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Honey lemon cupcakes topped with dried pineapple flowers.

Honey Lemon Cupcakes with Dried Pineapple Flowers

Heather Smoke
Soft, moist and fluffy honey lemon cupcakes, with salted honey buttercream and edible dried pineapple flowers.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 cupcakes

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer with Whisk Attachment

Ingredients
  

Dried Pineapple Flowers

  • 1 fresh pineapple (NOT canned)

Cupcakes

  • cup lemon juice, fresh or bottled
  • cup whole milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • cup full-fat sour cream
  • cup vegetable oil
  • cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cups cake flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)

Buttercream

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp meringue powder
  • ¾ tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp honey

Instructions
 

Pineapple Flowers

  • Preheat the oven to 200 F, with the rack positioned in the lower third of the oven.
  • Set a cooling rack on a large baking sheet. Since you'll have more pineapple slices than can fit on one rack, you can stack several cooling racks on the same baking sheet by using balls of aluminum foil as "risers" between each rack.
  • Cut the top and bottom off the pineapple. Slice off the rough peel, then use a paring knife to remove the "eyes". Be sure to leave the pineapple core intact.
  • Lay the pineapple on its side and cut very thin slices, as thin as you can get them, about 1/16 of an inch thick. Pat the excess moisture out of the pineapple slices with paper towels, then arrange the slices on the cooling racks.
  • Bake the pineapple slices for about 2 hours, rotating the pan halfway through. If you sliced them thin enough, they should feel pretty dry after two hours, with the edges getting crinkly and golden brown.
  • Remove the pan from the oven, and immediately press the hot pineapple slices into a cupcake pan (a mini cupcake pan with 24 cups works very well) to mold them into a cupped flower shape. If you don't work quickly, they will stiffen up and won't easily conform to the cups. If this happens, return the baking sheet to the oven for a few minutes to soften the pineapple up so you can mold the flowers.
  • Let the pineapple cool completely. Initially, the flowers will be slightly crisp as they cool, but they do tend to soften up again as they sit. Keep the flowers in the cupcake pan until you're ready to use them, to help them maintain their shape. It's not advised to make the pineapple flowers more than 24 hours before you'll be using them.

Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line a standard-sized cupcake/muffin pan with 24 paper liners.
  • In a measuring cup, stir together the lemon juice and milk; set aside for about 15 minutes to let the milk curdle.
  • Measure the sugar into a large bowl, and zest the lemon over the sugar. Use your fingers to rub the lemon zest into the sugar to really infuse the lemon flavor.
  • To the bowl of lemon sugar add the lemon juice, milk, honey, eggs, egg white, sour cream, oil, melted butter and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
  • Separately, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients and whisk for 10-15 seconds until smooth.
  • Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to measure the cake batter into the paper liners, filling them 2/3 full.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, until the tops spring back when lightly touched.
  • Cool for several minutes in the pan, then gently transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Buttercream

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for one minute until smooth.  Scrape the bowl down.  With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar, meringue powder and salt, mixing to combine.  Add the vanilla.
  • Beat on medium high for about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl down occasionally, until very light and fluffy.  Add the honey and beat for 2 more minutes. Turn the speed down to "stir" and mix for 1 minute to reduce the air bubbles.
  • Fit a piping bag with your favorite piping tip, fill with buttercream, and pipe the buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes.
  • Before serving, top the cupcakes with the dried pineapple flowers.

Notes

  • I’ve only made this recipe using cake flour, and it produces a very light, fluffy cake.  All-purpose flour will not give you quite the same result, but should still be fine.  Be sure to sift the flour to get out any lumps.
  • Store any leftover cupcakes in an airtight container for 2-3 days.  The cupcakes will stay soft and moist for several days, but the pineapple flowers will look their best within the first 24 hours.
Keyword Cupcakes, High Altitude Cupcakes, Honey, Lemon, Pineapple