For the love of Lemon Meringue Cupcakes…
A mouth-watering afternoon tea soiree that would be considered my idea of a truly elegant and delectable high tea, would not be missing these dainty little lemon meringue cupcakes. Served along side some neat cucumber finger sandwiches with other petit fours (anything that has mascarpone or chocolate and definitely jellied fruit on custard!)and some Devonshire tea, a woman would almost feel as pampered and as royal as Marie Antoinette who, as we all know, was most famous for her quote “Let them eat cake…” as well responsible for my expanding waistline from the love of cake.
I was pondering on the merit of this and delved into a bit of history. How interesting it was to note that many historians as well as the author–Lady Antonia Fraser, who wrote the biography of the French queen, all seemed to dispute the origin of this claim. There has been many reassertions that such a quote would be rather uncharacteristic of Marie-Antoinette who was noted for donating generously to charity. There had also been stories circulating years before about a Spanish princess, Marie-Thérèse, (she married King Louis in 1660) being the possible originator of the quote rather than Marie Antoinette. Apparently she had been the one who may have suggested that the French people eat ‘la croǔte de pate’ i.e. the crust of the pate, in addition to different variations of this by a couple of aunts of Louis XVI.
None of us would really know the truth of this except I personally would certainly be able to confirm that Marie Antoinette hadn’t said “Let them eat cake”. She was French, remember?
I’ll much rather imagine her nibbling on my lemon meringue cupcakes, eyes semi-closed, nose in the air, with a royal dainty wave of her pale queenly hand quipping rather fashionably, “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” (Let them eat cake, in French)…
Am sure she’ll appreciate these lemon meringues, a favourite of yours truly. As will you, I promise.
I usually go ‘the whole shebang’ and will bake an entire lemon meringue tart when the craving gets to me. Actually it’s also just my little way of celebrating a triumph. To think that The Shingle Inn charges us a dollar fifty for their white cake box, in addition to refusing to let customers order a whole lemon meringue tart (i.e. if you intend to get them to cut up slices to eat while seated in their surrounds). Not even if we ordered coffees around the table. Yes—if you order a slice out of their cake display to eat at their cafe, you’ll have to pay a ridiculous amount for that slice. Since when was practicing wise economics a crime? Choose to buy a whole lemon meringue tart and they won’t allow you to eat any of it unless you leave their premises! Am I a crazy person or is this not even a little preposterous?
Sorry, I just had to rant a little and I do relish sharing this great recipe so that you’ll know you can bake a much better lemon meringue treat than the folks at the Shingle Inn franchises. These mini lemon meringue cupcakes are so handy when I want to lay out an afternoon high tea and was aiming to please. I do like bringing real smiles and joy with my baked goods! Just as it’s said in the bible in Acts 20:35, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive”. For anyone who takes a bite into one of these decadent lemon meringue cupcakes oozing with sugary zesty lemon curd—they are as addictive as they come. As a boxed gift, you will undoubtedly be elevated to a new status on the receiver’s treasured friend list!
To save you time, the lemon curd can be made a day ahead and stored refrigerated, as can the cupcakes—however cupcakes should be stored at room temperature. Only whisk the meringue frosting and assemble the cupcakes on the day you plan to serve them. “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”. Love it.
Lemon Cupcakes: (adapted from Women’s Weekly’s ‘Love To Bake’)
125g butter softened
2 tsp grated lemon rind
2/3 C caster sugar
3/4 C desiccated coconut
1 1/4 C self-raising flour
1/3 C caster sugar
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1/3 C lemon juice
4 egg whites
1 C caster sugar
Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake baking cases. Heat oven to 180 ℃. Whisk butter, lemon rind, sugar and eggs using whisk attachment in a stand mixer till it gets pale and fluffy. Stir in the desiccated coconut, the sifted flour and lastly the milk.
Bake the cupcakes for about 17-20 minutes till done (a skewer inserted into the centre of cupcakes comes out clean). Cool on wire racks. Increase oven temperature to 200 ℃.
Filling Lemon Curd:
There are two ways to do this: either slice about an inch off the top of the cupcakes off and reserve aside, pipe the lemon curd on top, then replace the top back, OR, cut a 3/4” deep hole in the centre of each cupcake, then fill with the lemon curd and discard the tops. (I prefer not to waste any!)
Meringue Frosting & Re-baking:
Start on the meringue. Whisk the ingredients of meringue till thick, stiffened and glossy.
Pipe on top of the cupcakes after filling with the lemon curd. Bake again for 5 minutes or until the raw meringue is slightly browned. Another way to do this is to use a small handheld cooking blow torch for browning the meringue.