Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

So, I bought half a dozen lemon meringue cupcakes from someone who I met via facebook…  They were absolutely delicious, and I thought that I’d never be able to make them myself.  How wrong I was.  And, unbelievably, they really are simple to make!  I was going to keep the recipe I’ve found a secret, but I think it only fair to share it with the rest of the world ha ha.

Cupcake Ingredients:

7oz softened butter

7oz sugar (I used ordinary granulated as I’d ran out of caster sugar ha ha)

2 or 3 tbsp lemon juice

4 eggs

7oz self-raising flour

Meringue Ingredients:

3 egg whites (you don’t need the yolks at all in this…  Why not make yourself an all-yolk omelette later to save waste?)

3oz sugar (once again, I used granulated, but it’s recommended to use caster)

3oz icing sugar

Other Ingredients:

Lemon curd

To make the cupcakes:

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C for fan assisted / Gas 4.

2.  Prep your cupcake tin with paper cases…  This recipe should have made 24, but I put a little more than I should have so I got 18.

3.  Cream the butter, sugar and lemon juice together until pale and fluffy.  I recommend an electric whisk / mixer as it’s much quicker than by hand.

4.  Add the eggs and whisk.  Don’t worry if the mixture looks like it’s curdling slightly…  When you add the flour, that calms this down.

5.  Add the flour one tablespoon at a time and beat thoroughly inbetween.

6.  Put one spoonful of the mixture into each paper case, then (here’s my secret *wink*) add a little more than half a teaspoon of lemon curd to each, followed by one more spoonful of the cake mixture.  **PLEASE DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO PUT TOO MUCH LEMON CURD IN THE CENTRE OF EACH CAKE AS IT WILL SINK TO THE BOTTOM**

7.  Place in the pre-heated oven on the highest shelf and allow to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown in colour and springy to the touch.

To make the meringues:

1.  Preheat your oven to 140C / 120C for fan assisted / Gas 2.

2.  Line a baking tray with greaseproof / baking paper.

3.  Make sure your eggs are separated and add the whites to a (non-plastic) bowl.

4.  Using an electric whisk (trust me, you DON’T want to do this by hand), whisk the egg whites on a low setting for approx 1-2 minutes; then on a medium speed for a further 4-5 minutes.  After this time, your egg whites should look a lovely thick white complexion.  Don’t worry if you can’t make your stiff peaks yet…  That’ll come soon…

5.  Now you need to add your (mixed) sugars to the egg whites, one tablespoon at a time.  Make sure you keep the whisk constantly on…  Once all the sugar is mixed into your egg whites, you need to continue whisking (being sure to occasionally turn the bowl) for a further 15-20 minutes.  (This did almost bore me, although I did enjoy watching the patterns appear in the mixture.)

6.  Once your mixture now resembles the stiff peaks (if it doesn’t, continue whisking), why not try the “tip the bowl upside-down” trick?  I was really cautious on doing this, but my mixture stayed firmly in place.  Scoop the mixture into a piping bag and “pipe” into swirls or peaks (or any design you fancy really) on the baking paper.  Repeat until you have enough meringues for the cupcakes…  Or until the mixture is completely gone (I made WAY too much egg white mixture for mine, but my hubby enjoyed eating the excess meringues I made ha ha).

7.  Place on the top shelf in the oven and allow to cook for 30-40 minutes (my meringues had to bake for the full 40 mins!).  They should be pale in colour, and (sticky but) firm to the touch.

8.  Switch off the oven, leave the oven door ajar and allow the meringues to cool in the oven.

How to finish:

1.  use a knife to spread some lemon curd on the top of each cupcake, add a meringue and “Hey, Presto!”  Enjoy!