Lemon & Mint Meringue Cupcakes…
Winter and I are tight. We’re bff’s. Seriously.
When I wake up in the morning to the relentless rain drumming on the roof, I smile.
When I snuggle on the couch under huge piles of blankets with a good book and a steaming hot cup of tea, I smile.
When I get into bed on a Friday night at 20h30 with my heater pumping and my laptop on my lap, I smile.
In short, Winter makes me happy. It honestly affects my mood. Is there an opposite to Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Who cares. All throughout Summer I wait for Winter. So right now, I’m loving life.
I know lemons often make us think of Summer, but with the mountains of them in the shops at the moment they’ve become synonymous with Winter. At least in my mind. Although lemons are a huge no no for those of us with stomach acid related issues I have not been able to seem to care.
In this situation, right now, I’ve decided to deal with the consequences later. Can you blame me?
These cupcakes are for Food24’s cupcake competition. They are Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Curd and Mint filling, brushed with lemon and mint syrup and topped with fluffy Lemon Swiss Meringue. A suggested the lemon as it’s her favourite flavour to put in a cupcake and since it’s one of mine to we jumped on it. She even taught me how to make candied lemon for the tops and we used the syrup (with added mint) for brushing.
If you’d like to enter pop over to Food 24 and get the details, but do it quick as the competition ends at the end of June!
Gluten-free Vanilla Cupcakes:
(from Seriously Good! Gluten-Free Baking by Phil Vickery)
(makes 12 cupcakes)
- 180 g castor sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp glycerine (can be found at your supermarket or pharmacy)
- 175 g gluten-free flour mix (see below)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 130 ml canola oil
- 130 ml whole milk
Flour Mix: (makes 1 kg)
- 700 g rice flour
- 200 g potato flour
- 100 g tapioca flour
Whisk the flours together and store in an airtight container.
Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/350°F and place paper cases into a 12-hole muffin pan.
Whisk together the castor sugar, eggs, vanilla and glycerine in a large mixing bowl on high-speed for about 4-5 min until pale and thick.
While that’s mixing, sift together the flour, baking powder and xanthan gum and make sure they’re well combined.
Mix the oil and milk together in a jug.
Add the dry and wet mixtures to the egg mixture. I find that alternating works best to get them nicely combined.
Divide the mixture between the cases, fill about 2/3 of the way.
Bake for about 15 min-20 min, until well risen. My test is to press down lightly on the top of the cupcake, if it springs back from your touch then it’s ready to come out. If your fingers leave a dent then they need a little more time, about 5 min or so.
Remove the cakes from the pan as soon as possible and place on a wire rack to cool.
Lemon Swiss Meringue:
(Adapted from Annie’s Eats)
- juice of 1 lemon (or more to taste)
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 1/4 cups castor/superfine sugar
Place the lemon juice, egg whites and sugar into a heat proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk continuously until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is quite warm (around 70°C/160°F). I suggest using an electric hand beater for this is it does take a while. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer and beat on high-speed with the whisk until the mixture has cooled to room temperature. You should have nice shiny, firm peaks.
Lemon & Mint Simple Syrup:
- 200 g white sugar
- 200 ml water
- zest of 1 – 2 lemons
- a handful of roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to stand, covered, for about 10 min to further infuse the flavours.
- Lemon Swiss Meringue
- Lemon & Mint Simple Syrup
- Lemon Curd
- a handful of finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- Lemon zest and mint leaves to garnish
Scoop out a hole from the middle of the cupcake using a melon-baller or small knife.
Brush the top of the cupcake and inside of the hole with the syrup.
Mix some of the finely chopped mint leaves into the lemon curd and fill the holes with the mixture.
Spread the swiss meringue liberally on top and garnish with lemon zest and fresh mint leaves.