Even my kids enjoyed these super fancy Gluten Free Thai Basil Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Curd and Thai Basil Lemon Buttercream. It’s a burst of fresh summer flavors in your mouth!
Did I ever tell you about the $300+ garden that we planted in our side yard because “everything grows so well in Hawaii”??? Oh yeah, and did I tell you that half the fruits/veggies never grew and within two months everything was dead?
Well, except for the random Thai basil plant that had somehow survived and managed to sprout itself another plant on the complete opposite side of the garden bed. But besides that weird fluke, EVERYTHING was dead. And instead of forging forward with extra dedication and determination, I just gave up…because also, I hate slugs. And gardening involves slugs. Lots and LOTS of slugs.
Yep, that was a fun experience. My poor mother-in-law’s hard work went directly down the drain because apparently I do NOT have a green thumb, nor do I have the desire to.
Actually, let me take that back. I have the desire to grow my own fresh food. However, I lack the patience, focus, and hard work that it takes to successfully grow fresh food. You can just find me at the grocery store.
But how I wish that we were one of the lucky houses here in Hawaii that has a mango, avocado, guava, lemon, etc. tree that grows in our yard by happenstance. We have so many friends and neighbors with these types of tree and they are always complaining that they can’t keep up with all the fruit. Well boo for them. I want their trees.
That’s my kind of gardening. Plant a tree, let good old Mother Nature take care of the watering, and receive bountiful bundles of fruit once or twice a year. That I can do.
But until a tree miraculously appears in our yard, I’ll just continue to rely on neighbors dropping off fresh fruit at our doorstep. Even easier. I don’t even have to pick it myself.
A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine gave me a lemon that was, no joke, almost the size of Emry’s head. That one lemon alone produced enough zest AND juice to create these Gluten Free Thai Basil Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Curd and Thai Basil Lemon Buttercream.
Since Thai basil was the only living remnant of my garden, I figured why not throw a little sophistication into this cupcake and give it a slight earthy tone. This cupcake truly pays homage to the standard of “homegrown”. And the pairing of the tart lemon and aromatic basil was absolutely divine. Deliciousness at its finest.
The cake has a subtle lemon flavor with a light airy texture that is a result of using extra virgin olive oil as my fat. Olive oil really rounds out the flavors in this cake, but gives off no bitterness or aftertaste. In fact, you can’t even taste the olive oil at all. It really just makes the cake slightly richer in flavor. It compliments the slight Thai basil flavor very nicely.
As if this cake wasn’t enough, I just had to fill it with an ultra tangy Thai basil lemon curd. This stuff I could lick by the spoonful! You can make it with or without the addition of the basil. I was just on a basil kick…obviously.
Now I use slightly less sugar in my lemon curd than some traditional recipes out there, but I don’t like my desserts to be sickeningly sweet. I thought this curd had just the perfect ratio of sweet to tang. You gotta have at least a little kissy face when you’re eating something lemony. That’s half the fun!
And then this frosting. Sometimes I get down on myself that buttercreams are the only frostings I know how to make, but then they turn out this good and I think, “Why would I make anything else?!”
Yes, yes. That really is just another excuse for being lazy and not teaching myself new skills. But regardless of my lack of motivation to make other frostings, this frosting was legit. Creamy, tangy, sweet, and smooth.
Top these beauties off with some toasted coconut and maybe some added lemon zest and you’ve got yourself pure perfection on a plate. And if you have any extra lemon curd after filling the cupcakes, you can sit there slurping it with a spoon, admiring all your hard work and thinking about who you want to share it with…assuming you’ll want to share.
Do you consider yourself a garden master?
- For the Cake:
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 1½ cups organic cane sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup super fine white rice flour
- ¾ cup potato starch
- ½ cup coconut flour
- ⅓ cup gluten free oat flour
- ¼ cup tapioca starch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ½ cup milk (I used 1%)
- 1½ teaspoon finely chopped Thai basil
- For the Curd:
- zest of 3 lemons (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- 1 stick butter
- 4 eggs
- dash of salt
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon finely chopped Thai basil
- For the frosting:
- 1½ sticks butter, room temperature
- 6-7 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1½ teaspoons lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- dash of salt
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped Thai basil
- toasted coconut (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together olive oil, cane sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.
- In a smaller mixing bowl, sift together white rice flour, potato starch, coconut flour, oat flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and xanthan gum.
- In another smaller bowl or mixing cup, stir together lemon juice, milk, lemon zest and Thai basil.
- Alternate adding dry ingredients and lemon juice mixture to batter, mixing on low speed and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Mix on low an additional 30 seconds until batter is well combined.
- Fill cupcake liners ¾ way full and bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes or until tops spring back at touch of a finger and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
- Let sit on cooling rack for 3-5 mins then remove from pan and continue cooling on cooling rack.
- To make lemon curd, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time, beating in between additions until well combined. Add lemon zest and salt and mix until combined. With mixer on low speed, slowly add in lemon juice and mix until combined. Pour into a saucepan and cook on medium low heat (just before boiling) for 10-12 minutes until thickened, stirring often. Stir in Thai basil. Cover and chill for 1 hour.*
- To make frosting, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add an additional cup of powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add lemon juice, vanilla, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk. Beat until smooth. Add 2 more cups of powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add 1-2 more cups of powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. Add more milk if needed. Fold in Thai basil and lemon zest.
- To assemble cupcakes, core out the middle with an apple corer or knife, leaving ¼" of the bottom so filling doesn't fall through. Fill centers with curd to the top. Pipe or spread frosting on top. Garnish as desired.
- Store leftover cupcakes in an airtight container in fridge for up to 3 days or in freezer for up to 3 months.