I did it! I did it! *twirls around in the kitchen in a happy dance*
When i made that chocolate cake a couple weeks ago, i was blown away from the frosting. Smooth, silky and light as air, i knew it would be perfect for my lemon cupcakes.
For the cake, i couldn’t resist going back to my very trusty Cake Bible (yes, again) and found a recipe for a pound cake that Rose boasts has “a silky-smooth dissolving texture”. I flavoured half the batter with lemon oil and a bit of lemon juice and the other half with homemade vanilla extract, frosted the lemon cupcakes with a subtly lemony meringue buttercream and the vanilla cupcakes with Valrhona chocolate meringue buttercream.
They were just incredible! My mum took a vanilla cupcake and came back two minutes later to rave about how good they were and ask if i had any intention of selling them. I didn’t get to try the vanilla cupcakes but the ones i did try, the lemon ones, totally did it for me.
Moist with a fluffy lemony crumb and topped with luscious, silky frosting that left a whisper of subtly sweet and lemony undertones, this lemon cupcake was everything i could ever want in a lemon cupcake and more. I would even go as far to say that if i could only eat one dessert for the rest of my life, this would be a strong contender in the top ten list.
Now that i’ve got these down pat and will probably be making them till i can’t eat another bite, it’s time to start working on that almond butterscotch ice cream!
Mini Lemon Pound Cake with Lemon Silk Meringue Buttercream [adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible]
1 ½ cups sifted cake flour
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tbsp milk, at room temperature
2 drops of lemon oil
2 tbsp lemon juice*
½ cup castor sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
185g unsalted butter, softened
Lemon Silk Meringue Buttercream**
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp water
2 large egg whites
¼ tsp vinegar
454g unsalted butter, softened
Two drops of lemon oil
2 tsp lemon juice*
½ cup sugar
5 large egg yolks
½ cup milk
- Preheat oven to 175C. Line 10 cupcake holes with cupcake liners, fill the rest with water and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the eggs, milk, lemon oil and juice together.
- Using an electric mixer, whisk the dry ingredients together. Add the butter and half the egg mixture and mix on low speed till the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the speed to medium and beat for another minute to aeate the batter.
- Add the remaining egg mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition.
- Divide the batter evenly among the lined cupcake holes and bake in the centre of the oven for about 20-25 minutes, rotating the position of the tray halfway through, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with crumbs clinging and the top of the cake springs back slightly when pressed with a finger.
- To make crème anglaise Place a sieve over a large bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar together.
- Over the stove, bring the milk to boil and gradually whisk it into yolks mixture. Pour yolk mixture back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Mixture will start to thicken, do not allow it to boil. When mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, remove it from heat and pour it through the sieve. Whisk mixture together and let it cool to room temperature.
- To make Italian meringue In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water together over high heat till the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low, stop stirring and start beating egg whites.
- Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites till frothy. Add vinegar and beat till soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the 2 tbsp of sugar left till stiff peaks form.
- Increase the heat and allow the sugar mixture to boil to a temperature of 248F. Remove from heat immediately and with the electric mixer going on medium, gradually pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites. Keep whipping meringue till it’s completely cool. Stir the cooled creme anglaise in. Using a whisk, beat the butter till it’s creamy and gradually add it to meringue and mix till smooth.
- Divide buttercream into two batches. Mix one batch with the lemon oil and lemon juice and use that to frost the cupcakes. Freeze the other batch for future use. Makes 10 cupcakes
** The recipe makes more than enough to frost the batch of cupcakes and since it’s so damned good, I flavour half of it, use it and keep the rest in the freezer. Bring the frozen buttercream to room temperature, spike it with any flavouring you like and give it a good stir to smoothen it out