These lemon meringue cupcakes are fresh, light and luscious with zingy lemon flavour and sweet fluffy Italian meringue topping. Preparation time 30 mins Baking time 20 mins Makes 12 For the cakes: 130g self raising flour, sifted 130g butter, softened 2 large eggs, beaten 1/2 tsp baking powder Zest of one lemon 4 tbsp good quality lemon curd For the meringue: 120g caster sugar 50ml water 2 large egg whites Method: 1 Preheat the oven to 180˚C/160˚C fan/gas mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases. For the cake, place the flour, butter, eggs, baking powder and lemon zest in a large bowl and beat for 1 minute using an electric mixer until thoroughly combined. 2 Divide the cake mixture evenly between the muffin cases, level the tops and bake for 20 mins until the cakes spring back when lightly pressed. Allow to cool. 3 Using a small sharp knife cut a circular lid from the top of each cake to create a small well. Fill each cake with a teaspoon of lemon curd, replace the lids and press down lightly. 4 For the meringue, place the sugar and water in a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat slightly and place a sugar thermometer in the pan, making sure the bulb is covered by the sugar syrup. Continue to heat without stirring until a temperature of 121˚C is reached. Remove from the heat then quickly whisk the egg whites in a clean, grease free bowl using an electric mixer until stiff peaks are formed. Continue to whisk the egg whites whilst adding the hot sugar syrup, making sure the syrup doesn’t touch the beaters or spun sugar will form! Be very careful with this process as the sugar will be very hot! Once all the syrup is added, beat for a further minute for a firm and glossy meringue. 5 Allow the meringue to cool for approx 5 mins until it is cool enough to handle. Using a large star nozzle, pipe a whirl of meringue on the top of each cake ensuring it just covers the edges of the lid. Heat the meringues using a cook’s blowtorch to create a crisp brown crust. TIP: * If you don’t have a sugar thermometer or a blowtorch, try making ordinary meringue and pipe 12 whirls on a lined baking sheet. Bake in a cool oven until crisp then pop them on the top of each cake. * The cakes can be frozen before filling and topping – just wrap and freeze once completely cool.
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