All these while, i have only made stirred lemon curd. The type of lemon curd you labour over your stove over.
Which is quite the irony cause my competence in stove cooking is pretty much a joke at best.
So i decided to do what i do best (or at least better) and BAKE some lemon curd instead.
These are Martha Stewart’s Creamy Lemon Bars. Buttery shortbread crust with creamy lemon curd.
From the couple of lemon bars recipes featured on her site, this one stood out cause it had the additional “creamy” word in it, as opposed to just “lemon bars”.
This curd has a whole can (yes, all 14 ounces) of condensed milk in it.
And as opposed to just the average “lemon bars” which uses whole eggs for the curd, this “creamy lemon bars” topped them by using only the yolks, which i conclude produces a richer, thicker curd.
Thick, creamy curd which you can pretty much just spoon onto your plates had it not been for the crust.
And while the suggestion was to dust these with icing sugar. I decided a bit of leftover raspberry curd could join in the fun and add some needed colour to these pale beauties.
Get ready to pucker up with these two sourheaded fruits!
I think the local Indonesian confectioner’s sugar is not as finely grained as the rest of the world out there. Because each time i made the American Buttercream, which only involved beating the butter and sugar together, it comes out gritty.
My favourite buttercream to date is the Meringue buttercream. Sure, it is dreary and tiresome as it involves heating and beating egg whites before you add the butter in, but it’s really worth the effort in my case.
But what’s most frustrating is when i laboured over the said buttercream, fastidiously pipped them over the cupcakes,only to have them scrapped aside.
Because that’s what always happens around this health conscious household.
Ditto for frostings which involve whipped cream.
So i have decided to go on the safe road and used pastry cream for today’s cupcake frosting. If they had no qualms eating it as fillings for my Boston Cream Donuts, this pastry cream is pretty much insured from getting the brush off.
Using Martha Stewart’s pastry cream recipe, this pastry cream doesn’t even contain butter. And considering that i am using it as a frosting, this is as good as it gets. I dont think you can get any healthier than that.
Or any more boring.
So i’ve decided to jazz it up a bit.
And started off with a lemon cupcake.
With an apple corer, i decided to take a bit of the middle off,
And piped a perimeter of the pastry cream around it. A note when cooking this pastry cream though. To get that pippable consistency, i cooked the pastry cream way more than what the recipe suggested. At the end of the cooking, you should get a thick, gloopy mixture that sits (and not dissolve) when you let it fall back into your pan from your spoon.
Then i filled up the cavity I created from the apple corer with raspberry curd.
Raspberry curd. Sure, it might have a bit of butter, but definitely way lesser compared to a full fledged buttercream.
Besides, raspberries are fruits. They fall into the bottom of the food pyramid, which mandates that everyone eats more of. Which is why i created the cavity in the first place. And made sure that i filled it all the way up.
Lemon Cupcakes, pastry cream and raspberry curd.
That’s like sunshine on mah plate!
Of course, if for some reasons, you happen to squeeze waaaaay too many lemons for your cupcakes and have waaaaay more lemon juice sparing around, you could also make these lemon curd versions.
Lemon Cupcakes with Pastry Cream and Raspberry (or Lemon) Curd
For the cake:
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two muffin pans or line with paper liners. Set prepared pan aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, approximately 3 minutes.
- Beat in the whole eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating until fully combined before adding the next one. Wipe down the sides of the bowl between each addition.
- Once all eggs and yolks are combined, add the vanilla and lemon zest. Stir to combine.
- Add the lemon juice. Mix on low speed to combine.
- With the mixer still on low, mix in the dry ingredients in three separate additions. Between each addition of dry ingredients, add half of the sour cream. Wipe down the sides of the bowl between additions. Stir until fully combined.
- Fill each prepared muffin tin 1/2 way with lemon cake batter. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Rotate the pans halfway through to ensure even baking.
- Remove cupcakes to a wire cooling rack. Let cool to room temperature before serving.
For the raspberry curd:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 pint ripe raspberries or 1 12-oz. package frozen raspberries, thawed
5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2-3 tsp. fresh lemon juice
To make the raspberry curd, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the raspberries, egg yolks, sugar and salt, and cook, mashing the berries. Stir frequently at first and then constantly at the end, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Pour the mixture through a coarse strainer set over a bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Cool to room temperature; the curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Stir in lemon juice to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
I am quite the oddball in the family. As a kid, my popsicles are always in alternating shades of red (strawberry) and orange. This is a deviation from the family’s standard of dark brown , chocolate popsicles.
I caved in once, and conformed to the norm, and immediately regretted my decision as i took my first bite. I was missing the bright, refreshing, and tangy flavours of my fruit based pops! And from then on, i’ve nevered wandered, and always stood tall and proud with my vibrant coloured treat admist its dull coloured counterparts.
