April 15, 2009

The Cupcake Challenge: Lemon Meringue

Lemon meringue cup cakes
A couple of times a year we take turns to provide morning tea for a whole group of people at my work, and to say that I take it seriously is an understatement. I love preparing cakes and biscuits and I revel in the joy that my baked goodies bring to peoples faces. Recently I found a recipe for lemon meringue cupcakes and thought they would be perfect for my turn at morning tea, but I had a few qualms about the actual recipe. I decided to do a test run of the cup cakes, something that I do VERY rarely. Then, what do I do with over a dozen cupcakes? No way I could eat them, I KNOW Daz could eat them, but do I want him to eat them all? So I told Daz to take them into work before the Easter break, so his workmates could enjoy the baked goodies, while still keeping the surprise from my workmates.

Daz returned with great news that all the cupcakes were eaten and well enjoyed, he didn't even get a chance to eat one, I say eat cupcakes first - email check second, but that's such a novice mistake to make.

Lemon meringue cup cakes 2

Yesterday, after the return to work from the Easter break, Daz told me that one of his work mates, Rebecca, had brought in a batch of cupcakes, and had a message for me. Loosely translated message = "Bring it on!". Apparently I am now involved in the Great Cup Cake Challenge of '09. From what I could gather, I assume that both Rebecca and I will take turns to provided cup cakes for Daz's work. There will be no winners or losers, according to Daz the only winners will be his workmates....abundant supply of cupcakes...that has to do something for their morale and possibly waistlines!

As soon as Daz told me the news I got excited, VERY excited. We went to see Tim Minchin last night at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, and the whole way through all I could think of were cup cakes. When we got out from the show my first words to Daz weren't "That was a good show" they were "So what type of cupcakes do you think I should bake for my next batch?" Yes, I am totally obsessed!

I'm a little intimidated, I'm not that good of a baker, and I'm sure Rebecca will do a much better job than I. But I accept the challenge, at the very least my blog will benefit from it. So a message back to Rebecca....."Cupcake challenge on!"

Back to the original reason for this post. Lemon meringue cupcakes. They were delicious!

From The Age, author Caroline Velik March 31, 2009

Lemon meringue cupcakes

Makes roughly 12-15

INGREDIENTS

125g unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups caster sugar (I thought it was a little too much sugar, 1 cup will do)
grated rind 1 lemon
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 cup lemon curd
Meringue
2 egg whites
pinch salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180 deg.

Cream the butter with sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add lemon rind and juice and mix well. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined.

Sift flour and baking powder together and add to the mix, alternately with the milk.

Spoon into 12 lined muffin tins, filling almost to the top.

Bake in oven for 25 minutes until cakes are lightly browned and cooked when tested with a skewer. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks. When cool, scoop a small piece of cake from out of the top and place a spoonful of lemon curd. Top with meringue and brown with a blowtorch, if desired.

To make meringue:

Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites at low speed until they foam, add salt and cream of tartar, increase speed and beat to soft peaks. Reduce speed to low as you prepare sugar syrup.

Bring the sugar and water to a simmer, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat and cook until soft ball stage (240F or 116C on a sugar thermometer).

Slowly drizzle the syrup into the egg whites, beating on low speed. Try to avoid the edge of the bowl and the wires of the whisk. Increase speed to medium and keep beating for 10 minutes, until the mixture is cool and the egg whites form stiff, shiny peaks.

Naked cupcake
Naked Cupcakes. Quick, cover their innocence!

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cupcake production line
The cupcake production line

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Lemon meringue cup cakes 4

13 comments:

DiscoveryMe said...

The cupcake challenge sounds interesting! I'll be barracking for you all the way! :)

These lemon meringue cupcakes look fantastic and I like your leaf plate.

Anita said...

What fantastic Cupcakes!!! Your meringue looks gorgeous. Good luck with the cupcake challenge, I look forward to seeing what you come up with (what did Rebecca bring in to work? it surely couldn't have beaten your ones).

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

They look fantastic!I love the swirl action you have going on there and the artful edge browning :) Good luck with the challenge!

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

It's hilarious that you missed the show thinking about cupcakes. The things that occupy a foodie's mind! I love your cupcakes with the browned meringue. It's awesome to have a baking schedule like this challenge. It will really bring out your creativity.

Agnes said...

Oh yum! I wanted to try making those too. They look fantastic. I'm sure you'll do great in the cupcake challenge. Bring it on? You already brought it!!

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge said...

Hi DiscoveryMe - Thanks for the support. I love my leaf plate too, its pretty cute huh?

Hi Anita - I'm not exactly sure what Rebecca brought. I think it was a lemon cake base with fondant icing, but it could have been anything judging from Daz's description. Hes more interested in getting it in his mouth rather than basking in the wonder of the actual cupcake.

Hi Lorraine - Thanks! I finally got myself one of those blow torches. Your creme brulee made me do it!

Hi Arwen - 90% of the time I'm thinking about food. I often had restless nights because I think of recipes I want to try! I need professional help!

Hi Agnes - Lemon meringue cupcakes are SOOO easy to make. They look really neat and look like they are challenge to make, but the truth is you can make them with your eyes closed, and they taste even better. Thanks for the well wishes! I sure will try my best.

Cherry Blossom Cupcakes said...

Awesome cupcakes Maria, you have inspired me to try some! I think we may be the same person as we have all the same loves (except of course that you are much younger and prettier!)

Hedonistic Hostess said...

I haven't even seen the competitor's offering, but your cupcakes surely must 'take the cake'.

The Caked Crusader said...

Great photos - they look stunning on the leaf plate

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge said...

Hi Cherry Blossom cupcakes - They are extremely easy to make, but they are no where a good as yours. Your cupcake look delicious!

Hi Hedonistic Hostess - I've told Daz to steal a cupcake for me the next time she brings some in, so that way I can have a nibble, and hopefully sneak a couple of shots.

Hi The caked crusader - I love me leaf plate, its so cute huh?

CORA said...

These look so delicious! I've always wanted to try a cupcake with a meringue topping (try as in 'eat' not 'bake' :p). Great work.

Conor said...

Ohhh I need to make these cupcakes. No wait, first I need to buy one of those blow torches. No wait, first I need to get over this flu. Godammit.

Kathy said...

I made a batch of these a couple of months ago. I make my own lemon curd, and because it contains cornflour I was able to bake the cakes with the lemon filling already inside. You pre-make the curd. Fill the cupcake cases 1/3 with batter, add a spoonful of the curd then cover with more batter. Because of the cornflour the curd doesn't go runny in the oven. I then toped them with the merigue once they had baked and cooled.