Sunday, 22 June 2014

Lemon and Raspberry Cupcakes

Lemon and Raspberry Cupcakes

Ingredients (Makes 24 cupcakes) 

For the frosting
200g full-fat cream cheese
200g unsalted butter, softened
500g icing sugar, sifted
Finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons

For the sponge
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
4 medium eggs
200g self-raising flour
Punnet of raspberries, plus extra for decoration
For the sugar syrup
150ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
150g caster sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 175C / gas mark 4
To make the frosting
Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.  Place the butter, icing sugar and lemon zest in a separate bowl and cream together until very pale and fluffy.  Add the cream cheese, a little at a time, to the butter mixture and mix at medium-high speed until the frosting is combined.  Chill until set.  

To make the cupcakes
Place the butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a mixing bowl and cream together until pale and fluffy.  Beat the eggs lightly in another bowl and slowly pour into the butter mixture while whisking quickly.  If the mixture starts to separate or curdle, stop adding the egg and beat in 2 - 3 tablespoons of the flour.  This will rebind the batter.  Once all the egg has been incorporated into the butter mixture, sift the flour and stir until the batter is just combined.  This ensures the sponges stay light and fluffy.
Using a piping bag or tablespoon, place the batter into the cupcake cases until two-thirds full.  Drop 2 or 3 raspberries into each cupcake.
Bake for 12 - 15 minutes, depending on your oven.  The cupcakes are cooked when the tops are golden brown and spring back to the touch.  If in doubt, insert a clean knife or wooden skewer into the centre of each sponge, it should come out clean.    
To make the sugar syrup
While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the sugar syrup for soaking.  Place the lemon juice and caster sugar into a saucepan and bring to boil.  Simmer until all the sugar crystals have dissolved.  Set aside to cool down slightly.  

Once the cupcakes are baked, let them rest for about 10 minutes outside of the oven.  Using a pastry brush, soak the tops of the cupcakes with sugar syrup while they are still warm; this allows the syrup to be absorbed faster.  Remove the cupcakes from the trays and leave to cool on a wire cooling rack.
To decorate
Prepare a plastic piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle.  Fill with the chilled frosting.  Pipe a swirl of frosting on to each cupcake, and top with a raspberry.  

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