I do often say that I have more of a savoury tooth rather than a sweet but I do have one sweet weakness. Lemon curd. My absolute all time favourite preserve. On toast, in tarts, cakes – you name it, if it incorporates lemon curd then I’m there. I’ve also been known to eat it out of a jar but that’s another story!
I think it’s the tartness of the lemon that cuts through the sweet, creamy curd that I love. So, onto the cupcakes. Of course, when thinking about what to make with the lemon curd, the cupcake that I had to make was lemon meringue! Lemon cake, filled with lemon curd and topped with a toasted meringue!
Aside from the tasty lemon curd, another reason to try and make this cupcake was that it was my first ever attempt at an Italian-type meringue frosting for the cupcakes, and I really feel like I need to try and challenge myself and incorporate more techniques within cupcake making.
As you can see from the pictures, they turned out really well – the Meringue was much easier than I thought it would be. It was sweet and soft and really complimented the lemon cake and the lemon curd filling. It also wasn’t as heavy as other cupcakes, mainly due to this fluffy light frosting. I dare say I could’ve eaten two in one sitting, but I didn’t!
I am definitely going to make these again!
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes (Makes 12-15)
Lemon Curd (Makes about 400ml)
2 large unwaxed lemons
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
150g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, cubed
For the Cake
80g unsalted butter
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon (2 if they are small!)
2 large eggs
240 ml buttermilk
For the Meringue Frosting
200g caster sugar, plus an additional tablespoon, set to one side.
1 tbsp golden syrup
4 large egg whites
For the curd
Put the zest, juice, sugar and butter, into pan. Place on a very low heat until the butter has melted.
Mix the eggs and egg yolk lightly with a fork, then stir into the pan. Let the curd cook, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes, until it is thick and custard-like. It will coat the back of a spoon.
Pour into a jar for filling the cakes.
For the cakes
Preheat the oven to 180 deg C (160 deg C fan). Line a muffin tray with paper liners.
Cream the butter, lemon zest and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and add a third to the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Mix until combined.
Add a third of the buttermilk and mix again. Alternate between the flour and buttermilk until all of the ingredients are just combined.
Divide the mixture between the muffin cases and bake in the oven for approx 20 minutes, but do check after about 18 minutes.
Once the cakes are done they should be slightly golden and springy to the touch. Leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack.
When the cakes are fully cool, using a corer or a knife, cut out the central part of the cake and fill with lemon curd. Top this off with the cored out piece. You may need to trim of some of this piece to fit. Repeat for all cakes.
For the meringue frosting
Place the sugar, syrup and water into a saucepan, place on the hob and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for about 5-10 minutes until the sugar is all dissolved and the mixture thickens. It needs to come to soft ball stage – 115C. Be careful and keep an eye on this, you don’t want it to colour too much or burn to a toffee / caramel!
While the syrup is on the hob, whisk up the egg whites until foamy and soft peaks start to appear. Add the tablespoon of caster sugar and continue to beat for another minute or so.
The sugar syrup should be ready by now so with the whisk running in a medium speed, slowly trickle in a steady stream the sugar syrup. Once all of the syrup has been added, turn the whisk up to a high speed and continue to mix until the bowl feels lukewarm. (About 5 mins) The resulting meringue will be stiff, but smooth and silky. Not dry!
Now you’ll need to be quick as this meringue will stiffen up quite quickly. Either pipe or spoon the frosting on top of the cakes. Ideally you want ridges so that you’ll get contrast when you brown the tops of the cakes. We don’t want smooth domes!
Using a kitchen torch lightly brown the tops to give a toasted effect. If you don’t have a torch then place the cakes under the grill, but be careful as they will brown very quickly and the papers might catch too!
These are best eaten on the day, although we ate some the next day which had been stored at room temp in a sealed tin and they were still good!
This will definitely be a regular for me and I am going to try and incorporate this frosting on some other cakes…