Full of tangy lemon and floral elderflower, these Lemon and Elderflower Cupcakes take Lemon Meringue to new heights and taste exactly how you imagine the sunshine should taste.
If you asked me what my weak spot is, the one bake I absolutely cannot resist is Lemon Meringue Pie! Truth is it’s all about the curd. That super fresh and zingy lemon filling paired with a soft and sweet toasted meringue is one of the most delicious combinations that my tastebuds just cannot resist. But when I thought it couldn’t get any better, in walks Elderflower. The fresh floral flavour takes these cupcakes to a whole new level and makes them one of my favourite cupcake flavours ever!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
Beautiful flavour combination | Lemon and Elderflower go hand in hand and make such a beautiful combination. The elderflower brings grassy notes that partner amazingly with the tang of fresh lemon and the soft meringue completes the trio to perfection.
Toasted meringue topping | Reminiscent of a summer evening toasting marshmallows there is nothing quite like a toasted meringue. We all know and love this classic on any meringue pie recipe so why not reimagine it onto a cupcake too. It’s 10 times better that any buttercream, and dare I say its also better than ganache.
Tastes like the sunshine | All these flavours combined just sing SUMMER to your tastebuds. The bake itself is super light and alongside those fresh flavours if I close my eyes whilst eating them I could be transported to any sunny destination.
WHAT IS ELDERFLOWER?
Made popular by Prince Harry and Meghan Markles wedding cake, Elderflower is the blossoming flower from the Elder Tree which grows in abundance across the UK. It has a unique, light and floral flavour and is commonly referred to as the scent of the summer.
The flowers and berries are the only edible part of the shrub and are mildly toxic and unpleasant tasting when eaten raw. The cooking process removes all toxic chemicals and brings the beautiful scent into that wonderful flavour we know and love.
TOP TIPS FOR MAKING A LEMON & ELDERFLOWER CURD
Use good quality eggs | It goes without saying that the better the eggs the the better the bake. If you want your curd to be rich and yellow then a good quality egg will provide you with a delicious bright yellow yolk.
Cook curd in a bain marie | This is a slower method compared to one that suggests cooking the curd directly in a pan, however I find this method avoids too many lumps as it cooks the curd a much lower and slower temperature.
Stir continuously | To prevent the eggs curdling too much it’s advised to stay with your lemon curd the entire time its cooking and stir slowly continuously.
Pass through a sieve | Once the curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon it can be removed from the heat and passed through a sieve to remove any lumps and excess lemon zest. You can leave the curd as it is with the zest if you wanted but the mixture through the sieve will be much smoother.
How long will lemon curd last?
Lemon curd will last up to 4 weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you want to make enough to gift it, put it into sterilised jars whilst still warm and close while still warm.
How to freeze lemon curd?
To freeze, fill airtight containers in useable portions, leaving a 1-2cm gap at the top for expansion. Cover the surface with cling wrap and secure with an airtight lid that has been labeled and dated. It will store frozen for up to one year.
To defrost the curd, place it in the fridge the day before you need to use it. Once thawed stir it together and use from cold.
HOW TO GET THE PERFECT TOASTED MERINGUE SWIRL
Use a Swiss Meringue | French meringue, which is made by whipping egg whites and sugar at room temperature is the least stable type of meringue to make. It’s perfectly suited for baking such as lovely meringue nests or kisses, but when you want to pipe it onto a cupcake Swiss meringue is much better.
Don’t over whip the egg whites | The best thing about this icing is that it’s delicious and marshmallowy. If you’ve ever tasted the infamous Fluff, you’ll know what I mean. If you over whip the egg white then you risk too much air getting into mixture so it’ll be more aerated and you’ll notice more air bubbles in it. The best way to distinct when its at the best consistency is as soon as you notice the mixture is holding stiff peaks. This equates to approx 3-5 minutes of whisking in a standing mixer at a medium/high speed.
Toast with a blow torch | As tempting as it is to toast marshmallow under a grill, DON’T as you risk the egg white overheating and melting. Plus you also risk burning your cupcake and toasting the cases. The best way to get that beautiful golden and even toasted effect is to use a blow torch. They are really simple to use and very easy to get hold of, however as this equipment requires gas and includes a burning flame please ensure you follow all safety requirements before using a seek help from an adult if you are under the age of 18.
