Lemon meringue cupcakes

I love lemon. When somebody asks if I prefer chocolate or vanilla, I tend to wonder why lemon isn't an option. Obviously the other two have their place, but lemon is right up there. So you can imagine how happy I am that my little lemon tree has finely fruited, managing to beat the very ordinary weather we've had this year. Life has given me lemons, and I've made cupcakes with them.


Lemon meringue cupcakes

Makes 12 regular or 24 mini cupcakes

Lemon curd

2 large lemons, juiced and zested
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
5 tbspn unsalted butter

Lemon cake

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup yoghurt
1 1/2 cups self raising flour

Meringue

2 egg whites
1/2 cup caster sugar

Method

Combine the juice, zest, eggs and sugar in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Mix well, add butter then place over simmering water and stir until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Cover the top with cling wrap to preven t a skin forming, and set aside to cool until needed.

Preheat the oven to 170 Celsius. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the lemon juice and yoghurt. Add one third to the cake batter, mixing well. Add one third of the flour, and beat well. Continue adding the yoghurt and flour alternately until all combined. Place in cupcake wrappers and bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool before filling.

Place the egg whites and sugar in a large glass or ceramic bowl over simmering water. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved - test by rubbing a little of the mix between your fingers; the sugar is dissolved when there is no longer any graininess. Be careful not to let the mixture get too hot, as this will cook the egg whites separately to the sugar and result in an "eggy" flavoured meringue. Remove the egg mix from heat, and beat until stiff peaks form.

To assemble

Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius. Place the cooled lemon curd in a piping bag with a small round tube attached; numbers 5 through 10 are all suitable. Use the tube to make a hole in the top of each cake and fill it with lemon curd. Top each cake with meringue. Place in the oven and cook for around 5 minutes until the meringue is lightly browned.

NOTE: It is not essential to cook the meringue mix before whipping, but it reduces the risk of salmonella.

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