A twist on cupcakes that is garanteed to brighten this summer’s dinner parties.
3 cups [750 ml] all-purpose flour
1 tbsp [15 ml] baking powder
½ tsp [2.5 ml] salt
1 cup [250 ml] unsalted butter, room temperature (2 sticks)
2 cups [500 ml] sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
3 lemons, finely grated zest only
2 tbsp [30 ml] fresh lemon juice
1 tsp [5 ml] pure vanilla extract
1 cup [250 ml] buttermilk
Store-bought lemon curd (or you can make your own)
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 large egg whites, room temperature
Preheat oven to 325ºF [160ºC]. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in zest and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and lemon juice, and beating until just combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
Make meringue frosting: Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230ºF [110ºC].
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.
As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230ºF [110ºC], remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.
To assemble the cupcakes, pipe 1 tbsp [15 ml] lemon curd onto middle of each cupcake. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star tip with meringue frosting. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake, swirling tip slightly and releasing as you pull up to form a peak. Broil for a few seconds in the oven to brown the meringue (BE VERY CAREFUL: browning occurs very quickly) or use a small kitchen torch: hold it 3 to 4 inches [7.5 to 10 cm] from surface of frosting, and wave it back and forth until frosting is lightly browned all over.
Serve the cupcakes immediately.
Recipe Credit: Adapted from MarthaStewart.com