Cupcakes are all the craze, each with a mound of cake, thick frosting, and often lots of kitschy names. Despite these things, I’m not sold. Why? Cake: often subpar. Frosting: don’t even get me started. Cupcakes do not have to be decadent to taste good. They also should never be pseudo-decadent. By this I mean fake fat: Baker’s butter, vegetable shortening-esque stuff with which to make frosting. No, thank you. I’d rather eat mine plain.
Sometimes all you need is just the cake and a little dollop of real sweetness. These are cupcakes for a different type of celebration. Not the typical single-digit birthday for elementary school classmates, or a baby shower, but the completion of one of the last exams I’ll have to take for the next ten years.
This is a simple, subtly citrus cake with moist crumb without being too sweet. It comes together quickly (I made this on a whim during Grub’s naptime). And the frosting? No time at all, and, honestly, not really frosting. Puddle your cupcakes, don’t frost them. Celebrate the recent April showers with puddles rather than misleadingly sugary-looking snow fluff.
- 1 cup 2% plain unsweetened yogurt
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup sugar
- zest of 1 lime and 1 clementine (I didn't think this was enough zest.)
- ¼ cup total of mixed lime, lemon, and clementine juices
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup + 2½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- sweetened sour cream (recipe in Notes section)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Assemble cupcake liners into tins. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, oil, sugar, lime zest and juice.
- Add the eggs one by one, whisking well after each addition.
- Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together, sifting into the yogurt batter. Stir with a spoon until just combined. Fill cupcake liners to a scant 1 centimeter below the top (or less if you want more cupcakes).
- Bake the cupcakes between 20 and 25 minutes. This can vary depending on oven temperature and how deep your cupcakes are, so watch carefully. A knife inserted in the center will come out clean. Transfer the pans to a cooling rack and cool before frosting. Cupcake centers will fall, creating a divet in which to spoon the sour cream (see photo above).