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Saturday, September 24, 2011

I want Lemon Cake!

Daughter with her birthday cuppycake
Daughter"s birthday was September 20 and that's what she wanted - Lemon Cake.  The grandsons insisted on "cuppycakes". I searched the books and came up with a few variations on some old favorites.

For the cake base I started with Betty Crocker's Dinette Cake recipe and changed it up a bit.  I used my ancient Encyclopedia of Cooking's Lemon Meringue Pie recipe for the filling and topping.  It's been a lot of work but there are 11 almost perfect cupcakes waiting to be eaten.  (Daughter grabbed one as soon as they hit the counter.)

We used 4 lemons for zest and 3 for juice.

Filling:
1/4 c. corn starch
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. boiling water
2 egg yolks
1/3 c. lemon juice, fresh
1 T. lemon zest
1 T. margarine
[use double boiler method.  a steel bowl with something that will serve as a lid will work for the top]
Combine the cornstarch, salt and sugar.  Whisk in the boiling water slowly until it is smooth and lump free.  Cook over boiling water [double boiler] until smooth and thickened, stirring constantly.  Cover and cook 15 minutes.  Beat egg yolks and gradually add about 1/3 of hot mixture to eggs while stirring constantly. [temper eggs] Combine mixtures and cook 5 more minutes.  Just before removing from heat add lemon juice, zest, and margarine.  Mix well.  Scrape down sides of bowl and cover with wax paper that touches the surface of the pudding.  (if using plastic wrap let pudding cool 10 minutes then cover)  Chill pudding while cake bakes.

Cake:
1 1/2 c. cake flour
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. liquid (leftover juice from lemons plus water)
1 T. lemon zest
3 T. shortening
2 T. margarine
1 egg

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place cup cake papers in 12 cups.  Measure all ingredients into large mixer bowl. Blend 1/2 minute on low speed, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes high speed scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan.  Bake 15 - 20 minutes.   Do NOT over bake.  Cool while making meringue.

Meringue:
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla

In large mixing bowl with whip beater on high speed beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.  [stand mixers work best for this or get an assistant] Add sugar a bit at a time.  [watch for "snowstorms"  mixer is on  high!]  Beat until peaks form.  Beat in vanilla.  Done.

Assembly:
Raise oven temperature to 400F.

Fill with lemon pudding using pastry bag.
I used a pastry bag with Wilton's #10 round tip, but there are cheap plastic tips available in most grocers.  Fill the bag with about 1/2 cup lemon pudding.  Stick the tip into the middle of each cupcake as far as it will go without squashing the cake and squeeze until the tip is forced out.  Each cupcake will only take about 2 teaspoons of filling. (Edit:  Now I know that the pros remove some of the cake so that they can put more filling in their cupcakes.  So if you want to take a spoon and dig the center out of the cupcake-go for it.)

Carefully so you don't deflate it spread a dollop of meringue on each cupcake.  [Air is the secret ingredient in meringue.]

Put the cupcakes in a 400F oven for 5 - 10 minutes.  Watch them! Until the meringue is toasted.

Eat.



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