TOOLS YOU WILL NEED
Egg yolk separator | One of my secret weapon tools is my Mason Cash egg separator jug. It seamlessly separates egg whites and yolks with ease and avoids me having to get my hands covered in egg white. Unfortunately the tool I have now is no longer sold but Mason Cash do have this egg separator spoon which appears to be equally as effective.
Sauce bottle | Sauce bottles are a fancy tool you don’t need but they’re nice to have. I like these as they don’t waste a piping bag and as the fluid is quite runny they create less mess and allow for more precision.
Open star piping nozzle | To get that perfect swirl shape I use an open star nozzle. It greats really lovely and defined lines which catch really well when its time to toast. The piping nozzle also comes in handy as a cupcake corer, if you don’t want to purchase one. Although I will confirm that a cupcake corer is easier and more fun to use.
Piping bag | Heavy duty piping bags are great for this recipe as the meringue icing is very voluminous and I find standard sizes bags can barely contain enough of the mixture. You can use a standard sized one and refill it several times but I don’t like having to do that as I find more air bubbles get trapped in the piping bag this way.
Blow Torch | The star of the show in this bake and of all these tools the only 100% necessary one you should buy. I bought mine with a butane gas refill and carefully read the instructions to fill the torch with gas. I love it so much I just want to keep making bakes that I can torch!!! Any suggestions on what I can try next? Tell me in the comments.
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OTHER LEMON BAKES YOU SHOULD TRY
- Lemon and Blueberry Cookies
- Blueberry, Lemon and Almond Muffins
- Lemon Drizzle Pop Tarts
- Lemon Cheesecake Cupcakes
I would love it if you tagged me @mykitchendrawer on Instagram if you make these Lemon and Elderflower Meringue Cupcakes It’s the biggest honour to see my recipes come to life in your kitchen and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to drop me a message. Happy baking!
Lemon and Elderflower Meringue Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
- 150 g unsalted butter softened
- 150 g golden caster sugar
- 3 eggs large
- 150 g self-raising flour
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- 5 tbsp elderflower cordial
- 1 tsp Lemon Extract Nielsen Massey, optional
For the Lemon and Elderflower Curd
- 2 unwaxed lemons juice and zest
- 100 g caster sugar
- 50 g unsalted butter cubed
- 1 egg whole
- 1 egg yolk
- 4 tbsp elderflower cordial
For the Swiss Meringue Icing
- 4 egg whites
- 200 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
For the cupcakes
- Preheat your oven to 160°C and line a 12 hole cupcake tin with cupcake cases
- Cream together butter and sugar for about 3 minutes until light and airy, scraping down the bowl when necessary
- Add the eggs, lemon zest and juice, elderflower cordial and self-raising flour and mix together until combined and smooth
- Scoop a tbsp (or use a icecream scoop) of batter into each cupcake case and bake for between 17-20 minutes depending on your oven, until golden and springy to touch.
- Once baked leave to cool on a wire rack in the tin for a few minutes then remove the cupcakes and let them cool completely whilst you get on with the lemon curd
For the lemon curd
- Put the sugar, lemon zest and juice, elderflower cordial and butter into a medium bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water. MY KITCHEN TIP: make sure the bowl is not touching the water
- Stir the mixture together until the butter and sugar have melted, then add the whole egg and egg yolk and whisk them into the mixture. You may notice a few lumps as some of the egg starts to curdle, but just continue whisking. You'll be passing the mixture through a sieve later on so any lumps will be removed
- Continue whisking the mixture over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until it has thickened and coats the back of a spoon
- Pass the mixture through a fine sieve to remove any lumps then leave to one side to thicken further as it cools.
For the swiss meringue icing
- Add the egg whites and sugar to a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water.
- Whisk the mixture continuously for about 4-5 minutes until the mixture begins to loosen and all the sugar has disolved. You can check this by dipping your finger carefully into the mixture and rubbing your fingers together to check for sugar crystals.
- Bring the bowl off the heat and whisk the mixture for 5 more minutes on a high heat until soft, glossy peaks that hold their shape begin to form. Be careful not to overmix to avoid losing the marshmallow texture.
- Cut a hole in the centre of each cupcake using a cupcake corer or the end of a piping nozzle. Keep the pieces of sponge to you remove to one side.
- Fill a sauce bottle or piping bag with the thickened curd and fill each cupcake with a generous amount, then top it back with the peice of sponge you removed.
- Fit a large piping bag with an open star nozzle and fill it with as much meringue as you can. You might need to refil a few times. Pipe generous swirls of swiss meringue onto each cupcake then very very carefully toast the meringue using a blow torch.