This is the first of what I call the 'complicated' cupcake recipes. These are the cupcakes that require a filling and a frosting so a little more work involved that normal.
If it was down to me, the lemon meringue wouldn't have been the first one's I would have picked. I'm a chocoholic and would have most likely gone for the Chocolate Fondant or the Boston Cream cupcakes but I let my husband chose which ones to make for this weekend and now here we are.
I made the sponges during a spare 15 minutes. They were the quickest part of the recipe, only variation was the grated lemon zest that is added along with the other dry ingredients. Popped these in the oven for around 19 minutes I think, this is a guess as I started to clean up the kitchen after they went into the oven and realised I had forgotten to set the timer or check the clock. I checked them with a skewer and they came out perfectly so my guessing must have been right.
I left the cupcakes to cool in the tin just enough to be able to handle them and then popped them on the wire rack. The sponges cooled in total for 2 hours and then I nervously made the first incision to start filling them. I was very apprehensive about the filling and meringue stage. Worried I would cut too deep or wide a whole or that all the cut outs would nee trimming down and it would be a fiddly job. Turned out it wasn't as nerve racking as I was fretting and the cut outs didn't need trimming at all, they all slotted back into the cupcakes wonderfully on top of the lemon curd filling.
Once all of this was done I set them back onto the rack and separated the 4 egg whites into a bowl needed for the meringue topping. These were whipped briefly until just foamy and put aside whilst the sugar and water mixture boiled away. I did use the soft-ball tip and had a bowl of cold water standing by for the test. Tried it after 5 minutes as suggested but the sugar just sort of dropped to the bottom and merged with the water. I put the timer on for another 5 minutes and tried again every so often. Got to about 15 minutes of boiling and the syrup was starting to obviously thicken in the saucepan but still not quite forming a ball when dropped into the water. It was taking shape and could be picked out of the bowl though so decided that was good enough and added the hot sugar to the foamy eggs. This mixture is whisked into oblivion until it has cooled to a luke warm touch underneath the bowl and is four times the size as before, with a glossy white look.
Onto spooning it onto the top of the filled sponges. I think it worked out to about a tablespoon and a half of frosting for each cupcake. It started to thicken as it was going on and once all were done I tentatively popped them under the warmed grill for a few seconds to brown. My grill it seems does not cook evenly and so some came out more so than others but I didn't want to risk burning them so left them as they were.
My husband dove straight in and chomped one down almost as soon as my photos were taken. I went straight after as after all that hard work I deserved not to have to wait to try one out. First is the meringue frosting. Not as hard or as sugary was I was expecting. It seems to be semi solid but when you bite into it, it is actually surprisingly frothy and light. The sponge was delicious as always, with a hint of lemon flavour but not too strong that it was sickly when you finally found the lemon curd filling hidden in the middle. Together the flavours originally from a pie work well in cupcake form and it wasn't too rich to produce a sugar coma afterwards either, which is always a bonus.