The summer season is fast approaching which means it’s time to start whipping up some summery dessert flavours like these utterly delicious lemon meringue cupcakes. The fluffy lemon sponge is filled with a zesty lemon curd and topped with toasted Swiss meringue. These little bites of sunshine are refreshingly sweet and fruity combined with sweet clouds of pillow-y soft meringue. Take a look at my super simple coeliac-friendly recipe below for cupcakes that you won’t believe are gluten-free!
If you’re a fan of lemon meringue pie, then you’re going to love these cupcakes which are basically mini lemon meringue pies in a cupcake. Not only are they ridiculously simple to whip up, they taste utterly delicious and look divine! You don’t need to be an expert for these, as I’ll explain in the recipe below.
How do you make these cupcakes?
So, how are easy are these cupcakes to whip up. Well, we start off by creaming the margarine and sugar together in a mixer until thoroughly combined and a light and fluffy texture has been achieved. It is imperative that the maragarine, even though always softer than butter to start off with, is at room temperature for this, so that the ingredients are incorporated into the batter correctly.
Once finished with the creaming method, the eggs are whisked in one at a time until a gloopy mixture forms. Be careful not to overmix here but we do want them to be whisked in completely!
The lemon extract is added next and mixed in too.
In a separate bowl, the flour, salt, Xanthan Gum and baking powder is sifted together and then slowly added to the wet ingredients and mixed in until just incorporated. We don’t want to overmix and lose those nice air bubbles that we’ve achieved in the previous whisking but we do want to make sure that there are no pockets of flour left in the mixture.
The mixture is then scooped into 12 cupcake cases (or 6 if you’ve chosen to do a small batch) and baked at 160 degrees in a fan assisted oven for around 20-25 minutes, until slightly golden and springy to the touch.
After cooling, a hole is created in the centre and a dollop of tart lemon meringue is spooned in.
The Swiss meringue topping is whipped up, piped on and then toasted with a culinary blow torch to finish!
What equipment do I need for these cupcakess?
- 12-hole cupcake baking tray
- 12 (or 6 large cupcake cases)- I actually use muffin cases (50 x 44mm) because you can really fill them up and have some decent sized cupcakes at the end
- Piping bag fitted with a large open-star tip (Wilton 1M)
- Kitchen blow torch to toast the meringue
What ingredients do I need?
Sugar – White caster sugar adds structure and sweetness to these cupcakes and is a main ingredient of the Swiss meringue topping
Eggs – Eggs are needed to add structure to the cupcakes and to help them to rise in the baking process, room temperature is essential for all eggs in this recipe. Egg whites are essential for the meringue
Margarine – Margarine works wonders in cupcakes, hence why I’d recommend sticking to a margarine spread like Stork rather than a butter. Unsalted butter can be used at room temperature but you won’t get a super light and fluffy cupcake like you would with margarine
Gluten-free flour – A gluten-free flour blend which contains a variety of flours is perfect for gluten-free baking. This ensures the cupcakes contain all of the necessary components needed to create the perfect crumb which a gluten-containing flour would naturally contain. For these cupcakes I like to use a self-raising flour such as Dove’s Farm or Schär- Cake and Cookie Mix C
Xanthan gum – Xanthan gum is essential for most gluten free recipes and there’s no exceptions here. Doves Farm is my preferred choice but you can use any brand. Xanthan Gum is a gluten replacement for gluten-free baking and helps to replace the lost elasticity that gluten provides, keeping your cupcakes together and stopping them from crumbling into dry pieces later on
Baking powder – Baking powder acts as a leavening agent, helping the cupcakes to rise. Any baking powder will work, just again, check that it is definitely gluten-free as not all brands are.
