Something about Spring always makes me think of lemons. These lemon meringue cupcakes are perfect for a sugar-craving with a twist of lemon, especially as the cupcakes are light and fluffy, filled with a dollop of heavenly lemon curd and topped with a meringue frosting. There are three layers of flavour and texture happening in one bite-full. Besides tasting amazing, they also look gorgeous and very impressive.
There are three steps: 1. The cupcake mixture 2. The lemon curd filling 3. The meringue frosting. As the lemon curd keeps for 2 weeks in the fridge, this can be made well-in-advance before baking the cupcakes. The meringue frosting can be prepared while the cupcakes are cooling down after baking.
GLUTEN-FREE LEMON MERINGUE CUPCAKES
For the lemon cupcakes:
- 175g butter, softened at room temperature
- 120g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 160g store-bought or homemade self-raising flour
- 100g store-bought gluten-free flour or homemade gluten-free flour blend
- 130ml milk
- 50ml lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
- zest from ½ lemon
- 250ml store-bought or homemade lemon curd
For the homemade lemon curd filling:
- 1 egg, organic if possible
- 1 egg yolk
- 35g caster sugar
- zest from 1 lemon
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- 50g butter
The method to make the lemon curd can be found at this link lemon curd
For the meringue frosting:
- 3 egg whites
- 6900g caster sugar
- ¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Preheat the oven at 180 C/350 F.
2. Grease the cupcake tray holes lightly with vegetable oil and dust with gluten-free plain flour. Tap the excess flour over the sink. This step prevents the cupcakes from sticking to the tray. Only do this step if you are not using silicone or foil cupcake liners.
3. Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt together until light and creamy.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well.
5. Fold in the flours, milk, lemon juice & zest alternatively. Stop folding the minute you see the last bit of flour blending in.
6. Using a spoon or a small ice-cream scoop, portion 1/3rd full of the cupcake mixture into each hole of a 12-normal size cupcake tray or 24-mini cupcake tray.
7. Place on the middle shelf and bake for 15 minutes (for mini-cupcakes) or 20-25 minutes for normal-size cupcakes.
8. Allow to cool down in the tray for 5 minutes, then tilt each cupcake on its side and allow to cool completely.
9. While the cupcakes are cooling, start to prepare the meringue frosting by whisking the egg whites and sugar constantly together in a clean glass bowl over a bowl of simmering water. (The heat will temper the eggs to ensure the frosting is safe to be eaten without being baked.)
10. Constantly mix the meringue mixture over low heat. After 8 minutes, it will start to thicken and form soft peaks (do not let them overcook or you will have stringy cooked egg whites).
11. Remove from the heat and add the cream of tartar. Continue whisking until stiff peaks have formed. Place in a piping bag and set aside.
12. Using a citrus segment cutter or a small serrated knife, cut a small circle in the centre of the cupcake and create a small cavity to fill one teaspoon of lemon curd.
13. Pipe the meringue frosting on top of each cupcake.
14. Turn the grill/broiler on to medium heat and carefully grill the cupcakes with the oven door slightly ajar. Keep your eyes on the cupcakes and remove them once the meringue cupcakes appear slightly toasted. Don’t multi-task at this step and get distracted – or you could have burnt cupcakes in a flash!
Avoid using paper cupcake liners for these cupcakes as the grill may set them alight. Either grill them in silicon or foil cupcake liners or none at all.