Hello my little blog! Ah it is has been too long, and I am so sorry for neglecting you so. Architectural education has taken over my life. They say it’s equivalent to a full time job, but I don’t think my tutor got that memo…..
Anyway enough with the whinging, it’s not as if I didn’t know what I was getting myself into…. I have managed to do a couple of bits of baking (hurray!) I am slowly getting used to the oven, although my fail safe method of making sure I don’t overdo the cakes is to sit in front of the oven watching them rise. My new flat mates probably think I’m a bit strange.
For one of my friend’s birthdays I made these lemon meringue cupcakes. Having tried to make an actual lemon meringue pie a little while ago with my new KitchenAid (which I still love by the way!), I caught that sweet lemony bug. I knew said friend had a thing for lemony cakes (I made him a lemon drizzle cake last time around I think) so it was perfect.
I adapted this recipe from The Hummingbird Cake Days recipe book. The recipes in this book seem to be double quantities of the recipes in their original book, and this batch made a whopping 18 cupcakes! I probably don’t fill mine as much as they do, but I was quite pleased with this haul! I ended up taking half a dozen to our lacrosse match, which went down a treat after the game with my fellow hungry players.
I also have to tell you about the amazing cardboard flat pack cupcake handbags me and my sister found at the cake and bake show. They are so cute and transport cupcakes in much more style than an old discoloured tupperware… They’re also great for gifts, because they hold 6 cupcakes (a good number for a gift I think) and you don’t have to worry about getting the box back again. They are from a company called Card Cuts, head over to their site and see what I mean!
Enough chit chat, time for some cake!Ingredients, makes 12-16 (or 18 for me!) 80g unsalted butter or goats butter, softened 280g caster sugar 240g plain flour 1 tablespoon baking powder (you read that right, a TABLEspoon!) ¼tsp salt zest of 1 lemon 2 large eggs 240ml milk or milk alternative, I used soya milk. Dairy free lemon curd (You can use my recipe or Tesco own brand lemon curd is dairy free as it uses margarine) For the meringue 200g caster sugar 4 egg whites
Preheat the oven to 190° and line a muffin tin with muffin cases.
Beat together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest on a low speed until the ingredients are well mixed and resemble bread crumbs.
Break the eggs into a jug, add the milk and whisk together by hand. Pour three quarters of the milk and egg mix into the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed to combine. Increase the speed to medium and keep beating until smooth and thick, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure you don’t miss any. With my KitchenAid, I find it useful at this point to turn it off, get a spatula in the bowl and give the whole thing a mix over, just to make sure there aren’t any bits that have been hiding at the bottom or on the very edges and not getting mixed through. Pour the remaining milk and egg into the mixer and continue to mix until all the ingredients are incorporated and the batter is smooth.
Spoon the batter into the cases, about 2/3rds full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until risen and springy to the touch. If, like me, you don’t trust your oven and you’re sitting in front of it watching, you’ll see the cupcakes rise quite dramatically, with some wet bubbles on top. Once the bubbles stop looking wet and popping, and the cake doesn’t seem to be rising any more, they’re nearly done. Just leave them a little while longer until they turn a light golden colour.
Allow the cakes to cool completely.
To make the frosting, put the sugar in a small saucepan, cover with 150ml water and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites until foamy.
Allow the sugar to boil for 5-10 mins until it has reached soft ball stage. I use a candy thermometer because I am hopeless at guessing. The temperature should be 240°F.
Then increase the mixer to medium and pour the sugar syrup on to the egg whites. Be very careful at this point as you can cause some serious damage with hot sugar syrup. When all the sugar has been added, increase the speed to high and whisk until the side of the bowl feels lukewarm. The meringue should have quadrupled in size and be very white, smooth and fairly shiny. Your Italian meringue is now ready to use!
Cut a cone out of the centre of each cupcake and half fill with a teaspoon of lemon curd.
Replace the cone on top. (You might need to remove the tip of the cone to allow it to fit).
I piped my meringue on to my cupcakes but you can just smooth it on. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large nozzle with the meringue and pipe a tall swirl on each cupcake.
Place under a hot grill for a few seconds to brown. It will burn very quickly so keep an eye on it!