I am a honey addict. Which is why, in just a few hours I will be heading out to pick up a few thousand honeybees to start another season of “honey farming”. Yes, it’s true….my name is Linda and I am a Beek (beekeeping geek).
It started out innocently enough a few years ago, when I saw an article offering a free seminar for would-be beekeepers. Interesting, I thought – a great way to fight against colony collapse, pollinate my garden and maybe get a jar or two of honey on the side. Flash forward 3 years and I now have 2 full hives in my little center city backyard that, in a good year, will supply me with 30-50 pounds of the best all-natural, organic honey I’ve ever tasted. Those busy little bees have hooked me up with enough honey to supply me with a year’s worth of Christmas, birthday and hostess gifts with plenty left over to sweeten my tea, stir into my yogurt or even straight to soothe a sore throat. As I write this, I see a two gallon bucket of honey on top of the fridge, leftover from last summer’s harvest.
Honey truly is nectar from the gods – sweet, golden, sticky, syrupy perfection, truly there can be no way to improve on this gift from nature…..or can there? Since becoming a beek (and I admit, even using the term “Beek” is probably the epitome of geekiness), I find myself tuning into all things bee and honey related. And it was in this frame of mind that I stumbled upon the only thing in the world that could be better than pure honey – Bärenjäger honey liqueur. Oh.My.Goodness. There is nothing I don’t like about this liqueur. From the cute little beehive shaped cap, to the braided straw-covered bottle, to the way it smells, the way it tastes, to the 35% A.B.V., this German gem of golden liqueur has become by far my favorite of all liqueurs. Front and center in the liquor cupboard, a potent potable so perfect, it doesn’t need much else. Mix it with a little fresh lemon juice over ice, served in a sugar-rimmed glass – heaven!
So of course I had to combine these loves of mine into a cupcake – a lemony, honey kissed cupcake, brushed with Bärenjäger and topped with light, fluffy Bärenjäger-infused lemon honey buttercream frosting. Sprinkle lightly with golden sanding sugar or a drizzle of pure honey and you’ve got some baked perfection.
And so, in honor of my 10,000 or so backyard guests, I offer you Bärenjäger Honey Lemon Cupcakes
Lemon Honey Cupcakes
Adapted from a Woman’s Day recipe
2 3/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon each of baking soda and baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
4 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons Bärenjäger
Heat oven to 350 degrees and line 24 muffin cups with liners
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl
In a separate bowl, whisk together sour cream, milk, lemon zest and lemon juice
In bowl of stand mixer, beat butter, honey and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Mixture will look curdled, don’t worry.
With mixer on low speed, add half of flour mixture, then the sour cream mixture, and then the remaining flour until just combined.
Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each cupcake tin. Bake 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove to rack to cool completely.
Poke each cupcake with several small holes using toothpick. Brush Bärenjäger on tops of each cupcake.
Bärenjäger Honey Lemon Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
4 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons Bärenjäger
2 – 3 tablespoons lemon juice
gold sanding sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons honey (optional)
Beat butter, honey and zest in bowl of stand mixer until creamed. On low speed, add confectioners sugar until blended. Add Bärenjäger and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Beat at high speed for several minutes until light and fluffy, adding more lemon juice if needed or to taste. Frost as desired. Decorate with sugar or honey drizzle, if desired.