February 28, 2012

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

I always hated lemon meringue pie as a child. I thought lemon was gross. I thought meringue was disgusting.

I've matured through the years ... or at least my tastebuds have matured. I've honestly never eaten a slice of lemon meringue pie, but I bet it would be delicious now. I know these Lemon Meringue Cupcakes certainly are.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
2 1/3 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup milk
1/2 pint lemon curd
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line 24 cupcake tins with wrappers.

In a medium bowl, beat butter 30 seconds. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Gradually add sugar to butter, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat 2 minutes after all sugar is added. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon zest and vanilla.

On low speed, alternately add flour and milk, starting and ending with flour. Beat until just blended. Divide batter evenly among cupcake liners, filling to about 2/3 full.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes, and then cool completely on wire racks.

Cut out the centers of the cooled cupcakes. I used a large decorating tip to cut out the top and a chopstick to pop the piece of cake out of the tip before I proceeded to the next one.

Transfer the lemon curd to a piping bag. Fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla together until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, about 1 Tbsp. at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Transfer meringue gently into a piping bag, and pipe onto cupcakes. Bake 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. (I used my kitchen flame thrower (OK, that's probably not the technical term) to finish browning mine. Baking is always more fun when you use the line, "Blow out any big flames.")

Serve once cupcakes are cool. If storing, refrigerate to preserve the integrity of the meringue and lemon curd. However, I recommend devouring promptly.

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