Last fall I tried a recipe for lemon curd ice cream that had come highly recommended by a few of my blogging buddies. It blew me away and probably ranks among the top 5 things I've ever made in my kitchen! It also started my obsession with all things lemon. I don't recall being a huge fan of lemon desserts prior to that ice cream, but since then, almost any recipe that incorporates this wonderful citrus flavor goes directly onto my "to-make" list. I can't walk by lemons in the grocery store without thinking I should buy 3 or 4 just in case, even if I've already got several in the fridge at home. My favorite candle is Yankee Candle's lemon zest, which sadly has been discontinued, and lemon-scented hand soap has a permanent spot beside my kitchen sink. If my yard wasn't a frozen tundra 4 - 5 months of the year I'd probably try to talk Shane into planting a lemon tree :)
So, suffice it to say that this month's selection for the Martha Stewart Cupcakes Club - lemon meringue cupcakes - thrilled me! A big thank you to Megan of My Baking Adventures for selecting this recipe and hosting this month.
The cupcakes have several components - a yellow cake base which is topped with lemon curd and then finished with a meringue frosting. I made 1/4 of the cupcake recipe, which yielded 6 cupcakes. I wanted to make the entire lemon curd recipe but I didn't have enough eggs in the house (it calls for 8 yolks!) so I went with half of the recipe. The lemon curd was made in a double boiler, a technique I really enjoyed as it lessened some of the stress over scrambling the eggs for me. It took almost 15 minutes for the mixture to thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon but it turned out perfectly. It's probably for the best that I only made half of the lemon curd recipe as it was dangerously good!! Give me a bowl of this lemon curd and a spoon and I'd be a happy girl. The recipe only called for topping the cupcakes with a bit of the lemon curd, but I wound up scooping out a little cone from the top of each cupcake to fill with the curd. It was definitely a case of more of a good thing is an even better thing. I skipped the meringue topping because I would have had to scale the recipe way back and it was just easier to make whipped cream. Besides, whipped cream is more tasty in my opinion.
Between the delicious lemon curd and the whipped cream, a huge weakness of mine, the cake part of this recipe sort of got overshadowed for me. The cupcakes were very moist with a tight crumb and they baked up nicely. I did try the cake by itself (I ate the cones I cut from the tops of them) and it was good, but definitely not the star of the show. The thing I'm most excited about is that I get to use the leftover lemon curd to make ice cream again - I can't wait!! Thanks again Megan for your selection this week! You can find the recipe for these cupcakes on page 142 of Martha Stewart's Cupcakes Book.