Aug 17

Lemon Mochi Cupcakes with Lemon Basil Buttercream Frosting

in Californian, Dessert, Events, Fuji Favorites

Lemon Mochi Basil Cupcake

I have had a crazy couple of weeks!  Between traveling, deadlines, dealing with normal life “stuff”, and then contracting a nasty stomach bug and pinkeye, I think I’m ready to sleep for the next 10 years.  So, to make a long story short, I’m finally getting around to telling you about my day at the Orange County Fair and sharing the recipe for the lemon mochi cupcakes with lemon basil buttercream frosting that I demoed!

At the Orange County Fair

The fair was fabulous, with plenty to see and do.  The Fuji family came out to enjoy the day and give me some moral support.  In fact, at one point during my demo, Bug called out from the audience, “Hi Mommy!”  It made my day.

Fuji Family at the OC Fair

I spent the day in the Exhibit Promenade where the Eat, Live, Grow exhibits were housed.

Live, Eat, Grow at the OC Fair exhibit Promenade

I did a demo of my lemon mochi cupcake recipe that I developed specially for the fair.  I think it went well—all the chairs were filled (no small feat at 11 o’clock in the morning!), no one left, and no one fell asleep!  The only mistake I made was forgetting to add the vanilla extract to my cupcake batter during the demo.  Not bad considering I was going on memory, and no biggie, since the cupcakes the audience sampled were baked ahead of time and had the vanilla extract in them!

That's me!Fuji Mama doing a cupcake demo

In the afternoon I was one of five judges for the Cupcake Classic—one of the OC Fair’s most popular events.  There were over 100 entries.  Multiply that by the required 4 cupcakes that each entrant must bring, and we had over 400 cupcakes sitting on our judging tables!  There were five categories that the cupcakes were divided into: Professional, Amateur-Chocolate, Amateur-Fruit, Amateur-Other, and Kids. Each of the judges took a category to judge.  Here we all are after judging: Babette Pepaj (BakeSpace), Amy Jurist (Amy’s Culinary Adventures), (The Cupcake Activist), me!, and Rachel Klemek (BLACKMARKET BAKERY)

OC Fair Cupcake Classic Judges

Photo Credit: Babette Pepaj,

I was put in charge of judging both youth divisions: 9 — 13 year olds and 14 — 18 year olds.  I have to say that the entries blew me away.  In the youth divisions every entry gets a ribbon, either blue, red, or white.  All of the entries were of such high caliber that I couldn’t bring myself to give out any white ribbons.  Those kids worked hard and it showed.  The overall winner of the 9 — 13 year old category was a boy who watched the judging anxiously at the edge of the stage.  He submitted a german chocolate cake cupcake—light chocolate cake with a toasted nut and coconut frosting.  It was killer.  It’s too bad that the youth divisions don’t get to go up against the adult divisions to compete for best in show, because I think his cupcake might have taken them all!  I talked to him and his mom afterwards and she said that although she helped him figure out how some of the baking stuff worked, etc., he did all the work.  The overall winner of the 14 — 18 year old category was also a boy, and he submitted a chocolate kalua “cub”cake.  It was decorated with the face of a bear and was very cute.

Cupcake entries in the 2011 Cupcake Classic

I enjoyed getting to taste such a wide variety of cupcakes and spend time with the other wonderful judges!  It was also wonderful to see Louise Mellor who is the in-house chef for the OC Fair and one of my favorite people.

Rachael and Louise Mellor

Okay, okay, I know why you’re really reading this post!  So here it is, the recipe for my lemon mochi cupcakes with lemon basil buttercream frosting.  ENJOY!

Lemon Mochi Cupcakes with Lemon Basil Buttercream Frosting

Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

Lemon Mochi Cupcakes with Lemon Basil Buttercream Frosting

Makes 12 Cupcakes

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup mochiko (glutinous rice flour)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2/3 cup whole plain yogurt, at room temperature
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 to 2/3 cup lemon curd
1 recipe lemon basil buttercream (recipe below)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, whisk together the flour, mochiko, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add the butter, eggs, egg yolks, yogurt, lemon zest, and vanilla extract.  Beat everything together at medium speed until the batter is smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until pale gold and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

4. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, use a pairing knife to cut a small well in the center of each cupcake.  Pipe the lemon curd into the center of each cupcake, then frost with the buttercream frosting.  These cupcakes are best the day they are made, although they will keep for a few days at room temperature.

Lemon Basil Buttercream

Makes enough frosting for 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
3 – 4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 – 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

1. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl.  Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar and the lemon juice.  Using an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy on medium speed, about 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency.

3. Add the chopped basil and stir in until evenly incorporated.  Use and store the frosting at room temperature because the frosting will set if chilled.  The frosting can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Paula - bell'alimento August 17, 2011 at 10:19 am

Oh me oh my.. swoon


Fuji Nana August 17, 2011 at 10:37 am

These are absolutely FABULOUS. Fuji Papa says they are his favorite cupcake of all time. Well done!


