Lime-Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lime-Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

This past fall, I had plenty of occasions to bake cupcakes. While I revisited my Cupcake Camp Cupcakes and my S’mores cupcakes, I wanted to add one or two more flavours to my regular rotation. Lemon meringue pie is one of my favourite desserts, and I thought to have that in cupcake form would be spectacular. When I came across this Bon Appetit recipe a few years ago, I immediately made it and loved the result. With a bit of tweaking, the cake became the basis for my Lime-Lemon Meringue Cupcakes.  I made them for our annual Fancy Party back in September, and again for a mini-trunk sale on November 8. They are filled with a tart, silky lemon curd that comes together quickly in the microwave, and are crowned with spikes of marshmallowy meringue frosting that I toasted using my trusty brulée torch. The end product is bright, sunshiny, and sweet.

Lime-Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Makes 12

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened but still cool

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

zest of 3 limes (about 1 tablespoon)

Juice of 3 limes (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)

3/4 cup buttermilk

splash vanilla extract

Bright green food colouring gel (I used Wilton’s Leaf Green) – enough to tint to the desired shade.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray or line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat to combine well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Add lime juice and zest. Add food colouring and beat to reach desired shade of green. (Note: gel food colouring will become more vivid as it sits.)

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk. Stir until just combined. Divide the cupcake batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely before filling and frosting.

cupcakes2 - web

Microwave Lemon Curd

Adapted from The Halifax Chronicle-Herald

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup granulated sugar

6 egg yolks

3 whole eggs

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, from about 3 lemons

zest of 2 lemons

6 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes

Whisk egg yolks, eggs and sugar together in a large microwaveable bowl until very pale yellow. Add the lemon juice and whisk until smooth.

Place the bowl in the microwave and cook on medium-high for 4 to 5 minutes, stopping every minute to whisk the mixture. Cook until mixture is thick, creamy and smooth. Press mixture through a medium mesh strainer and stir in the butter, one cube at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the lemon zest. If making ahead, cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. There will be more lemon curd than is needed to fill the cupcakes. It will last about a week in the refrigerator.

Meringue Frosting

4 egg whites

1/2 cup corn syrup or glucose

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 tbsp water

Add egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

Place sugar, corn syrup and 2 tablespoons water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir to moisten. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. When the temperature reaches 215º F, begin whipping the egg whites until they hold firm peaks. When the temperature reaches 238º F, remove the saucepan from the heat.

While whipping the egg whites on low, slowly and carefully pour in the sugar mixture. When all the sugar has been added, return the speed to high. Whip meringue mixture for about 8 to 10 minutes, until volume has at least doubled and mixture is stiff, glossy and opaque. The bowl should have cooled down considerably.

To assemble cupcakes

Using a small knife, cut a small cone out of the surface of each cupcake. Spoon lemon curd into the cavity until it reaches the surface.

Using an offset spatula or a piping bag, cover the surface of each cupcake with the meringue frosting. Create random spikes using the offset spatula.

With a brulée torch, toast the meringue frosting. Serve immediately.

Note: due to the lemon curd, cupcakes made ahead of time should be refrigerated. Frosting cupcakes should be done just before serving.