Graham Cracker Crumbs:
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 egg white
- 1 1/2 cups pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup fine sugar
- 2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon limoncello liqueur
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup cake shortening
- 1 teaspoon almond bakery emulsion
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 2 pounds confectioners' sugar
For the graham cracker crumbs: In small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and butter and stir. Set aside.
For the cheesecake filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar for 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and egg white until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
For the cake batter: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F; line cupcake pans with 12 cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, combine the pastry flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the sugar, butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lemon juice, limoncello and lemon zest and mix until incorporated. On low speed, add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of each liner, fill about halfway with the cake batter and top with the cheesecake filling. Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 25 minutes.
For the buttercream frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the almond and lemon flavorings and beat for 2 minutes. Add the confectioners' sugar one cup at a time, alternating with 1/4 cup water, and beat until incorporated.
Top each cupcake with some of the buttercream frosting.
* Contestant Recipe
This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. The Food Network Kitchens have not tested it for home use and therefore cannot make any representation as to the results.