Wednesday, November 10, 2010

National Vanilla Cupcake Day - Vanilla Cupcakes w/ Lemon Meringue Frosting

The way the world looks at food is constantly changing. A few years ago professionals would have never thought that Cupcakes would take the world by storm the way they have.
With shops popping up in every city, operated sometimes by people with little to no experience, but a fondness for those little cakes sometimes the customers are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to the finished products.
Needless to say with a bit of help the perfect patisserie can be found and turned into your go to in a clutch bakery of choice whenever an event arises that calls for cupcakes or anything sweet.
But for those who like a little adventure in their life, it is much more fun to take a moment to learn how to do something for yourself, in the end you can put your own twist on it and have a sense of self pride in what you have created.
This recipe is simple, and delicious. A light, fluffy and moist vanilla cupcake topped off with a Lemon Meringue frosting that will perfectly cap off any savory dining experience.
We used a bit of red food coloring to make our Cupcakes Pastel Pink, but you can choose to do them in whatever color you like, it will not affect the flavor (just go easy on the food coloring whatever color you do choose.)
Enjoy them today on the great holiday that is National Vanilla Cupcake Day.

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp fine salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup milk

Meringue Frosting:
4 large egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
Pinch fine salt
1 to 2 drops pastel food coloring

Equipment: Standard 12 (1/2 cup) muffin tin

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the muffin tin with cupcake liners.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
In another medium bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until light and foamy, about 2 minutes.
While beating, gradually pour in the butter and then the vanilla.
While mixing slowly, add half the dry ingredients, then add all the milk, and follow with the rest of the dry ingredients.
Take care not to over mix the batter.
Divide the batter evenly in the prepared tin (about 1/3 cup batter per cup cake.)
Bake until a tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove.
Cool on the rack completely.

For Meringue:
Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a saucepan that can hold a mixer's bowl above the water.
Whisk the egg whites, sugar, lemon juice and zest, cream of tarter and salt in the bowl by hand.
Set the bowl above the boiling water and continue whisking until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar dissolves, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat at medium-high speed until meringue is cool and holds a soft peak, about 5 minutes.
Add a few drops of desired food coloring and continue beating until it holds stiff peaks.

To decorate:
Using a spoon, offset spatula or piping bag, dollop, spread or pipe meringue on top of each cupcake.
Use the back of a spoon to create peaks and valleys in the cupcake as desired.

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