Kiran @ August 17, 2011 at 10:50 am

Wow!! That’s a boat-load, delicious looking cupcakes! Gotta make some, pronto :)


Kimiko August 17, 2011 at 11:19 am

I wish I could’ve seen you at the fair! I went the weekend before, and the weekend after, when you were there, we had plans out of town. But this post makes it a little better..thanks for filling us in with these pics! :) Now I NEED to try these cupcakes..I just went to the baking supply store yesterday and stocked up on cupcake liners and other supplies so I am ready!!


Urban Wife August 17, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Oh gosh, I absolutely adore lemon anything and the addition of basil just increased the swoon factor! This is going in my recipe box to make asap.


Lyndsey August 17, 2011 at 1:36 pm

They look so wonderfully good! How exciting your demo went so well,(hey doesn’t every one forget the vanilla once in a while?) I wish I could be there! You do seem busy, that great! Miss having you around :)


Rachael @ Tokyo Terrace August 17, 2011 at 2:39 pm

These look so delicious! And you are so pretty (as always) in these photos! Congrats on the demo going smoothly and thanks for sharing such a great recipe with us.


Nisrine August 17, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I’m going nuts for the lemon basil frosting. Delicious!


The Newlywed Chefs August 17, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Oooo love the combination of lemon and basil! We’ll have to try these soon!


Nelly Rodriguez August 17, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Loving the frosting! And the fair looked like a blast! Thanks for sharing this recipe :)


LiztheChef August 17, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Your recipe is lovely but I loved your story – and photos – just as much. Fun!


[email protected] August 17, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Oh lovely Rachel! Sounds like you had a great time judging. What fun you all have in SoCal!


raelen August 17, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I definitely need to try this cupcake recipe! Sounds amazing! Also, I’m so proud of my little cousin…the “cub cake” winner! :)


Barbara | Creative Culinary August 17, 2011 at 8:21 pm

You know I read the whole post. Loved all the photos…of your family and the judges and you on state with your chef whites. But you know how sometimes one thing will trigger something you can’t get beyond?

For me it was this: ‘Bug called out from the audience, “Hi Mommy!” It made my day.’

It took me back 25 years to a little girl on stage with her preschool class getting ready to perform holiday music for a room filled with parents. All of a sudden I hear, ‘Hi, Mom!’ It was so cute, she got quite a good laugh and I guess it egged on her because she couldn’t help herself, ‘Hi Dad’ was next. Thanks for the memory…sometimes it is the food, but this time the food was just the vehicle for me to read that one line and take a trip down memory lane. A good one!

Hope you’re feeling better…it’s just time. XOXO


Maureen August 18, 2011 at 1:09 am

These look so good! What a wonderful day you had. I have to make these cupcakes – I’m drooling.


Katrina August 18, 2011 at 1:20 am

Brilliant! Such a great combination of flavours!


[email protected] August 18, 2011 at 11:50 am

Oh goodness gracious…these sound fantastic!! I’m especially loving that frosting… yummers!


Jamie @ Wokintime August 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Yay! I was wondering if you were going to post the recipe. I love the picture of all the cupcakes! Congratulations on a successful event and demo. Wish I could have been there.


Cathy/ShowFoodChef August 18, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Oh, how beautiful (and the cup cake ain’t bad either, heehee). I miss you, been crazy busy and trying to catch up with my favs (of which you are at the top of that!) It looks like the Fair was SO fun! I’m glad you’re feeling better and these cupcakes are def winners!!! Love~


louise August 19, 2011 at 9:05 pm

you are too kind and sticky sweet like marshmallow fluff ~ happy summer



Chris @nestlefoodie August 20, 2011 at 9:20 am

Love, love basil and lemon together! Will be making these cupcakes. Looks like you had a great time at the fair – judging is harder than it appears (or at least that has been my experience). Happy weekend to you :)


Mommyof2Girlz/StephD August 23, 2011 at 4:48 pm

This sounds divine, especially lemon basil buttercream…wow!


Elizabeth E. August 26, 2011 at 11:48 am

Your mom shared these with me–oh my! Now I’ve got to figure out where to buy that flour. They were delicious–thanks!


Joy August 30, 2011 at 7:56 pm

What a great event!. I love the recipe.


Jocelyn September 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Hooray! Hooray! I’m so excited to try these out!


Darla | Bakingdom September 4, 2011 at 7:16 am

Sounds like such a super fun day! I’d love trying all those cupcakes for sure! :)

Can’t wait to try yours very, very soon!!


Tabby Panda September 6, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Awesome! I hope I also get to judge a cupcake contest. tasting those gorgeous looking cupcakes is an experience I would like to have. Thanks for the recipe of your Lemon Mochi Cupcakes. It is wonderful to have some variations for my kids.


Vera Zecevic – Cupcakes Garden September 15, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Great post and delicious recipe! I would like to showcase this recipe on my cupcake recipes & ideas blog if you agree. Best regards!


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