The first time I visited Santa Barbara was when I was on Spring Break during my senior year of college with my sister and some girlfriends. We spent some time in Tiburon (just outside of San Francisco), before we drove down the coast to Santa Barbara. A family friend owned a house there, with a few quirky cats, parakeets, and a yard filled with lemon trees. The idea of grabbing a fresh lemon right from the tree at anytime was such a simple luxury for me; growing up in New York the only fruit I picked fresh were apples during the months of September/October. That’s why when I found my apartment in Santa Barbara, what caught my attention most about it was the lemon tree in the backyard patio area. It makes me to so happy to be able to walk outside and grab a lemon to make a salad dressing, add freshness to guacamole, or just to slice up and toss in a pitcher of water when friends are over. My new favorite lemon indulgence is a cupcake and cocktail combination; a bright, lemon ginger martini paired with a lemon ginger cupcake.
Serve this cupcake and cocktail for a refreshing end to the week; your Friday happy hour will be a lot sweeter!
Lemon Ginger Cupcake:
- 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 2 tablespoons finely grated ginger root
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup vodka (I used Cupcake Vodka)
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1 stick cold butter
- 1 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- grated zest of one lemon
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
In a small saucepan, combine the sliced ginger with the water and sugar and bring to a simmer over a moderate heat. Simmer for five minutes, then let the ginger syrup cool. Transfer to a blender and puree. Strain the syrup into a glass jar. Stir in the lemon zest and juice.
When you are ready to make your martinis add 2 ounces vodka and 2 ounces lemon-ginger syrup into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake. Strain into a martini glass and add a small ribbon of lemon peel as a garnish.