There is something to be said about the month of August. When the days and nights are warm, bedtimes get pushed out later, we head to the hills to keep cool. Lake and river swims are mandatory and ice-cream/popsicles are a daily requirement. The days are less routine and have a bit of whimsy to them. I have been packing in as much fun as I can with my boys, bug catching, berry picking, night swims at the public pool and cobblers for breakfast. These boys of mine are growing up fast and I don't want to miss too much.
I know this summer lifestyle is coming to an end. The daily routine of early bedtimes, homework, soccer practices and morning lunch making will be back into the equation of life. I'm gearing up for it and the excitement of a new school year. In the mean time I'll savor the last bit of summer. This has been one great summer.
August also offers up the best of summer produce and the anticipation of Fall and all its goodness. I have ramping it up in the baking department with pies and tarts, day dreaming about savory tomato tarts and veggie laden quiches. This little gem of a cake is surely a summer must. The lemon flavor of these cupcakes come form not only the zest and juice of a lemon but also a lemon drizzle after the cupcakes have baked. The zucchini does a great job of keeping the cakes moist and the addition of lemon curd to the mascarpone makes the recipe legit. It delivers on all things lemon.
There are still a few weekends left booked with camping trips and coveted time spent with friends and family ( and Rorik's birthday month). I'm cherishing these days of whimsy while they last, I hope your are too. There is no time like the present.
7 oz zucchini (1-2; small zucchini)
3/4 cup soft butter, plus extra for greasing pan
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1 Tbsp extra
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs room temperature
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 cup good quality lemon curd
1 cup mascarpone
2 tsp poppy seeds
Coarsely grate the zucchini, skins and all. You should have about 1 1/2 cups. Spread them out between paper towels and set aside for a few minutes while you get everything thing else ready.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the holes of a 12 cup nonstick muffin pan, or use 12 deep paper liners. Finely grate the zest from the lemon and squeeze the juice. Put the zest, 2 tablespoons of juice, and the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowel. Beat using an electric mixer until creamy and pale.
Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together, then sift on top of the butter and sugar mixture. Crack in the eggs, then beat everything together until evenly blended. Try not to overwork the batter once the flour has gone in.
Fold in poppy seeds and grated zucchini, then spoon into the prepared pan. The cups will seem fairly full, which is fine.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until they have risen and are golden, and a skewer inserted into cakes comes out clean. Mix the rest of the lemon juice with the extra sugar and let it melt together, stirring occasionally, while the cakes cook. When cakes are ready to come out of the oven, poke holes in the tops of the cakes with a toothpick and spoon lemon syrup over them. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove to cooling rack.
To make frosting, put lemon curd and mascarpone in a large bowl and beat with a spatula until smooth and evenly blended. Dollop it onto the cooled cakes just before eating swirl with spoon or small icing spatula.
Sprinkle with poppy seeds to finish. The cupcakes are best enjoyed fresh, but keep any leftover cakes in a cool place or the refrigerator once the frosting has been added.