Introduction: Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

About: I'm a twentysomething baking obsessive, working as a baker and cake decorator, and gradually fattening up my housemates one recipe idea at a time.
These gorgeous little cupcakes are inspired by the classic lemon meringue pie.

Filled with tangy lemon curd and topped with fluffy meringue they are a great way to transform the cupcake into a mini dessert to impress your friends and put a smile on your face.

(To turn these into an impressive dessert, replace the lemon curd with ice cream and make Baked Alaskan Cupcakes)

Step 1: Ingredients & Equipment

For the cupcakes:
  • 215 g self raising flour
  • 60 g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 170 ml milk
  • 90 unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:

For the meringue topping:
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 2 egg whites

Preheat your oven to 180 C (350 F / Gas 4)

For the Americans or those without scales, here is a good guide for conversion of weight to cups.

You'll also need bowls, spoons, and general kitchen equipment, a 12 cup cupcake tin, and an electric whisk will really save your arm when it comes to making the meringue. A piping bag will also come in handy.

Step 2: Making the Cupcakes

To make the cupcakes, first stir together the flour, sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.

Put the egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla into a medium bowl and pour in the melted butter. Mix together and then pour the liquid into the flour well.

Fold the wet ingredients through the dry ingredients until just combined.

Step 3: Baking the Cupcakes

Spoon the batter into the cupcake cases. Put the tin in the oven (180 C / 350 F / Gas 4) and bake for around fifteen minutes, until risen and golden.

Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for ten minutes. Leave the oven on for the meringue topping later.

Step 4: Filling the Cupcakes

Once the cakes have cooled a little, you need to hollow out the middle to create a space to put the lemon curd. If you have an apple corer this will be a breeze, or you can do as I did and just cut a small cone out of the centre with a small, sharp knife. (The leftover cake middles are the bakers perks)

Fill the hole with lemon curd. A piping bag will make this easier, or you can carefully spoon it in.

Step 5: Making the Meringue

The final stage is to make the meringue topping. 

Put the two egg whites in a clean, dry bowl (any grease or dirt will prevent them from whipping up), and whisk them until they form a firm peak. This means that when you remove the whisk the mixture will cling to it in fluffy clouds, and peaks will stand up from the bowl like small snowy mountains.

At this stage you can start adding the sugar. Do this gradually, in about four lots, making sure to beat well in between to incorporate the sugar properly. When the last of the sugar has been added keep beating until you get stiff, glossy peaks. These should stand firm, and the mixture will have a silky shine.

(A classic test of your meringue is to hold the bowl upside down over your head and if ready it will not fall out. This requires extreme confidence in your meringue, or you'll be washing sticky sugar out of your hair for the next half hour).

Now you need to put the meringue topping on your cupcakes.

Step 6: Icing the Cakes and Finishing Off

Once the meringue is ready, pipe or spread a little on top of each of the cupcakes, making sure to cover all of the lemon curd.

Sprinkle the tops of the meringue with a litte caster sugar, return the cakes to the oven and bake for about five minutes, until the meringues are slightly golden brown.

Leave the cakes to cool for around ten minutes (red hot sugar is not kind to the tongue), and then devour!
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