Salt – A pinch of salt in a recipe enhances the flavours of the other ingredients and offsets the sweetness of the cupcakes
Lemon extract – A few drops of lemon extract creates a really intense flavour but if you’d prefer to use fresh lemon zest, that would work too. You would need 2 lemons for this recipe
Lemon curd – Homemade or shop-bought lemon curd can be used to fill the cupcakes
Cream of tartar – This is essential for creating the perfect consistency when making the meringue
Tips & Tricks
Room temperature ingredients are essential for this recipe to work. Room temperature ingredients ensures that they all can be mixed together thoroughly. If you forget to take your eggs out of the fridge beforehand, place them in a bowl of lukewarm, not hot, water 15 minutes prior to baking to bring them to room temperature quickly.
Uniform-sized cupcakes – I like to use an ice cream scoop to spoon my mixture into the cases. This way the cupcakes are likely to have a more uniform size after baking.
The toothpick test is a great way to check whether your cupcakes are done. As all ovens are calibrated differently, the baking times stated are always suggested a a rough guide. To check if the cupcakes are done, insert a toothpick into the middle of a cupcake and if it comes out with no crumbs stuck to it, you can assume that the cupcakes are baked through and ready to come out.
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
For the cupcakes
- 230 g gluten-free self-raising flour blend
- 230 g caster sugar
- 230 g margarine room temperature
- 4 eggs medium room temperature
- ½ tsp lemon extract
- ½ tsp Xanthan Gum
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
For the filling
- 12 tsp lemon curd
For the Swiss meringue topping
- 4 large egg whites room temperature
- 200 g caster sugar
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
For the cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 160 ° C fan and line a muffin tray with 12 cupcake cases.
- Cream the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy in texture.230 g margarine, 230 g caster sugar
- Whisk in the eggs one at a time until completely combined. The whisk in the lemon extract.4 eggs medium, ½ tsp lemon extract
- Sift in the flour, Xanthan Gum, salt and baking powder, and mix again until no pockets of flour remain.230 g gluten-free self-raising flour blend, ½ tsp Xanthan Gum, ¼ tsp salt, ½ tsp baking powder
- Using an ice cream scoop, spoon the divide the mixture evenly between the 12 cases
- Bake on the middle shelf for 25-30 minutes until springy to the touch and an inserted toothpick comes out clean with no wet crumbs on.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool on a cooling rack until they have reached room temperature, then create a hole in the centre of each one and fill with a teaspoon of lemon curd. Pop the spongy top back on top.12 tsp lemon curd
For the Swiss meringue
- Combine the sugar, egg whites and cream of tartar in a bowl and whisk well.4 large egg whites, 200 g caster sugar, ½ tsp cream of tartar
- Set the bowl over a pan of simmering hot water, making sure the bowl does not come in contact with the water. Whisk continuously as the sugar dissolves and until a frothy texture forms. The mixture should be smooth and the sugar should have dissolved completely. You can test this by rubbing a tiny amount of mixture between finger and thumb to feel for grains. Be careful here, as the mixture is extremely hot!
- After around 4-5 minutes, the mixture should not longer contain any grains of sugar. Once you have the correct consistency, pour the mixture into a stand-mixer and whisk on the highest setting for around 8-10 minutes, until stiff white peaks have formed and the meringue looks thick and marshmallowy.
- Allow the meringue to cool down before transfering to a piping bag fitted with a large open-star tip. Pipe in a swirl on top of each cupcake.
- Using a kitchen culinary blow torch, lightly toast the meringue, taking care not to burn the cupcake cases underneath.
Tips & TricksRoom temperature ingredients are essential for this recipe to work. Room temperature ingredients ensures that they all can be mixed together thoroughly. If you forget to take your eggs out of the fridge beforehand, place them in a bowl of lukewarm, not hot, water 15 minutes prior to baking to bring them to room temperature quickly. Uniform-sized cupcakes – I like to use an ice cream scoop to spoon my mixture into the cases. This way the cupcakes are likely to have a more uniform size after baking. The toothpick test is a great way to check whether your cupcakes are done. As all ovens are calibrated differently, the baking times stated are always suggested a a rough guide. To check if the cupcakes are done, insert a toothpick into the middle of a cupcake and if it comes out with no crumbs stuck to it, you can assume that the cupcakes are baked through and ready to come out.
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