These cupcakes are a delicious mix between a lemon sponge cake and a lemon meringue pie – all the zest things in life rolled into one
For the cupcakes:
• 100g (31⁄2oz) unsalted butter, softened
• 100g (31⁄2oz) golden caster sugar
• 1 vanilla pod, split
• 2 eggs
• 100g (31⁄2oz) self-raising flour, sifted
• Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
• 75g (23⁄4oz) ready-made or home-made
• Lemon curdFor the meringue:
• 2 egg whites
• 100g (31⁄2oz) caster sugar
1 Preheat the oven to 180oC (fan 160oC)/350oF/gas mark 4. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake papers.
2 For the cupcakes, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla seeds together in a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand whisk, until pale, fluffy and well combined.
3 Crack in the eggs, one at a time, and beat until both are fully incorporated into the mixture. 4 Fold in the sifted flour and lemon zest until well combined.
4 Spoon the cupcake batter into the cupcake papers. Add 1 tsp of lemon curd to the top of each cupcake.
5 Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until they are pale golden-brown and spring back when pressed lightly in the centre.
6 Meanwhile, for the meringue, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed.
7 Gradually add the sugar, whisking continuously, until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed. The mixture should be thick and glossy.
8 When the cakes are cooked, turn off the oven and preheat the grill to its highest setting.
9 Spoon the meringue into a piping bag with a small plain tube and pipe some in a spiral on top of each cupcake.
10 Place the cupcakes under the hot grill 2 minutes to colour (or you can use a kitchen blowtorch to toast the meringue).
Recipe extracted from Home Bake by Eric Lanlard published by Mitchell Beazley © photography, Craig Robertson