Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Meyer Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes
I made this recipe from the Martha Stewart website, but I adapted it a little. I halved it, and those are the directions I’m giving you here, for 12 cupcakes. Even then, I had way too much Meyer lemon curd, so you could even halve that again. If I had known, I would have used my remaining Meyer lemon, but as it was, I didn’t want it to be lost to the great collective, so these lemons were store-bought. I adapted the recipe to use all-purpose flour instead of a mixture of all-purpose and cake flours. I also made my fluffy vegan buttercream frosting with vanilla bean paste, and instead of simply topping it with a raspberry, I put a spoonful of raspberry jam in the frosting as I was making it. (Note to Martha Stewart: If you simply top a cupcake with a raspberry, that’s decoration, not flavoring.) I used sanding sugar on only 3 of the cupcakes; I couldn’t bring myself to do more, because all I could think was, “Yo dawg, I heard you like sugar, so I put sugar on your sugar!” I eat enough sugar as it is.
As for the cupcake recipe itself, I think there might be something wrong with it. I think the butter-to-sugar ratio is too low; it seems to me like the quantity of butter (or margarine) should be doubled. The batter was really weird, more of a dough than a batter, really. It was definitely the wrong consistency for folding in egg whites. I thought it would be a disaster and that I’d have to start over, but in the end, the cupcakes rose beautifully, and even though they were dense, they were very good. I wonder whether the density is required in order to hold the Meyer lemon curd inside without leaking. In any case, since the cupcakes worked in the end and were delicious, I’m leaving the butter-to-sugar ratio as is, but be warned that the batter will be very stiff.
But how were these cupcakes, all things said and done? I loved them. The tartness of the fresh raspberry cut through the sweetness of the curd, and raspberry and lemon complement each other very well; it was a delicious combination. When the Engineer bit through the lemon curd center of the first one, he exclaimed it was an epic win, and he declared them excellent.
For the Meyer lemon curd (considering halving this)
½ cup sugar
zest of 2 Meyer lemons
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
½ cup Meyer lemon juice
½ stick (4 Tbsp) margarine or butter
Prepare an ice-water bath. Set a medium bowl in the ice-water bath and set aside.
Place sugar and lemon zest in a mortar and grind with a pestle to combine and release the oils. Transfer sugar mixture to a medium heatproof bowl along with egg and egg yolks; whisk to combine. Place over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until sugar has dissolved. Add lemon juice and continue whisking until mixture is thick and reaches 160 °F on an instant-read thermometer, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add butter and whisk until combined.
Strain lemon mixture through a fine mesh sieve set over the prepared bowl. Cover lemon curd with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface. Transfer to refrigerator until completely chilled.
For the cupcakes
½ cup (1 stick) margarine or butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 large eggs, separated
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup lactose-free sour cream (or soy sour cream or lactose-free Greek yogurt)
Sanding sugar (optional)
12 fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line a standard muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add vanilla; beat to combine. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. With the mixer on low, add flour mixture; mix until well combined. Add sour cream; mix until well combined.
In the clean bowl of an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into batter.
Fill each muffin cup half full with batter. Transfer muffins tin to oven and bake until a skewer inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Let cupcakes cool completely.
Using an apple corer, make a hole in the top of each cupcake, taking care not to push the core through the bottom; remove cake from hole. Fill a squirt bottle with lemon curd and squeeze curd into holes. (I just put curd in there with a small spoon.)
For the fluffy vegan buttercream frosting
½ cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
½ cup non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
3 ½ cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 Tbsp raspberry jam
Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Add the vanilla and raspberry jam, and beat another few minutes. Add a spoonful or two of non-dairy milk or creamer if the consistency is too stiff.
Pipe frosting on top of each cupcake and top with sanding sugar, if desired, and a raspberry.
[Update, February 2019: I wanted to say that I tried this recipe again with half the amount of lemon curd (using the single Meyer lemon our tree had produced), and there was still more than enough. Moreover, I made the frosting without any jam and with only half the amount of powdered sugar – I found that it had the right consistency and was definitely sweet enough already!]