These beautiful lemon ricotta cupcakes are so tender and moist they literally melt in your mouth. They are bursting with bright and sunny lemon flavour. For those of us who find lemon treats irristible this is a pretty healthy option as they have less fat and less sugar than a typical cupcake. The secrets are in some extra special ingredients: ricotta cheese and olive oil.
Olive oil is a healthy choice for baking and produces a wonderfully rich, moist and tender cake. Olive oil has many health benefits and is recommended as an important part of our diet. Don’t worry, they won’t taste like olive oil. The generous amounts of lemon zest and lemon juice guarantee the flavour is bright, tangy and unmistakably lemon. Olive oil is part of what makes these delicious cupcakes so terrific, but the ricotta cheese is also part of the magic.
Ricotta, the Italian fresh whey cheese, is completely underrated. It is creamy and mellow yet beautifully rounds out flavours. In baking it adds richness and tenderness without adding too much moisture. It is perfect for making cakes taste richer than they are.
Dressing up these cupcakes is easy. This time I opted for a light cream cheese frosting and berries, but a simple lemon glaze or whipped cream would be very elegant. To keep it healthier, a little honey sweetened Greek yogurt and fresh berries would be lovely as well.
Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes
7.9 oz all purpose flour*
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup ricotta
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Directions: Prepare muffin tins by lining with parchment paper liners and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Measure flour and mix in baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix all the other ingredients until well blended. Combine flour mixture with wet ingredients and blend only until combined (like making muffins). Scoop into muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes for large cupcakes and about 12 minutes for mini cupcakes. (A 1/4 cup measure works great for the large cupcakes and a medium cookie scoop is perfect for the minis.) This recipe makes 12 large cupcakes or 36 mini cupcakes. It also works well as a cake in a 9 inch round cake pan.
*7.9 oz flour is approx 1 3/4 cup but weighing is recommended for accuracy as flours can differ.
This recipe is adapted from Cooking Light.