Thursday, 16 October 2014

1st Birthday and a recipe for Lemon Cupcakes with Limoncello Glacé Icing & a Lemon Curd Centre!

Tomorrow is my blog’s 1st Birthday!!!

WOOHOO!!!

In the past year, I have loved sharing some of my favourite recipes and the memories that many of these dishes evoke for me. As the year progressed I found that I was becoming far more adventurous and experimental with some of the foods that I was cooking. The thing that has probably amazed me the most is that I don’t find it burdensome cooking, photographing and writing up the recipes and that it is in fact a process that I enjoy very much.

So on the eve of my blog’s birthday, I would like to thank all those who follow me, those who have commented on and those who have given me feedback about my recipes. I am truly grateful and extremely humbled whenever anyone takes time out of their busy lives to do so.
Given my celebratory mood, I wanted to bake something to mark the occasion, but was determined that it would be something special and representative of my favourite things. I didn’t have to think much about this. I love cake; I love lemon and I love daisies!!! You will see in the photos accompanying this post that I have decorated my cupcakes with individual sugar daisies that I had left over from another cake that I had baked for a christening. I think they look so beautiful delicately perched on top of these cupcakes.
 
In many ways this is a really simple cupcake… the sponge is light flavoured with finely grated lemon zest and it is topped with a simple glacé icing! I have embellished it a bit, by hollowing a little of the cooked sponge cake out of each cupcake and filling the cavity with homemade lemon curd and have also flavoured the glacé icing with the Italian lemon liqueur Limoncello - what I was trying to achieve was a really lemony cupcake and in this regard, I feel that I definitely achieved my aims.
 
What I particularly like about these cupcakes is that they are not decorated with a thick layer of buttercream icing but instead a rather restrained (but VERY flavoursome) glacé icing. I flavoured the icing with Limoncello, but if you don’t have any, just substitute some freshly squeezed lemon juice – the cupcakes will still taste fab.
 

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:
175g butter, softened
175g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
175g self-raising flour, sifted
Lemon Curd:
4 unwaxed lemons, juice and finely grated zest
200g caster sugar
100g butter, cut into small cubes
3 large eggs plus 1 yolk, lightly beaten
Glacé icing:
200g icing sugar
2-3tblsp Limoncello
To finish:
9 sugar daisies (optional)
 

Method:

Cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4. Place 9 cupcake cases in a cupcake/muffin tin and set aside.
2. Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and using a hand-held electric mixer, beat together until light and fluffy. Add the finely grated lemon zest and beat again to fully incorporate.
3. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Add the sifted flour and fold into the creamed mixture. Once all the flour has been added and fully incorporated, spoon the mixture, dividing it equally, into the prepared baking cupcake cases.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 17-20 minutes until the cupcakes are golden brown cooked through and well risen. Allow to cook for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
Lemon curd:
5. Place the lemon juice and zest, sugar and butter into a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl sitting over a pan of barely simmering water making sure that the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl.
6. Stir the mixture occasionally until the butter has melted. Add the eggs into the lemon mixture and whisk together until everything is well incorporated. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened.
7. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely (NOTE: This makes more lemon curd than you need for this recipe, but any excess can be poured into sterilised jars and stored in the fridge for 2 or 3 weeks.
Glacé icing:
8. Mix everything together to create a thickish glacé icing (about the same consistency as golden syrup). Set aside.
To finish:
9. Using a small melon baller hollow out a small cavity from the centre of each cupcake. Fill this with a teaspoonful of lemon curd and then top with some of the glacé icing. Place a sugar daisy on top and allow the icing to set.
 
Makes 9.