The CCM (Caked Crusader’s Ma) is a canny old bird. She just happened to buy two lemons for pancake day in case she made pancakes. Of course, she didn’t make pancakes and was lamenting the redundancy of the lemons. Subtext: make me a cake with lemon in it.
Luckily, I have been musing about lemon cupcakes for a while. Regular readers will know that I don’t like lemon but I can see that it’s perfect for cupcakes – I see cupcakes as the equivalent of a shot in the drink world; a cupcake is a little bit of good stuff. Lemon packs quite a flavour so fits into that concept.
I adapted my normal cupcake recipe and decided to include half the lemon juice in the cupcake and half brushed over the top. This keeps the lemon ‘punchy’ and the cupcake extremely moist.
You’ll notice from the ingredients that I didn’t use lemon juice in the buttercream. I may be completely wrong but I felt that it didn’t suit the light whipped texture and was scared the lemon juice might curdle the mix.
Lemon is a clean and crisp flavour so I wanted the look of these cupcakes to match that i.e. no sprinkles and a round piping nozzle.
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
125g self raising flour
Juice and rind of one lemon
Dash of milk, if necessary
For the Swiss meringue buttercream:
4 egg whites
250g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter
2 teaspoons lemon extract
How to make:
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.
- Line a muffin pan with 12 paper cases.
- Start by making the cupcakes. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, flour, lemon rind and half the lemon juice.
- If necessary (this will depend on the juiciness of your lemon), add a dash of milk and beat until well combined and smooth. You’re aiming for a nice light, almost dropping consistency batter.
- Spoon the mixture evenly into the 12 paper cases.
- Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Mine took 17 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and, straight away, brush the remaining lemon juice over the hot cupcakes.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack.
- Now make the swiss meringue buttercream. Place the egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir pretty much constantly to prevent the egg from cooking.
- After 5-10 minutes, when the sugar has dissolved, remove the bowl from the pan of simmering water and whisk until the meringue has puffed up and the mix is cool.
- Add the butter and lemon extract to the meringue and whisk until the butter has been completely incorporated into the meringue. At first it will look a disaster – it will collapse and look curdled but don’t worry! Stop when the mixture is smooth, light and fluffy.
- Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag and swirl onto each cupcake.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.