lemon meringue cupcakes...

now a lot of people have been asking for this recipe here on the blog and also over on twitter.
i was quite worried about doing these for a charity bake sale as i have never had any luck with meringue but thankfully it all turned out brilliantly.

you will need

for the sponge:
80g of unsalted butter
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1 table spoon baking powder
1 quarter teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of lemon zest (or if you are a bit of a lemon fiend like myself...2-3)
2 eggs
240ml of while milk

for the filling:
a jar of lemon curd

for the frosting:
4 egg whites
200g of caster sugar
150ml water

start by preheating the oven to 190ºC or gas mark 5 and line your cupcake tin with your favourite cases.

mix together the sugar and butter until no large lumps remain.

sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. its always best to sift even if a recipe you are following doesn't say to.

throw in the lemon zest and then mix until all is well combined, it will look a bit like sand but dont be tempted to make castles...this is for eating not for playing!

after i added the lemon i got a bit over excited by the smell and forgot to take any more pictures..so prepare yourself for a mountain of type!

whisk the eggs and milk together in a jug and begin to add the mix into the other ingredients, whilst beating on a slow speed.
once all of the wet is added, turn up the mixer to a medium speed and allow all the ingredients to come together until smooth.

using an ice cream scoop begin to fill the cases, i found this mix made 14 full size cupcakes and one small one. i like to call this small one the taste test!

bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, the sponge should bounce back when pressed or you can use a trusty cocktail stick to check the core.

allow these to cool for a few minutes in the tin and then place onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

once they have had time to cool completely its time to give them an extra burst of lemon loveliness. if you have a cupcake corer feel free to use this but i went for a teaspoon. simply cut out the center of the cupcakes and put them to one side (do not be tempted to eat any! you will be using them as lids shortly!).

once thats done, take a jar of your favourite lemon curd and place a spoonful into each cupcake. replace the lid and push down slightly.
dont' worry to much about putting the right top on the right cupcake as the meringue topping will cover this!

next you want place 200g of caster sugar into a saucepan and cover with the water. bring this to the boil and allow it to sit on the heat for 5-10 minutes, by which point it should reach its soft ball stage (if you take a spoonful of this and place it into cold water you should be able to pick it up and form a soft ball).

whilst the sugar and water are boiling away place the 4 egg whites in a bowl and whisk until it just begins to foam.

once at the soft ball stage turn the mixer up to medium and add the sugar to the eggs. you will find that the whites will instantly start to grow and it should increase in size. once all the sugar has been added increase the speed to high and whisk until the bottom of the bowl is lukewarm.

next for the fun part!

place the meringue on top of each cupcake, you can do this however you see fit really. for example you could try piping it onto each cake to give it a swirly effect.

i opted to spoon it on and used a palette knife to cover the entire cake and give it a peak.

if you have a blow torch, turn it on and with fluid motions go back and forth over the top of the meringue, this will give it that golden colour commonly seen on a meringue. just be very careful as this mixture will burn very quickly.

don't worry if you don't have a torch, just pop them under the grill but make sure you dont take your eyes off of them as they will burn quickly!

and there you have it! lemon meringue cupcakes!

i hope you enjoy them as much as i did!

a zesty little number..

this blog has been waiting to be posted for just over a week, i've been really busy baking and working and just havent found the time to sit and type it up!

so here we have it, a lovely lemon cake! i've made many lemon cakes in the past but this one has to be my all time favourite. its incredibly lemony!

you will need :

for the sponge
110g unsalted butter
380g caster sugar
320g plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
320ml buttermilk
the zest of 2 lemons
3 eggs

for the frosting
900g icing sugar
zest of 1 and a half lemons
150g unsalted butter
375g full fat cream cheese

and finally for decoration
a handfull of raspberries
the zest of one lemon
a small amount of icing sugar for dusting

start by beating the butter and the sugar today until there are no large lumps.

sift the flour and baking powder into the butter mixture and give it a good mix.

measure out the buttermilk and add the eggs, give it a whisk until combined.

add the zest and give it another quick stir.

with the mixer on a low speed gradually add the liquid, scraping down the sides and turning up the speed until fully combined.

separate into 2 to 3 tins depending on the sizes you have. i went for 2 9inch spring form tins.
throw them in the oven (not literally) at 170ºc or gas mark 3 and bake for 20-30 minutes (this may vary on your oven).

whilst the cakes are cooling you can make the icing. beat the butter and icing sugar on a slow speed until no large lumps remain. next add the lemon zest and the cream cheese and beat on a medium high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy, this can take between 5-10 minutes.

then place the first cake onto a board or your favourite cake stand and cover with your favourite raspberry jam, go right to the edges so that every bite has some in.

next put some frosting on top of the jam and smooth it over with a palette knife.  

place the second layer on top of this and press it down gently.
spoon some more mixture on the top and spread it out evenly, dont worry to much about the crumbs at this point.

continue to cover the entire cake with a layer of frosting, this will act as a crumb layer so the final cake is crumb free. once thats done pop it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to allow the frosting to set slightly.

once cooled place a second layer of frosting on the cake and decorate with the palette knife. i made the mistake of placing it directly onto the cake stand so this made decoration a little tricky but you get the idea!

finally top the cake with a handfull of raspberries and a dusting of icing sugar. if you wish you can grate some lemon zest over the raspberries but that is up to you. i decided to change it up a little and used lime zest instead to give it that extra tang, i didn't regre it!

i took this cake to work with me on tuesday last week and it went VERY quickly! next time i think i will have to make 2, one for the family and one for work.