredded coconut instead)

1. Add just enough milk to the poppyseeds in a mug/bowl to cover them, and let them sit for at least half an hour.
2. Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually beat in the eggs and oil then stir in the flour, lemon rind and juice. Mix until combined, then stir through the poppyseeds.

Go on, stick your finger in!

3. Spoon the mixture into lined cupcake trays, filling them to around 3/4 full. Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees C) for 20 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
4. Remove from trays and allow to cool completely on wire rack before icing.

5. Combine the icing sugar with enough lemon juice to form a thin-ish icing (you don't want it to run down the sides, so don't make it too thin). Drizzle/spread over the cupcakes then sprinkle on lemon threads or shredded coconut.


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella November 4, 2009 at 4:51 PM  

I'm so happy it's lemon season-I just bought some today (sadly I don't have access to a tree like you do). They look so light and fluffy!

Iron Chef Shellie November 4, 2009 at 8:53 PM  

ROFL!! Thanks Philly ;)

My mum got sucked into this marketing ploy too... but if she didn't, I know I would have.

These look yum! .... I bought some lemon & poppyseed FUDGE at the Salamanca Markets :P I had never been into fudge until I got free fudge :P haha

Chef Shari November 4, 2009 at 10:05 PM  

I have two huge lemons almost ripe on my tree, this sounds like a wonderful idea for one. Thanks for sharing!

Vegetable Matter November 4, 2009 at 11:43 PM  

These look great. Tell your friend to send some lemons our way!

Evelyne@Cheap Ethnic Eatz November 5, 2009 at 12:17 AM  

Sigh...I wish I lived somewhere where citrus trees grew...They looks delicious

penny aka jeroxie November 5, 2009 at 4:13 AM  

So cute! I love those pretty and moist looking cupcakes. Must make use of all lemons too!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite November 5, 2009 at 4:41 AM  

These DO look amazing. I think you should approach Philadelphia with your idea for their next TV campaign!!!

Liz November 5, 2009 at 4:44 AM  

Miam! I really like these flavors, and the cupcakes are so cute!

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge November 5, 2009 at 9:19 AM  

lmao, you should do a commercial for hemorrhoids and philly.....catch phrase "thanks philly, a million and one uses!"

Awesome post! I love you're style. Recipe looks pretty damn good too. Cupcakes....how can you go wrong with cupcakes!?!

A cupcake or two November 5, 2009 at 6:04 PM  

Lemons are lovely. I just love them. You should try lemons with the keylime pie recipe that I have on my blog. I think it would work well as a lemon pie.. mmmm

Trissa November 5, 2009 at 10:18 PM  

Thanks Philly! ahh err... Thanks Conor for the hilarious AND informative post. Now send some lemons our way!

Pam November 6, 2009 at 12:24 AM  

I love lemon anything so these cupcakes look really tasty to me.

Karine November 6, 2009 at 10:00 AM  

I heart lemon poppy cupcakes! :)

Speaking of lemon, I saw the strangest lemon today called Buddha's hand. I so love their shape!

CheapAppetite November 6, 2009 at 11:44 AM  

hmmm lemon poppyseed cup cake. Looks realy yummy:) Double lemon goodness on both the cake and icing. I love it.

kitchenero November 7, 2009 at 5:10 AM  

I can't stick *poke* my *poke* finger *poke* in!

*still poking at the screen*

Anita November 8, 2009 at 7:06 PM  

Hahaha, I love the Philladelpia comments. My mum also "fell" for their marketing scheme and got me the pilly and book. I would love an abundance of lemons... I have 2 lemons trees, but they're too young to get any lemons from. I'll keep this recipe in mind for when I get some.

Belle@OohLook November 9, 2009 at 8:17 AM  

I did see the Philly cookbook offer but wasn't sure if I wanted to get 3 products. After seeing your cupcake effort, I think I will! Your lemon cake looks fabulous.

Conor @ HoldtheBeef November 9, 2009 at 4:03 PM  

Lorraine - Now I just need to find myself a friend with an overloaded lime tree. And maybe some friends with stone fruit orchards :D

Iron Chef Shellie - fudge, haha! We need to organise interventions for each other from across the country :) Yes I saw the chicken cheesecake in the cookbook and actually thought of your mum!

Chef Shari - thanks, and you're welcome!

Vegetable Matter - cheers! I'll ask, but I can't promise anything :)

Evelyne - move to Australia! Problem solved!

penny - thanks! It's a shame I don't have the guts to just eat em like apples, like my sister used to do when she was little :)

Mardi - thank you! Perhaps I could get you to approach them for me, seeing as you're a big food star now :)

Liz - Merci!!

Maria - oh man, you had to go there didn't you? I'll never look at a tub of philly in the same way again!
Cheers :) and I agree that cupcakes are un-wrongable...we could solve a lot of the world's problems with cupcakes! Perhaps not the whole obesity epidemic thing though..

A cupcake or two - oh yes, great idea! Mmmmmmm indeed.

Trissa - haha, thanks. I would, but you just can't trust Australia Post not to steal them for their own nefarious zesty purposes!

Pam - thanks :)

Karine - ooooh they look scary! Like Cthulhu!

CheapAppetite - thank you :) double good, oh yeah!

kitchenero - oh now you've gone and made the screen all smeary!

Anita - ooh two trees, you're going to be rolling in lemons soon enough! Or umm.. just eating lots of them, I guess you don't have to roll in them if you don't feel like it. They are kind of hard after all.

Belle - There are some good recipes in there! I wonder if you could freeze the philly if you weren't going to use it all in time? And thank you! :D

Anonymous November 10, 2009 at 2:02 AM  

Oh my, these are one of my favorite muffins. Yum.

Anonymous November 11, 2009 at 1:58 PM  

Yay for the lemon season! Your cupcakes look so fluff and yum. Love the icing with shredded coconut.

Conor @ HoldtheBeef November 13, 2009 at 8:35 AM  

tastyeatsathome - hard to go past the freshness of these flavours :)

Ellie - thanks! Hooray for summer!

Rilsta @ My Food Trail November 13, 2009 at 2:03 PM  

Yum! The cupcakes look fantastic! I wish I had an overabundance of lemons - my lemon tree is looking decidely bare! There are a few lemon trees in my neighbourhood with a sh*tload of lemons on them - I am so tempted to help myself to some - surely they won't mind?! hehe

Conor @ HoldtheBeef November 13, 2009 at 6:26 PM  

Thanks Rilsta! You should take some for sure, they so often get wasted. Just maybe do it under the cover of darkness!

Julia @Mélanger November 16, 2009 at 11:57 AM  

Lemons are one of my favourite things. I am so happy it's lemon season. I saw that cookbook and was tempted to get those products, but don't really eat that much cream cheese. But in saying that, these little cakes look deliciously moist.

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My love of cooking is surpassed only by my love of eating, though I never quite recovered from the beef I was served at college. I'll try almost anything once, but it takes a very special piece of offal or beef to get me to try it again.

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