These lemon muffins are something like a hybrid muffin-cupcake. They aren't heavy-dense like a muffin, but not entirely cakey light like a cupcake. Or maybe that's just how I make muffins. The batter seemed a bit stretchy when I was scooping it out so I was afraid I had overmixed it (heavy hands) but the texture of the baked muffin wasn't tough.
Taste-wise, they weren't super lemony but I think that was also because the tartness of the lemon was muted by the butter-sugar topping. I did add some lemon zest to the granulated sugar topping and I liked having that added lemon flavor. I opted not to add yellow food coloring as I prefer the yellow color to come from the egg yolks and the lemons rather than anything artificial.
The key thing when filling the cupcake cavities is to ensure the same amount of batter is used since you don't want too small of a muffin baking too much, alongside a giant muffin in the next cavity not baking enough. I tried the ice cream scoop method of doling out the batter since that technically almost forces you to scoop the same amount of batter into each muffin cavity. But I used my largest ice cream scoop and even that didn't seem like it put in enough batter into each cavity. So I ended up doing partial scoops to top them up. Which meant I eyeballed the amount of filling in each cavity anyway.
These would make a sweet start to the today, or a treat for an afternoon tea.
From Sugar Pies Food
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1-1/4 cups sour cream
2 large eggs
Zest of 1 large lemon, finely grated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2-4 drops yellow food coloring, optional (I didn't use any)
1/4 cup sugar, for topping
1 tablespoon butter, melted, for topping
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line muffin tin with liners or lightly grease.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix together lemon juice and lemon extract in measuring cup.
3. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar, and sour cream until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. Add lemon zest and yellow food coloring, if using, and mix.
4. Alternate flour and lemon juice mixtures in thirds, beginning and ending with flour. Mix just until combined.
5. Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes until tops are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.
6. Allow to cool in muffin tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from tin and allow to cool until just warm.
7. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and brush on top of each muffin. Place 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a small bowl and roll each muffin top in sugar.