• Lemon & Verbena Cupcakes
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Lemon & Verbena Cupcakes

Lemon & Verbena Cupcakes by Ayala Moriel
Lemon & Verbena Cupcakes, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
That wonderful lemon verbena in the gardens in the village where I was staying truly inspired me to make a verbena-soaked lemon loaf. But I didn't have my loaf pan, so I made cupcakes instead! I used a bit of semoline instead of all-flour as you'd find in most cupcake recipes. This adds a nice grainy texture, and interest to what is otherwise a very simple yellow batter. However, it is also packed with lemony tartness and aroma, from both the juice and the zest.

For the glazing, I've used both lemon verbena tisan (brought to room temperature, of course), and along with the vanilla sugar, it had an intense lemon-candy flavour, just like that of the classic Israeli lemon popsicles (which are amazing). Must be all that citral and vanillin. Mouthwateringly delicious, and would make a great addition for a Shabat afternoon tea. Shabat Shalom! 
For the batter:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina (cream of wheat)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk * 
zest from one lemon
1 Tbs lemon juice

Lemon Verbena Glazing:
2 Tbs strong tisane from fresh** lemon verbena leaves
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 package vanilla sugar

- Preheat oven to 180C (350F)
- Butter and flour a dozen-cup muffin tin (or use paper cupcake liners)
- Cream together the butter and sugar
-  Add and beat the eggs, one at a time until light and fluffy
- Add vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest, and beat just until incorporated
- Sift together the flour, semolina, baking powder and salt
- Add half of the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated.
- Add half the milk and continue stirring
- Add the remaining two halves of the flour and milk, gently folding mixing until fully incorporated 
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in cupcake comes out clean
- In the meantime, prepare the glazing by beating together the lemon verbena tisane, lemon juice and vanilla sugar. Gradually add the icing sugar and continue beating until smooth and runny.
- When the cupcakes are ready and have cooled down, brush them with the glazing.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. Do not refrigerate!

* Of your choice, can be dairy or non-dairy
** Substitute with dry leaves if you don’t have them.
  • CupcakesLemonLemon VerbenaNeroliOrange Flower WaterRecipe
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