Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Lemon and Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Lemon Cloud Icing

When I looked out my window yesterday, the sun was shining, the birds were singing and there were new green leaves sprouting in the garden. It felt like spring. Today of course, it's icy cold.

But I wanted to share this very fresh, "springy" recipe with you anyway : )

The title should really say "Lemon Curd Icing" but curd just doesn't come close to conjuring up the sublime, airy, lemon fluffiness of this frosting - so "cloud" it is!

To create it I used my standard recipe for Swiss meringue buttercream, and substituted half the butter with lemon curd. I had no idea if it would work, but I figured that there is enough butter in lemon curd for the swop to be reasonable, and - voila! it worked : )
I'm always a little stingy with the butter component of SMB, anyway - most recipes call for a brick of butter to 5 egg whites. I just can't do it! So I settle for the point when the buttercream firms up enough to be pipe-able, and stop adding butter then. It does mean that the icing is perhaps not as sturdy as it could be, but - especially on a cupcake that isn't traveling much farther than the distance between my kitchen and the dining room - I'm ok with that!

Lemon Cloud Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Recipe by Tea, Cake & Create

5 egg whites
1 cup granulated white sugar
150g butter, at room temp, cut into cubes
150g lemon curd (find my recipe for lemon curd here).

Put the egg whites and sugar into a mixing bowl, and place that over a saucepan of simmering water. The bottom of the mixing bowl must not be in contact with the water, and the water should not be boiling.

Whisk constantly, until the sugar granules have dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch.

Move off the stove, and to the mixer.
Using the whisk attachment, whip until it forms a thick and glossy meringue.

When the mixing bowl feels neutral (ie, no longer hot), start adding the butter one cube at a time, whipping it in with the mixer on low-medium speed. Then add the lemon curd - a spoonful at a time.
 It may curdle, but just keep whipping until it reaches a satiny smooth consistency and holds its shape.

(If you're having SMB problems, read this post from Rosie at Sweetapolita

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Lemon and Poppy Seed Cupcakes
Recipe by Tea, Cake & Create

Preheat the oven to 180'C
Line a muffin tray with cupcake cases -15 to 18

1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
170g (2/3 cup) butter, at room temp
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
60 ml lemon juice
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Lemon extract - 1tsp, or 8-10 drops if using Vanilla Girl lemon extract
2 tbs poppy seeds

In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients, including the poppy seeds, but not the sugar. Whisk to combine.

With an electric mixer, cream the sugar and butter.
Add the zest and lemon extract.
Add the eggs, 1 at a time. Beat on low speed, and scrape down the bowl between additions.

With the mixer still on low speed, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then the lemon juice, another third of the dry ingredients followed by the buttermilk, then the rest of the flour mix.
Beat until just combined.

Divide equally between the cupcake cases.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Remove from the muffin tray and place on cooling rack.
Allow to cool completely before icing.

Happy baking!


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