Sometimes, the urge to make cupcakes is overwhelming; I think it’s that they’re so pretty. Mr CC and the CCM (Caked Crusader’s Ma) both love lemon and Mr CC had been muttering that he never gets anything lemon because I don’t like it. So I decided to make lemon cupcakes.
For an ingredient I loathe so much, I actually really like baking with lemons; they’re a beautiful colour and shape. I enjoy zesting them, juicing them and I think I’ve extolled the joy of making curd before. If only I liked the taste they would be a perfect fruit! In contrast, I find apples totally irritating to work with – peeling, fighting their mania to discolour, coring, slicing etc – but adore their flavour.
The cupcake sponge is different to my usual recipe and the inclusion of yoghurt added an extra lightness to the batter. It is amazing how lemony it tasted when the only lemony ingredient was the zest. By the time I’d added some curd it was zingy in the extreme.
I adapted the recipe from the BBC Good Food site by ditching the poppy seeds and replacing with the lemon curd element and then adding this to the buttercream as well. In my experience, the lemon lovers want their citrus left pure!
These are very big cupcakes; when I had filled my 12 paper cases and still had batter left over for about another four cupcakes, of course the sensible thing to do would have been to make a further four cupcakes...but that’s not the way I roll! So, 12 mega large cupcakes it was!
The addition of curd to the buttercream seemed to make it extra creamy and whippy – almost mousse-like. My eaters said that these cupcakes tasted really fresh and natural, which I suppose is understandable as the lemon flavour comes only from fresh lemons.
For the lemon curd:
1 lemon – zest and juice
75g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
For the cupcake sponge:
225g self raising flour
175g golden caster sugar
2 lemons – zest only
100g natural yoghurt
175g unsalted butter, melted and left to cool
Some of the lemon curd
For the buttercream:
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
400g icing sugar
1 lemon – juice only
Some of the lemon curd – I used all that remained (approximately 4-5 teaspoons)
Decoration: sprinkles or wafer flowers
Start by making the lemon curd (you can do this 1-2 days ahead of making the cupcakes): Place the lemon zest and sugar in a bowl.
Whisk together the lemon juice and eggs and pour over the sugar.
Cut the butter into little pieces and scatter over the top.
Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water (or use a bain marie pan if you have one) and cook for approximately 15 minutes.
Stir occasionally but not obsessively until you have a golden, thick curd.
Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Refrigerate until required.
Now make the sponge: Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Line a 12 hole cupcake pan with paper cases.
Place the flour, sugar and zest into a bowl and mix.
In a separate bowl mix together the eggs, yoghurt and cooled melted butter.
Add the wet ingredient to the dry and whisk until well combined and smooth.
Spoon into the paper cases.
Spoon a scant half teaspoon of lemon curd on top of the batter in each paper case, then take a cocktail stick and swirl it into the batter.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. (NB. The cake sponge will stay pale even after baking so don’t rely on colour as a guide to ‘doneness’!)
Cool briefly in the tin before de-tinning and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.
Now make the buttercream: beat the butter until it is really soft and whipped.
Gradually beat in the icing sugar, then the lemon juice.
Beat in the lemon curd a teaspoon at a time. (Any leftover curd can be eaten on toast!)
Spoon the buttercream into an icing bag (if it feels soft, refrigerate it for 5 minutes before piping) and pipe over the top of the sponges.
Finish off with a flower decoration of sugar sprinkles.
Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.