When I was a little girl (in the 90s), I lived near a little shopping area that had my grandmother’s bookstore in it. A few shops down from hers was a “penny candy store”. It was run by a retired man who charged just enough for the candy to pay to keep the store open. It was his hobby and for those of us in the area who knew about it, it was our joy. One of my absolute favorite things to pick out of his little front case were Lemonheads. Those little yellow spheres brought me so much joy on my walks back from his shop to my grandmother’s bookstore. With that in mind, you can imagine the joy I had when this little gift pack showed up at my doorstep:
When did they start making these Lemonheads in so many flavors and why didn’t I know before now?! These new flavors are so sassy.
I had to beat my family away with a stick, but I managed to keep these around long enough to turn them into something fitting for such an awesome candy: a cupcake of course. I have over 100 cupcake recipes I’ve designed sitting in a notebook in the kitchen and I knew my lemon pudding cake had to be it. For this, I’m using a homemade strawberry buttercream icing. If you’re not up for whipping up buttercream yourself there’s nothing wrong with using a pre-made icing, but I’ll show you the icing recipe in case you want to give it a shot.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 small package lemon flavored pudding mix
- 1 stick of butter (1/4 cup)
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup finely chopped strawberries
You will also need assorted Lemonheads. I’ve used classic lemon, cherry, and their Lemonhead gummies. Preheat your oven to 350 and line your pan with cupcake wrappers. For the cake, begin by combining all of your dry ingredients except the pudding mix. Mix in the pudding mix at the end.
Make a well in the center and add your wet ingredients. Mix this well. It should look a lot like already-set lemon pudding. (But don’t eat it quite yet!)
Put this in the oven for 17-20 minutes, just until a toothpick comes out clean. While this is cooking, grab or make your frosting.
If baking cakes is a science, making buttercream is an art. There are so many factors that can change its consistency, so it requires a lot of touch-and-go. Soften your butter (do not let it melt) and place it in a bowl. Whip it with your mixer until it’s light and fluffy. Put in your chopped strawberries and whip it well, about 2 minutes to get the strawberries combined. Now add your powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments. If it seems too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, add more strawberries. Once the cupcakes are cooled, pipe this on or spread it on with a butter knife.
To get the look of what I did above, use a large starburst tip and hold it steady while you squeeze, pointing straight down at the cupcake. Wiggle it slightly as you squeeze to get the folds.
The amazing thing about using cupcakes and candies is that the kids can decorate them too. I used lemonheads and some leftover strawberries to make the display above for my youngest son. He, in turn, used some to make something for his big brother to enjoy after school.
I love that there are so many variations of Lemonheads for me to work with now. Next up I’m going to be using their tropical and chewy varieties for some fun wish-Summer-would-never-end tropical cupcakes (hello coconut). How would you have your Lemonheads cupcakes?