Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

As my moving plans get started, I've had less and less time for cooking. Lemon Meringue Cakes are the latest thing that I've cooked in my Canberra kitchen and they'll probably be the last.

I made the recipe, from Women's Weekly cupcakes, for friend BA, who is obsessed with citrus based cakes and desserts. Spoonfuls of tangy lemon curd sit in the top of the cake, before being covered by meringue. Whilst B liked the curd best (of course), I liked the coconut, which gives the cake lightness and is also in the meringue.

I've previously mentioned baking disasters (An Unglamorous Beginning) and this attempt was no exception. I started with the curd, but trying to cook an evening meal and the cupcakes concurrently quickly led to problems; the curd went lumpy and there was no saving it. I try and have double the eggs I need for instances just like this one, so I was able to start again. However this time I used Stephanie Alexander's lemon curd recipe and it was much simpler. She makes some interesting points about lemon curd, having debunked the theories that unless you make it in a double saucepan it will curdle and if you leave it uncovered it will form a skin. Apparently not true!

So here is the recipe:

Coconut lemon curd cake
125 g butter
2 tsp grated lemon zest
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
1 1/4 cups self raising flour

Beat butter, rind, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy, stir in milk and coconut then sifted flour and divide between 12 standard muffin cases. Smooth surface and bake for 20 minutes in 180°.

I mentioned earlier that the coconut in the recipe is great. I think if you substituted the lemon rind for vanilla essence, this cake recipe would work well for cupcakes with any toppings.

Lemon Curd, from Cook's Companion
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup castor sugar
60 g unsalted butter
2 tsp grated lemon zest
100 ml lemon juice

Whisk egg yolks and sugar until well combined but not frothy. Tip into a saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer point over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. As soon as bubbles appear remove from heat, still stirring. Allow to cool.

Coconut Meringue
4 egg whites
1 cup castor sugar
1 1/3 cups shredded coconut, chopped finely (I used desiccated)

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat till dissolved, fold in coconut.

To assemble the cakes, cut a 2cm deep hole in the centre of each cake and fill with the curd.. Pipe meringue onto the top of each cake and bake in a hot oven for 5 minutes, or until meringue is browned lightly.

I made little nests with the leftover meringue, filled them with the leftover curd and served them with coffee after dinner. Yum!

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mellie said...

Ooooh yummo...they look absolutely fantastic! I can't wait to try this recipe out.

Ali-K said...

Thanks Mellie,
let me know how you go. They are a little time consuming, especially if you make the curd twice :-), but worth it!

aficionado said...

hi :)
ice-cream, curd, anglaise are all made the same way. bring liquids to the boil, cream eggs and sugar in a bowl and add liquid slowly whisking continuously, return to heat and keep stirring in a figure 8 motion until it reaches 84 degrees (eggs curdle at 86) it's easy with a thermometer but once you've done it heaps of times you can tell it's done by the colour change and viscosity.

aficionado said...

oh haha!
ps. the recipe we use at aria for really beautifully glossy italian meringue:
65g whites, 100g castor sugar
whisk over baine marie until body temperature (sugar dissolves) and whisk in kitchen aid on highest setting for minimum 8 minutes.
this stuff is great for oeuf a la neige, bombe alaskas etc etc but shhh! :)