Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

These light airy cupcakes are perfect. The sour lemon curd is a perfect balance with the sweet frosting and fluffy cake. My only complaint is the process was long, so if you are looking for quick and easy these aren't great. But afterward taking a bite made all the work totally worth it! I strongly recommend this fun take on the classic lemon meringue pie!

                                        Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
The Ingredients:                    
yield: 24

3 cups all purpose flour
1tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup(2 sticks) butter, room temp.
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temp.
zest of 3 lemons
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

 Lemon Curd:
2 whole eggs plus 8 yolks ( save whites for frosting)
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (approx. 6 lemons)
2 tablespoons butter, room temp. cut into small pieces

Seven Minute Frosting:
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
6 large egg whites, room temp. (use whites left from curd)


For Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 325. Line muffin tins with paper liners, and whisk together flour baking powder, and salt.  With an electric mixer cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time.  Beat in zest and vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 batches alternating with 2 additions of buttermilk and lemon juice, beating just until combined. Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full. Bake in preheated oven, rotating pan halfway through, until golden brown, 25 minutes. Cool completely before removing cupcakes from tin.

For Curd:
Combine whole eggs and yolks, sugar, and lemon juice in heatproof bowl over simmering water. Cook, whisking, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and add butter, whisking until smooth. Refrigerate until firm( 2 hours or up to 2 days) .
It does not appear to make very much, but it is plenty.

For Frosting: 
Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with water and corn syrup in a small saucepan, clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves, continue to boil, WITHOUT STIRRING, until sugar reaches 230 degrees.Meanwhile beat the egg whites in STAND MIXER( I tried it with a hand mixer, DO NOT do this unless you want to lose feeling in your arm for the rest of the week) until soft peaks form, and add 2 tablespoons sugar. When syrup reaches 230 degrees immediately remove from heat. With mixer running pour syrup down the side of the bowl in a slow steady stream. Whisk until mixture is completely cool, test by touching bottom of bowl, and stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes.( It took me 15 minutes)

Spoon 1 Tablespoon lemon curd over cooled cupcake. Fill pastry bag with star tip with frosting. Pipe frosting over the curd on each cupcake. Hold small kitchen torch 3 inches away and wave back and forth until frosting is light brown. We don't own a kitchen torch, so I put mine in the oven on broil for about 45 seconds.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream Frosting

Recently I watched a cupcake show on food network, which sparked my interest in  cupcakes. I begged my mom to take me to a little shop near us, so I could taste a gourmet cupcake for myself. I took that first bite, and I knew that cake mixes and canned frosting would never enter my mouth again. I immediately went home and found these recipes and made them for my family. They are perfectly fluffy which compliments the creaminess of the frosting perfectly.

Cupcakes adapted from  epicurious.com and the frosting was adapted from Pioneer Woman

The Ingredients:


1 can (13-14-ounces) coconut milk, reduced over medium-high heat to 1 cup and cooled to room temperature (see below for more details)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


1/2 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
¾ cup cream of coconut (I found it in the alcoholic beverage aisle along with other drink garnishments.  It does not contain any alcohol, but is used to make pina coladas.)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla (I added vanilla bean instead)
Coconut flakes, toasted (optional, for garnishment)

reduced coconut milk:
Bring coconut milk to boil in large deep saucepan over medium-high heat (coconut milk will boil up high in pan).

Reduce heat to medium/low; boil until reduced to 1 cup, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove from heat; cool completely. Transfer to small bowl. Cover; chill (coconut milk will settle slightly as it cools). DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. 

(NOTE:  don't try to cut corners by not waiting for the coconut milk to cool completely.  It will melt the butter, and your cupcakes will not be fluffy.)

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line eighteen 1/3-cup muffin cups with paper liners. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar; beat on medium-high speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Add vanilla extract and remaining egg. Add half of flour mixture; mix on low speed just until blended. Add 1 cup reduced coconut milk; mix just until blended. Add remaining flour mixture; mix on low speed just until blended.

Divide batter among muffin cups.

Bake cupcakes until tops spring back when gently touched and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 15-18 minutes. Transfer cupcakes in pans to rack; cool 10 minutes. Carefully remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on rack.

In a large bowl beat butter until smooth.  Add all other ingredients (powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, cream of coconut, 1 tsp. vanilla extract) and mix until smooth. (Add more cream of coconut as needed for smoother frosting.) 
Ice cupcakes and top with some toasted coconut flakes for that final touch.