So fast forward to present day, one of my favourite things to do in baking is to zest lemon peel. I love inhaling the citrus smell of that squirt of fresh juice as i pressed my zester against the skin of the lemon. Juicing lemon juice is pretty fun too. I lean my weight against the juicer to exert the maximum pressure to wring out every last drop of lemon juice.
And that brings about today’s choice of baking, the lemon bundt cake.
And whilst the cake baked away in the oven, i settled myself with a morning warm lemon tea :)
And when it comes to bundt cake, i know exactly where to seek my recipe from. The food librarian with her series of “ I like Big Bundts” has a very comprehensive library when it comes to bundts. The original recipe (from Martha Stewart) called for Meyer Lemons. I’ve never seen a Meyer Lemon in Jakarta before, so regular ones will have to do for this.
Ah, the glaze, the citrus flavours of the bundt cake came mainly from the glaze. The cake batter only had lemon zest in it while the glaze had both lemon zest and juice. As you would have guessed, the glaze was both sweet and tangy, and would totally zest your mornings into fanci-ness.
And of course the mandatory circus work of pouring glaze and taking pictures with my favourite two hands, which leads to some unevenes in the division of glaze across the whole cake surface
I am cutting myself a slice from the part of the cake with MORE glaze of course, and shall save the slices with the trickly glaze to the dieters.
The cake was baked to a perfect golden brown, texture wise, it is rather dense, and not fluffy soft. I think i might have overbaked it, cause the edges became quite crispy and cookie like. And i think i enjoyed picking at these crisp crumbs more than i did the cake!
A cup of lemon tea and a slice of lemon cake for a Friday breakfast!
(Recipe taken from Martha Stewart)
Makes 2 loaves
I made 1/2 the recipe and baked it in 10-cup Bundt cake pan.
- FOR THE CAKE
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
- 4 cups sifted cake flour, plus more for pans
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 3/4 cups sugar
- 8 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup milk, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
- FOR THE GLAZE
- Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
- 2 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more if needed
- 1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pans and set aside.
- Sift the flour with the salt and baking powder two times and set aside.
- With an electric mixer, cream the butter until fluffy. Add the sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Stir only until thoroughly blended. Gently fold in the zest.
- Pour batter into the prepared pans and level tops with an offset spatula. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan about 10 minutes; then remove to a wire rack to cool thoroughly.
- Make the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk all glaze ingredients to combine. If necessary, add additional confectioners’ sugar to desired consistency.
- Pour glaze on top of cakes and serve.
I never would have thought 8-12 year old kids could be left in the kitchen unsupervised. I mean, with open flames, kitchen knives, and heavy weight kitchen appliances, the kitchen is not exactly a safe playground. But watching Australia’s junior masterchef got me totally flabbergasted.
The cynic in me wondered whether they were even able to cook up something that was safe for consumption, that nothing was too raw, or overdone. But i was blown away when i saw their creations which looked not only delicious, but also were assembled in the most appealing fashion.
The baker in me naturally got drawn to the winning dish which was featured in the first mystery box challenge -Lemon meringue cupcakes.
Now now, not only was the challenge winner, 12 year old Isabella was able to make temperature sensitive egg-based curd, she was also able to score with the ever so temperamental egg white meringue.
The lemon curd was cooked till it was just thickened. It was really smooth, luscious and silky. A hole is created in the middle of each cupcake to house the lemon curd.
however, i was a tad worried as the curd was a bit on the sour side.
But my worries were unfounded as the tangy-ness from the sour curd went flawlessly well with the traditionally too sweet meringue.
So when the judges were swooning over this, they were not exaggerating. This cupcake got its deserved attention and praises. It is that good!
(Taken from Masterchef)
1 cup pure cream
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1/2 cup caster sugar
1. Preheat oven to 180′C. Place 12 patty cake liners in a 12 hole 1/2-cup capacity muffin pan.
2. Place cream, sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Gradually add flour and zest and continue whisking until mixture is thick and smooth.
3. Divide mixture between prepared liners and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cakes spring back to touch. Cool in muffin pan.
4. For lemon curd, heat lemon juice and butter in a small saucepan and simmer until butter has melted. Add sugar, egg and yolks and cook, whisking continuously until mixture becomes thick and glossy. Pour into a shallow oven tray to cool.
5. For meringue, beat egg whites in an electric mixer until firm peaks form, gradually add sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating until sugar has dissolved between each addition. Spoon meringue mixture into a piping bag.
6. To serve, preheat grill to medium-high. Cut a small hole in the top of each cupcake and fill with 1-2 teaspoons of lemon curd. Pipe a swirl of meringue mixture on the top of each cupcake and place under heated grill for 60-90 seconds or until golden. Arrange on a serving plate with spoonfuls of lemon curd if desired.