Apologies to all (eleven) of you about the lack of blog posts recently - it's been a busy and rather stressful few weeks. Several recent developments have caused a my emotional state to feel as stable as a cheese soufflé; and I fear I may be personally responsible for the increase in shares value in the cocoa bean industry.
We've recently had builders in our house knocking through the bathroom and doing some skimming. I am definitely not cut out to live on a building site- everything is absolutely covered in dust and I feel filthy just looking at it. But we've agreed there's no reason in cleaning until we've finished the decorating, because that would mean cleaning TWICE. Eurgh.
Last weekend I did some baking to take to Fran's house for a post-Sunday Roast pudding; swiftly followed by more baking when Fran reminded me she was currently on a no-wheat diet as part of her battle with migraines. I'd baked a batch Lemon Meringue cupcakes- her favourite cakes in the whole world (and the real reason she is friends with me), but I'd made them with "normal" flour. I couldn't have Fran going without cake whilst the rest of us covered our chins in lemon curd, so a Fran-suitable batch was definitely required.
These cupcakes are super easy to make for such an impressive-looking result, and they can be made without wheat, gluten OR dairy if need be.
Wheat, Gluten and Dairy Free Lemon Meringue Cupcakes - Makes 12
For the cupcakes:
100g dairy-free "butter" or margerine of choice
100g caster sugar
115g wheat- and gluten-free self-raising flour (I used Doves Farm flour which you can buy in most supermarkets)
6tsp lemon curd
For the meringue
1 egg white
75g caster sugar
I use a food processor to mix my cake batter, because I think it gets more air into the mixture (and I'm damn lazy), but these cakes are easy enough to make the old fashioned elbow-grease way too.
1. Cream together the dairy-free butter and the caster sugar until pale and fluffy, like an Easter chick.
2. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after adding each one.
3. Sieve in (or shake from a height, if you can't be bothered to find a sieve *ahem*) the flour and mix until combined.
4. Grate in the zest from the lemon, and squeeze in the juice. Mix until combined.
5. Heat the oven to 180'C
6. Whilst the oven is heating, fill 12 cupcake cases with a tablespoon of the cake mixture (it's supposed to be quite runny- don't panic!)
7. Top each dollop of cake mixture with 1/2 tsp of lemon curd.
8. Cover the lemon curd with another tablespoonful of cake mixture
9. Bake for 17 minutes until the cakes are risen and a light golden brown. Some of them may have split open at the top- don't worry if there's some lemon curd bubbling out- the meringue will make them pretty again :) Leave the cakes to cool on a wire rack.
10. Whilst the cakes are baking, you can make the meringue topping. I use an electric whisk for this, not just because I'm lazy, but because experience has taught me that whisking egg whites by hand takes approximately 8 months.
11. Boil some water in a kettle, and pour a small amount of water into a saucepan, and put it on the heat at a gentle simmer.
12. Put the two egg whites and remaining caster sugar in a heatproof bowl and place this over the saucepan. Make sure the bowl isn't touching the water or you'll end up with scrambled eggs!
13. Whisk the egg whites and sugar together continuously for approximately 5 minutes until they form peaks. This means that when you pull the whisk out the mixture will stay standing up, like the hair of a scruffy cartoon child.
14. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and leave to cool.
15. Use the water from the saucepan to make yourself a well-deserved cup of tea, accompanied by any leftover cake mixture from the bowl. Nom nom.
16. When the cakes are completely cool, cover them in the meringue topping using either a spoon or a piping bag. If you don't have a piping bag, a sandwich bag with the corner snipped off works just as well.
17. Leave the cakes for as long as you can resist them, then stuff them in your face.
In other exciting (secret) news- I am very, very excited because today I finally came up with the idea to make my million (with the assistance of Fran) and she's just as psyched about it as I am. Watch this space...