Lemon ‘Ménage à trois’ Cupcakes

Oh come on. With all the food hype going around, I KNOW that you’ve heard the phrase ‘food porn’ floating around on the wind. (In a sing song voice)… You know what I’m talking about! You know what it means; food that is so luscious, so decadent, so positively sinful that its heady, engulfing effect on all of your five senses can only be described in lascivious terms akin to erotica.

And this is exactly what these cupcakes are. Light, soft, heavenly lemon sponge with a silky lemon curd that leaves just the perfect amount of tang on your palate, and a swirl of creamy lemon cream cheese icing that melts as soon as it touches your mouth. A trio of lemon– a lemon ménage à trois!

This recipe comes primarily from the winner of the first season’s Junior Masterchef, Isabella (you can find the recipe here). Personally, I’m trying to wipe out all the memories I have of Junior Masterchef, as the sight of seeing so many children possessed with amazing culinary skills simply puts mine to shame! Isabella made lemon meringue cupcakes with an interesting twist – substituting cream for butter. I’m following that change, however I’m swapping the meringue for a lemon cream cheese icing. I made these for a work colleague the night before I was going to take them, and I didn’t want the meringue to do something wacky overnight, like collapse or something similarly depressing. The cream cheese icing is a zested-up version that Nigella Lawson uses for her Red Velvet Cupcakes (in her book Kitchen).

As straightforward and simple as this recipe is, there is a depressing amount of equipment that ends up being used, and so a lot of washing that needs to be done. So I was smart and decided to start a couple of days before by first making my lemon curd and candied lemon slices.

SO! To make your lemon curd, you will need:

  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 120g butter
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  •  1 egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  1. In a saucepan, heat your lemon juice and butter and simmer until the butter has melted. Add the sugar and whisk until dissolved, then remove from the heat.
  2. Lightly beat the egg and egg yolks in a bowl. Pour slowly into the lemon butter in a constant thin stream, whisking continuously.
  3. Put back on a low heat, whisking continuously until the mixture becomes glossy and thick enough to cover the back of a wooden spoon.

4.    Pour the mixture into a sterilised jar, transfer to the fridge to cool.

Now onto the cupcakes 🙂 For the cupcake itself, you will need:

  • 1 cup thickened cream
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 + ½ cup self raising flour
  • Zest of one lemon
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Place your cupcake cases into a 12-cup tray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cream, sugar, eggs and zest.

3.    Sift the self raising flour into the mixture and whisk until the batter is thick and smooth. Don’t over-whisk it. The more you work the batter, the tougher the texture of the cake.

  1. Divide into cases, bake for 15-20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

Aren’t they gorgeous? They smell sensational!

Leave the cakes to semi-cool, then use a paring knife to dig some holes into them. Eat whatever cake you dig out. Om nom nom.

Whee! Holey cupcakes! Hehe holy cupcakes, geddit?? … No? …… Not funny yet?

Oh well. Anyways, dollop your cold curd into the holes. If your cakes are still semi-warm while you do this the curd will warm up and get all gooey and luscious curd-goodness-ey.

Now for the icing! You need:

  • 500g icing sugar
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 200g cream cheese, softened
  •  Zest of one lemon
  • ·         Lemon juice

Now I KNOW it’s a lot of icing sugar, but think of it this way – you’re dividing it between 12+ cupcakes (it is a lot of icing), so you’re not eating all of it yourself, are you…?? There, feel better now? 🙂

  1. Sift your icing sugar. Now if you have a food processor, you’re laughing, but I hate little clumps of icing sugar (OCD), so I did it the old fashioned way and whacked it in a mortar and pestle in batches before sifting it.

2.    AHHHHHHH…..$*#&!!! 500 grams and half an hour later.

  1. Add the zest, butter and cream cheese, mix with an electric beater.
  2. Slowly add teaspoon by teaspoon of lemon juice to achieve your desired consistency. I added about a tablespoon for a piping consistency.

Pipe that cream onto your babies!

TA DA! Lemon ménage à trois cupcakes!

MMMMM lemon curd…

You can make candied lemon slices to decorate if you like, or just cut ordinary lemon. To make candied lemon, slice some lemon very thinly. Boil together 200ml of cold water and 70g of caster sugar.

Once the sugar is dissolved and mixture boiling, put your lemon slices in, boil until translucent, then put out to dry on a piece of baking paper.

Yuuummmmm. Senses overload on lemon delight ❤ ❤ ❤

Happy Baking, all! xx

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Love the name. Those look great! You make a very pretty cupcake.

    1. Cath Chen says:

      Why thank you! They’re sexy cupcakes, aye? 😉

  2. Sarah-J says:

    Made these yesterday and they were simply lovely! I initially found the curd tasting a little too eggy for my liking, but I then added some honey and it tasted perfect! Thanks for the recipe!!

    1. Nice addition to the curd! I’m so happy you loved the recipe 🙂

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