Lemon & Raspberry Cupcakes
Lemon cupcakes, rippled with raspberry jam, filled with lemon curd, topped with a raspberry swiss meringue buttercream and white chocolate discs.
This is one of those more involved recipes for when you really fancy a day of baking in the kitchen. However, none of this is complex, just a few steps to get to the end product, and in a pinch there is absolutely no harm in buying lemon curd or raspberry jam from the supermarket to save you some time!
These cupcakes are such a gorgeous flavour combo. I choose to use a Swiss meringue buttercream as it takes on flavour so much better than your standard American buttercream, and it isn't as sweet, so I insist you try it!
FOR THE RASPBERRY JAM (feel free to use shopbought)
500g fresh or frozen raspberries
160g caster or granulated sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
FOR THE LEMON CURD (feel free to use shopbought)
3 egg yolks (save the whites for the buttercream!)
1 whole egg
55g caster or granulated sugar
55g fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1/2 lemon
30g cold butter, cut into cubes
FOR THE CUPCAKES
125g butter, softened at room temperature
125g caster or granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
125g plain flour
1 rounded tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 2 lemons
2tbsp lemon juice
FOR THE RASPBERRY SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
2 egg whites
150g caster or granulated sugar
200g butter, cut into cubes and softened at room temperature
1tsp vanilla extract
150g raspberry jam
FOR THE WHITE CHOCOLATE DISCS
50g white chocolate
Red or pink food colouring (I would only use a gel food colouring, such as Pro-Gel)
First, make the jam. This can be done up to a week in advance - simply store in the fridge in an airtight jar until ready to use.
Place the raspberries and sugar in a large saucepan set over a medium heat.
Stirring frequently to prevent burning, bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes (be warned this spits a bit - if it does just lower the heat).
Strain the mixture through a sieve, pressing it through to get as much out as possible (only the seeds and a small amount of pulp should remain! - this may take several minutes).
Set aside to cool before storing in the fridge in an airtight jar.
Set aside 150g of the jam for the icing.
Next, make the lemon curd.
Fill a pan a couple of inches deep with simmering water, and place a heatproof bowl on top of it (the bowl should be big enough to sit comfortably on top of the pan without directly touching the water).
Add in the egg yolks, egg, sugar, lemon juice and zest, and constantly stir over a low heat, until the mixture is no longer runny and thickens to the consistency of custard (this will take around 15 minutes).
Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until combined. As with the jam, strain through a sieve before leaving to cool and storing in a jar. This too can be done up to a week in advance, and be kept in the fridge until ready to use.
Next, make the cupcakes. Preheat your oven to 170°C, and line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.
Place all of the cupcake ingredients in a large bowl, and beat together using an electric whisk for a good couple of minutes until smooth. Once you're at dropping consistency (i.e. the mixture drops off a spoon after tapping it lightly on the side of your bowl) you're good to go.
Divide evenly between the cupcake cases using two spoons. Then, using some of your leftover jam, take a teaspoon and place a small amount in the centre of each cupcake. Using a toothpick or skewer, ripple this through the batter slightly. You will get a beautiful ripple effect in your cupcake this way.
Bake for 20 minutes (check with a toothpick or skewer to see if they are done, if it does not come out clean, give them another 2 minutes in the oven).
Next, make the buttercream.
Place the egg whites and sugar in a large, heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (a couple of inches deep), making sure the bottom of the bowl cannot touch the water.
Keep over a low heat, and gently whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove from the heat and mix on high for 10 minutes with an electric whisk or mixer. The mixture will become very stiff and meringue-like as you mix.
After 10 minutes, add the soft butter, cube by cube. As one cube of butter dissolves into the icing, add the next. Keep going until all of the butter is incorporated.
Mixing on low now, add in 150g of your raspberry jam and the vanilla extract. If at this stage the icing is too runny, place it in the fridge for half an hour. Whip it up again, and it should have thickened.
For the white chocolate discs, place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and microwave for 20 seconds at a time on high, stirring well between each blast.
Once completely melted, take a spoonful out into a smaller bowl and add a small amount of red or pink food colouring.
Pour the white chocolate out onto a small baking tray lined with baking parchment. Spread out into a thin layer with a cranked palette knife or spoon.
Using a small teaspoon, dot small amounts of the pink chocolate on top of the white chocolate. Then using a toothpick or skewer, swirl the chocolate around to create a pretty marble effect.
Freeze for 5 minutes. I then like to use the large end of a piping nozzle dipped in hot water (then dried on paper towel) to cut out circles of chocolate (you could also use a small cookie cutter). Return to the fridge or freezer until ready to use.
To assemble, carve out the centre of each cupcake (chef's treat!) using an apple corer, or a butter knife.
Place the lemon curd and any leftover raspberry jam into piping bags (no nozzle required).
Fill each cupcake hole with lemon curd.
As for the buttercream, fit a piping bag with a nozzle of your choice (I always use a Wilton 2D nozzle) and fill with your buttercream. I like to fit the bag over a tall glass to hold it in place whilst I fill the bag with buttercream. Push the buttercream to the bottom of the bag, and bring the sides of the bag up and twist the top well so none can escape from the top.
Pipe from the centre, and move outwards, until the cake has a pretty swirl of buttercream (one advantage of swiss meringue is that it is not overly sweet, so a large amount isn't too sickly).
Drizzle with leftover strawberry jam and top with white chocolate discs. Your hard work is now over!
Keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
The frosting can be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to use.
Lemon curd and raspberry jam will both last a week in the fridge in an airtight container, as will the white chocolate discs.