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Lemon Meringue Pie Cupcakes

I love these cupcakes. I loved mixing them, filling them and making the meringues. Most of all, I loved eating them.
Did I mention that they are simple to put together and very impressive looking? I was inspired by a recipe from Food&Drink, the official magazine of the liquor licensing board of Ontario, Canada. I didn’t quite use their recipe, but the premise is the same. The magazine is a beautiful publication that I have used before with great success. Incidentally, they recommend a Riesling or a Chardonnay as an accompaniment for these cupcakes.

The cake is moist and tender with a light lemon flavor from zest that is stirred into the batter. It is possible that lemon juice would have added to the intensity, but I don’t think that it would have been necessary since the cupcakes were filled with lemon curd. In fact, as you eat the cake, you will come across a bright burst of tart-sweet lemon in the center; more lemon flavor isn’t even necessary. The meringue makes a nice change from more traditional buttery frostings, too. It is light enough not to take away from the flavor of the cake, but it adds a bit of extra sweetness and a delightful look. And it also gave me an excuse to use my kitchen torch to brown the peaks.

I used a cooked meringue for these, so they would stay stable at room temperature for several hours, though they can be finished and refrigerated for 24 hours. If you don’t have a small kitchen torch, just place the cupcakes on a baking sheet, top with meringue and put them under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until lightly browned.

Lemon Meringue Pie Cupcakes

1 cup cake flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ cup butter, very soft
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp lemon zest (from 2 large lemons)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 375F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.
Sift together cake flour, ap flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and lemon zest until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg thoroughly, followed by vanilla. Alternate milk and flour in three additions, ending with flour.
Evenly distribute in prepared pans.
Bake at 375F for 18-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Makes 18 cupcakes.

Once the cupcakes are cool, fill a metal-tipped pastry bag with lemon curd (recipe follows, or you may use store-bought) and pipe into cupcakes. Poke the tip of the pasty bag 1/2-1 inch into the top of each cupcake and squeeze about 2 tsp lemon curd into it. You might not use all the curd.

3 egg whites
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar

Set a glass or metal bowl over a sauce pan with an inch or two of boiling water in it (i.e. use a double boiler) and beat egg whites in it until foamy. Add in cream of tartar and beat until fluffy but not yet at soft peaks. Stream in sugar until meringue reaches fairly stiff peaks. Spread on cupcakes with a small knife or offset spatula.

Brown with a blowtorch or place on a baking sheet under the broiler until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Lighter Lemon Curd
(adapted from Chocolate and the Art of Low Fat Desserts)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1-2 tsp lemon zest
5 tbsp sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, dissolve sugar into lemon juice. Add zest.
Lightly beat egg in a small/medium bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly pour lemon/sugar syrup into the egg. Beat for 2 minutes (only 1 if you’re using a mixer), then transfer back into the saucepan.
Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until it just starts to bubble at the edges. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Transfer to a small container and store in the fridge.
Makes 2/3 cup.

On an un-cupcake related note, bakingsheet is a finalist in the Best Cooking/Recipe Blog category of the Best of Blog Awards. I’m honored to have been nominated, and congrats to the rest of the nominees. I’ll announce when the polls are open for voting!

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  • The Cookbook Junkie
    January 9, 2006

    Those look amazing! I’m sure they taste as good as they look too.

    I never do anything interesting with my cupcakes. I just frost them. I have to try something more creative like this.

  • linq1
    January 9, 2006

    Looks great.Found another blog bout cupcakes. They look to die for. Keep up the baking. Love visiting ur blog to see wat u’ve been baking. http://chockylit.blogspot.com/

  • Alice
    January 9, 2006

    These sound awesome!! I just need to think of an occasion to make them for! 🙂

  • Tokyoastrogirl
    January 9, 2006

    Hi Nic,

    These look delicious. My dad absolutely loves lemon meringue pie so I will have to make these for him! Thanks.

  • Randi
    January 9, 2006

    I love the food and drink magazine. Do you have access to the actual magazine? Do you have the holiday 05 issue? I can send you one if you want, I have an extra one. I made a white chocolate lemon filled cupcake for my wedding cupcake tree. it was a big hit.

  • Clare Eats
    January 9, 2006

    Oh!!! They look fab! I want to make them now… ! I wonder if I can fin someone to help me eat them? hmm

  • Rorie
    January 9, 2006

    Beautiful! Personally, I would love to eat a lemony cupcake!

  • Jessica
    January 9, 2006

    What a great concept! Alice’s lemon curd is good, isn’t it? I use it for my macaroons.

  • Randi
    January 9, 2006

    I dont have my email in my blog. I suppose I should put it in, but honestly I dont know how( I didnt even set up my blog, my friend did). Anyway, its Randi66@cabletv.on.ca. Btw, have you made bagels? I want to bake some, and I planned on using the recipe from the bread bakers apprentice. I used to live in Santa Monica and LB before moving to canada and I miss Western Bagels( in WLA) and East Coast( in LB). The bagels here are crap. Basically a bun with a hole in it.

  • Patti
    January 9, 2006

    Those look absolutely beautiful. I love your posts and your photos. Thanks!

  • Julie
    January 9, 2006

    Those look divine. Can’t wait to try them out. After I ask you what exactly ‘ap flour’ is. Thanks.

  • Cindy
    January 10, 2006

    Very nice looking cupcakes. Even I who don’t like lemon, I’d be tempted to eat some.

  • Ivonne
    January 10, 2006

    First of all, great cupcakes! Lemon meringue in any form is a hit with me, but I had never considered cupcakes.

    The LCBO’s publication is top notch. And the best part about it is that it’s free … yep you can pop into any LCBO, pick up a copy and you have months worth of recipe ideas!

  • Nic
    January 10, 2006

    Randi – I’d love to have yours, if you have a spare. I’ll send you an e-mail. Thanks!

    Jessica – It’s my favorite lemon curd, hands down. I want to make it with oranges, too, just for something different.

    Julie – “ap flour” is “all purpose” flour.

    Cindy – I don’t know how you feel about other citrus, but these would be beautiful with lime, too.

  • Angie
    January 10, 2006

    Nic, the cupcakes look fantastic! And congrats to you for the nomination 🙂

  • Rachael
    January 13, 2006

    Im super confused…I have never heard of making meringue over heat. I will have to try this method…are you trying to basically pasteurize them? Im just perplexed on how that would work out…cant wait to try it and see!

  • Nic
    January 13, 2006

    Rachael – It works just the same way as pouring boiling sugar into beaten egg whites, as you might do when making italian meringue.

  • Christa
    September 24, 2009

    I saw this recipe today and I just had to make it. The cupcakes are cooling on the rack, and the curd is in the fridge. The batter was oh so tastey and know these cupcakes are going to be SCRUMMY!!!! Lemon meringue pie is my all-time fav and I know I’m going to love the flavor in the cupcakes!

  • stephany
    April 1, 2011

    These look Awesooooome! I MUST make these. I do have a question though in regards to the mirangue…am I supposed to allow it to cool down before spreading onto the cupcake???

  • Emily
    March 1, 2012

    I made these for a fancy dinner and they were a huge hit! The cake has a very subtle lemon flavor while the lemon curd filling really packs a tart punch! Thanks for the idea!

  • panchgani
    July 23, 2012

    I love these cupcakes. I loved mixing them, filling them and making the meringues. Most of all, I loved eating them thanks for sharing

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