My daughter is in third year German in high school. Each year the language classes host what they call “Flex Week”. One part of Flex Week is that each student brings in a recipe that is authentic to their language. “Zitronenkuchen” translates to lemon cake, and these little beauties really live up to their name! Bursting with lemon flavor, this recipe was actually for a cake, but I chose to make mini muffins to make easier individual servings.
Last year for Flex Week I made Partybrot, which is a wonderful German pull part bread, perfect for a party, hence the name. For Kristen’s first year in German we made Homemade German Pretzels, and they were sooo good! So this year we decided something sweet was in order, but Frau’s* one rule is that you can’t bring German Chocolate Cake.
* Frau is how they address the German teacher. The definition is “used as a courtesy title in a German-speaking area before the surname or professional title of an adult woman.”
I originally found this recipe at Angie’s Kitchen, however hers contained cranberries (which sounds so yum!) and was baked in a loaf pan. I’ve adjusted my recipe for baking mini muffins, so if you prefer to try a loaf pan version or regular sized muffins, check the baking alternatives at the end of the recipe below.
Mini Lemon Cakes (Zitrone Mini-Kuchen)
adapted from German Lemon Cake – Zitronenkuchen
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 3/4 sticks (14 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin tins with paper liners or spray the cups of a mini muffin tin.
Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.
In mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment cream butter, sugar and pinch of salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, alternately mixing in a tablespoon of flour mixture after each addition.
Turn mixer down to medium-low and add the whipping cream, then lemon juice and zest. Turn mixer down to low and gradually add the flour mixture until combined.
Divide the batter among the mini muffin cups. Bake mini muffins for 15-17 minutes.
Remove and cool in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely.
For the glaze:
Sift the powdered sugar in a bowl and add in the lemon juice. Stir to combine. Drizzle glaze over the mini muffins. Allow the glaze to set before serving.
Regular muffin pan: 20-22 minutes
Loaf pan: 65-85 minutes
If baking in a loaf pan, after 35 minutes cover the cake with a sheet of foil greased with butter.
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