Food

Lemon Cupcakes

Remember yesterday’s lemon curd? Well, apart from eating it straight by the spoonful there is possibly only one way that the taste experience associated with it could possibly be enhanced. And that is…cake! This recipe is possibly the lightest cake recipe that I’ve come with so far, though it needs a bit of work to get it that way – the egg whites really do need to be beaten to stiff peaks and the margarine and sugar need to be creamed together really well. But, thankfully for us, the days of electric mixers mean that such things are a cinch and require little more than patience.

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It took me a while to figure out what to put with this cake recipe. The cake itself was so light that I didn’t want to spoil the taste by mismatching the icing. I tried all sorts of things, from eating them as they were – pure cake unadulterated with any extras, sprinkling icing sugar on top and even layering them with crème fraiche (yummy but not lemony enough). Then I decided to fill the cupcakes with a dollop of lemon curd and then cover them with a simple glaze. And something yummy happened… To me, the addition of a lemon curd filling and a lemon glaze make the cupcakes taste a bit like little cakey, fondanty sweets of the kind where you want just one more. If you want to keep it simple rather than fiddling around with lemon curd and glaze, just dust the top of the cakes with icing sugar and you’ll be good to go. All the cup measurements were made using a 250 ml mug and a bit of eye-judgement when fractions of a cup were needed. The quantities below give about 18 smallish cupcakes or one layer of a normal-sized layer cake.

Let’s start with the cake…

What you’ll need:

2 eggs, separated

1/2 cup margarine

1 cup white sugar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or bottled if you must)

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

Pinch salt

What to do:

1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5 and prepare your cupcake cases or cake tin.

2. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff and then put aside until later.IMG_7959

3. In a new bowl, thoroughly cream the margarine and sugar.
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4. Add the egg yolks to the margarine and sugar one at a time, beating thoroughly after adding each one.IMG_7962IMG_7964

5. Mix the lemon juice into the marg/sugar/egg yolk mixture.IMG_7965IMG_7967

6. Sift and fold the flour and salt into the marg/sugar/egg yolk mixture.IMG_7969
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7. Carefully fold the egg whites into the main mixture.IMG_7972
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8. Spoon the cake batter in cupcake cases (I used a very generous dessertspoonful in each) or pour into the cake tin, and then bake in the pre-heated oven until done. Leave to cool before adding the extras.IMG_7975
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Now for the extras…

Adding lemon curd:

I don’t have much in the way of very fancy kitchen gadgets and sadly cupboard space is beginning to preclude my acquisition of such things, but that’s no bad thing because I generally want to keep things on this blog simple, and so you don’t need lots of extra gadgets to make delicious things. So we’re going to fill the cupcakes the old-fashioned way. Cut a little cone of the middle of each cupcake and then put a little dollop of lemon curd in the hole. Next, put the cone back on the cupcake – you might need to cut the pointed tip of the cone to get it to fit nicely in place – I was a bit lazy on that score and so the tops of my cupcakes aren’t as smooth as they could have been… It helps to try put align the edges of the cone so that it goes back roughly into the same place as it came from. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to glaze them cupcakes.IMG_7986IMG_7987

Making and glazing the cupcakes:

1. Mix 2 1/2 cups of icing sugar with 1/2 cup of lemon juice.

2. Spoon the glaze over each cupcake. Move the cupcake around to cover all of it with the glaze and then let the excess drip back into the bowl. It is best to do this one at a time over the bowl. (You’ll have to imagine this process as I didn’t get any photos…)

3. For a thicker glaze (which I went for), once you’ve finished glazing all the cupcakes once, repeat the whole process again. The glaze will keep the cones that were cut out of the cupcakes and then put back on them again in place. Leave the cupcakes to one side to let the glaze set before making yourself a nice cup of tea and indulging in a lovely lemon cupcake (or three).IMG_8003IMG_8008

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