Candied Lemon Slices

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If there is one thing I’ve become over obsessed with lately it would be lemons. Their versatility in cooking, health and beauty means that they have fast become a staple in my kitchen. However recently I discovered I had taken the term “staple” to whole new heights when there were almost 10 lemons waiting patiently on my counter.

Ordinarily, I’d be panicked at the thought of having to find use for 10 lemons, but with the summer months upon us and my recent health and beauty regime revamped to include lemons almost daily I was delighted. Baking with them was my priority and with a cupcake stand for an event coming up I decided one of my many flavours would be Lemon Cheesecake.

Decoration of cupcakes is a bit of a big deal for me. I’m drawn to beautifully dressed bakes so it’s only natural that I bring this element into my own. I’ve made candied peel in the past but the beauty of a lemon, or any citrus fruit for that matter, are the juicy segments you unveil when they are sliced…enter candied lemon slices. When time is on my side I plan to spend the day baking and creating loads of different cupcake toppings that can be stored, like these candied lemons, but for now we’ll stick with these, because they are delicious.

What other fruit would you like to see candied?

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Makes|24 slices

Preparation time|1 hour


2 large lemons

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

Iced water


Prepare a bowl of iced water and set to one side.

Thinly (like paper thin) slice two lemons with a sharp knife.

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, then remove from the heat and add lemon slices, stirring until softened.

Drain and plunge into the iced water immediately.

Bring a cup of sugar and cup of water to a boil in a large saucepan (use two if necessary). Once all the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is bubbling reduce the heat and lay the lemon slices neatly in a layer.

Simmer for 1 hour until the rinds are clear and the liquid has become slightly thicker.

Carefully lift each lemon slice out with tongs and arrange on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment to cool and dry out.

In the pan, you will be left with the most glorious lemon syrup. Let it cool then decant into sterilised jar or bottle and keep in the fridge. You can use the syrup for lemon drizzle cake, over ice cream or as a sweet dipping sauce for donuts.

If these are being used as cake decorations they can be utilised after 3 hours. However if you wish to store for future use or as gifts they should be dried out for 12-24 hours.

Store in an airtight jar or container in a cool and dry environment for up to 2 months.

Lemon Cheesecake Cupcakes

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Credit: Raheel Mir & Chris Rudio

So the two day mega heatwave has been and gone here in the UK, and while many Negative Nellies are calling that the end of our summer, I’m just delighted that the sun has at least stuck around.

Being British this time of year is a tough job. In the winter we’re prepared for cold, we’re more than aware it’s coming and better still our wardrobes are equipped to deal with it. Summer however is a little less predictable. We dream of being able to plan the perfect outdoor weekend months in advance, but instead have to settle on sharpening up our spontaneity when we see the updated forecast.

So while the 27 degree heat that adorned us last Sunday may be a distant memory, I remain thankful that the sun hasn’t abandoned us just yet….and when he eventually does disappear I have these sunny Lemon Cheesecake Cupcakes to keep my spirits high.

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Makes|12 cupcakes

Preparation time|1.5 hours

Baking time| 25 minutes


Lemon sponge

175g unsalted butter

175g caster sugar

3 large free-range eggs

175g self-raising flour

Juice and zest of 1 whole lemon

 

Lemon Cheesecake Frosting

200g cream cheese

500g icing sugar

125g soft unsalted butter

Juice of ½ lemon and zest of 1 whole lemon

Candied lemons for decoration (recipe here)


Preheat the oven to 170C and line your cupcake tray with cupcake cases.

Cream the butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy then one by one crack in each egg, mixing well in-between. Add the lemon zest and juice then mix to combine.

Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and fold through the mixture until smooth.

Divide between all cupcake cases and bake for about 20 minutes until golden-brown and a cake tester comes out clean.

Leave to cool on a wire rack for an hour (or overnight in tupperware)

Once fully cooled pipe on the buttercream

 

For Lemon Cheesecake Frosting

Beat together the icing sugar and butter together until smooth.

Add the cream cheese and lemon juice and zest, then whip all together until you have a shiny, lump free, velvety consistency.

Scoop into your piping bag, tipped with your favourite choice of nozzle and pipe away.

Decorate with my candied lemons or scatter over some crushed digestive biscuits for added crunch.