For the July Daring Baker’s Challenge, Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to bake a cake. But not just any cake; she asked us to add in a special surprise for our eyes as well as our taste buds!
I decided to go with a simple cupcake – I’ve never made cupcakes before and took this opportunity as an excuse to give them a go. The ‘surprise’ inside these Lemon Meringue Cupcakes is the lemon curd, which oozes out of the middle when you bite into them! I went with a recipe from Sarah Hobbs on Taste.com.au and was pretty darn pleased with the result.
I did adapt the recipe a bit, slightly increasing the lemon zest in the cake batter and lemon curd as other reviewers had recommended it. The main change I made was switching the French meringue to a Swiss one. The Swiss meringue, which is heated prior to beating the egg whites, provides a denser, more stable meringue and personally I think it’s the nicest of the meringues – I just wish I’d piled more of it on!
LEMON MERINGUE CUPCAKES
Ingredients: (Click here for Unit Converter)
- 1 egg, lightly whisked
- 50g butter
- 1 Tbsp lemon rind
- ¼ cup (60ml) lemon juice
- ½ cup (100g) caster sugar
- 100g butter, softened
- 1 cup (200g) caster sugar
- 1 Tbsp finely grated lemon rind
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ cups (225g) self-raising flour
- ½ cup (125ml) milk
- 3 egg whites
- ¾ cup (155g)
- caster sugar
- For the lemon curd: Combine the egg, butter, lemon rind and juice and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat. Strain through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to cool and thicken.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (360°F). Line twelve 1/3-cup (80ml) muffin pans with paper cases.
- For the cakes: Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar and lemon rind until pale and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the flour and milk, in alternate batches, and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined – don’t overmix.
- Spoon mixture evenly among the lined pans and smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Use a small knife to cut a cone shaped piece out of the top of each cake, about 1.5cm deep, leaving a 2cm-wide edge. Spoon the lemon curd evenly among cupcakes.
- For the meringue: Place egg whites and sugar in a clean, dry bowl and whisk them together. Heat the mixture on a bain marie – bring a small amount of water to a simmer in a pan that is large enough to accommodate your mixing bowl. Place the bowl on top of the pan and make sure it doesn’t touch the water. Whisk the mixture for 2-3 minutes until the mixture becomes very warm to the touch. Remove the bowl and whisk the meringue using an electric whisk until you can make soft peaks in it.
- Spoon meringue on top of each cake and use the back of a spoon to create peaks. Use a small brulee torch to grill the meringue until lightly golden. Alternatively, transfer cupcakes to an oven tray; place under a preheated grill until lightly golden.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Top image – Canon 18-55mm lens; Bottom two images – Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting