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Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon and Pistachio

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Serves 12 | Prep Time 20 | Cook Time 25

Why I Love This Recipe

I developed this recipe while working with butter substitutions, happening upon a coconut oil and non-fat yogurt combination quite by accident. I love the texture of this cake--not dense but not crumbly either. The rich slightly fruity taste of the cake is complimented best by a lemon and pistachio icing.

Ingredients You'll Need

For the Cake:

2 1/2 c. white all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. coconut oil
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. non-fat plain yogurt
1/4 c. non-fat milk
3 egg whites

For the Topping:

1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 c. powdered sugar
2 lemons
a handful of unsalted pistachios, shelled and coarsely chopped


Preheat the oven 350. Line muffin pan with paper liners or grease the sides

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine milk, oil and vanilla extract in a small bowl.

In another medium bowl, beat the yogurt and sugar. Add the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry mixture alternately with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, until just blended. This is common in cake recipes, assuring batter that is not over-mixed while also avoiding clumps.

Disperse the batter among the lined muffin cups. I like to put the batter in a large Zip-loc bag and snip a corner so I can control the mess. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean. Remove cakes from pan to cool on a wire rack immediately.

With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy.

Zest two lemons onto a plate. Cut the lemons in half, then score each half with a plus mark and squeeze into a bowl. Mix ¼ cup of the lemon juice in with the butter and sugar until smooth then add the zested rind. Mix until the zest is well dispersed.

Spread the frosting in a manageable layer (note: you probably won’t need all of it) on the cakes once they are completely cooled and sprinkle with the chopped pistachios.

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