Sunday, 24 April 2011

Recipe - Lemon Cupcakes With A Lemon Sugar Crust

So, I'm still basking in glorious sunshine here in the Berkshire countryside - blue skies and beautiful warmth have made this long Easter weekend really rather perfect.

Today, I celebrated with my son and my parents - a yummy lunch at a country pub (trifle dessert had the sponge soaked in local ale and oh wow, it was heaven!) and then, as is rather a family tradition, we headed back for a sunny afternoon in the garden at my parent's house. As is also tradition, I was asked to supply baked goodies for a little afternoon tea and although my Dad was initially upset I'd not made scones, I think these lemon cupcakes soon cheered him up because, they are just gorgeous.

I think these would be perfect for a spot of Bank Holiday baking, great for grown-up get togethers and ideal for Royal Wedding celebrations. They're zesty, they're simple and when the lemon sugar mix on the top hardens, it forms the most gorgeous crust. Perfect spring baking...

What you'll need...
250g butter, nice and soft, not straight from the fridge
400g caster sugar
3 eggs, just beat them lightly
250g self raising flour
3 lemons, you'll need the zest and the juice

What you need to do...
Heat your oven - 160 degrees Celsius or 140 if you've got a fan oven.
Line a muffin tin - this mix makes 12 cakes. I double up the cases as the cakes are a bit juicy!
Put the butter, 250g of the sugar, the eggs, the flour, the zest of 2 lemons and the juice of one lemon into a bowl and whisk (if you've got an electric whisk, you're going to save yourself some arm ache here!)
Only whisk until everything is just combined - avoid the temptation to mix into oblivion!
Divide the mix between the cases. This will make them quite full so go steady as you transfer for to the middle shelf in your nice hot oven.
Bake for 30 mins or until you poke in a skewer and it comes out clean.
Cool for 10 mins then transfer to a cooking rack and prod a few holes in the top with your skewer.
Mix together your remaining sugar (150g) with the remaining lemon juice & zest.
Spoon this sugary syrup over the cupcakes and watch happily as some sinks into the cakes and some stays on top to form the crust.
Leave to cool (if you can stand it!)


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