Spectator cookery Part 3 – flunking the practical

I decided I was going to make some awesome lemon meringue cakes, as seen on ITV’s This Morning. Someone made them for work and they were amazing. Surely cakes can’t be that difficult? Well apparently they can if you don’t have the proper tools, like a cake tin and an electric mixer. This is what they’re supposed to look like:

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

They don’t look as nice as the ones I had (those weird lemon sweets looked vile too), but you get the idea. Inside the cakes are a blob of lemon curd, and on top is meringue with a bit more lemon curd inside the nest.

I did reasonably with the cakes, apart from missing out the milk first time. Without a cake tin they spread out a bit too much, at best looking squarish, at worst a weird kite shape. But they tasted fine. The meringue was more troublesome. I’ve never made it before, so following the recipe I didn’t think the ‘stiff peaks’ bit came until you added half the sugar, so I ended up with sloppy egg-white soup. In my defence I probably would have ended up with that anyway without an electric mixer. So the cakes were meringue-less.

That didn’t seem decent enough to bring to today’s Easter family gathering, so I’ve got 20-ish bland lemon cakes in my kitchen now. Poop. Maybe baking isn’t for me, unless I fork out for a load of apparatus I’m unlikely to use much. I’ll stick to Pokemon I think.

If you want to try it out though, by all means try and I wish you the best of luck in what it probably a fairly simple recipe. I’ve reproduced this with full credit to Phil Vickery on This Morning. Good luck! Here’s how mine turned out:

Failed lemon meringue cupcakes

Preparation time: 20 minutes, Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients (makes 12)

125g salted butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
150g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
3 room temp medium eggs, beaten well together
225g self raising flour, sieved
3 tbsp milk
6-7 tbsp lemon curd

For the meringue:
3 medium egg whites (120g do weigh it though)
Pinch of cream of tartar
240g caster sugar, assuming the whites are 120g (always double the weight of the whites)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
A few lemon jelly segments

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C gas 5.

2. Beat the soft butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla together really well.

3. Add 2 tbsp of flour to the mixture and mix in well. Add the eggs a little at a time. Add the flour, then finally the milk.

4. Spoon half of the mixture into 12 paper lined patty tins. Add a teaspoon of lemon curd, then top with the other half of the cake mixture.

5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until well risen and browned. Remove and cool.

6. Turn the heat up to 220 C gas 7.

7. Whisk the whites and cream of tartar until foamy then add half the sugar and continue whisking until glossy and thick, do not overbeat. Add the rest of the sugar and whisk for a few seconds.

8. Pipe a ring of meringue around the outside of the cup cake.

9. Place a teaspoon of lemon curd into the centre, then top with a second rosette of meringue.
Add a few jelly segments to the meringue and sprinkle with a little granulated sugar.

10. Place on a baking tray and place into the hot oven to brown for a couple of minutes.
Remove, dust with icing sugar and serve cool.

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