Cooking with Thyme: Lemon Thyme Cupcakes

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For your next tea date, prepare these moist and buttery Lemon Thyme Cupcakes.

My friend Lisa Yockelson’s wonderful lemon pound cake inspired these rich, buttery, lemony, moist little cakes with a tender crumb and a pleasing herbal aroma. They are good warm or at room temperature. MAKES 12 CUPCAKES 

• 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons finely minced lemon thyme
• 3/4 cup milk
• 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3 tablespoons lemon juice

1. Place cupcake papers in, or lightly butter and flour, a cupcake pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, tossing ­lightly. In a measuring cup, add 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of the thyme to the milk along with the lemon zest and stir well.Cream the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add 1 cup of the sugar and beat for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each one and scraping down the sides if necessary. Beat the batter until it is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat for a minute longer.

3. On low speed, blend in half the dry ingredients, add the milk mixture and mix well, and then blend in the rest of the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides and be sure that the batter is well blended. Spoon the batter evenly into the cups of the pan.

4. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are just starting to turn golden brown and a tester comes out clean. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar with the lemon juice and the remaining 1 teaspoon thyme and stir well to dissolve the sugar. When the cakes are done, remove the pan from the oven and brush them with the lemon glaze. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove them to cool on a rack.

Susan Belsinger writes regularly for The Herb Companion and is the author of many books, most recently Basil: An Herb Lover’s Guide, with Thomas DeBaggio. She lives in Brookeville, Maryland.

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