lemon cadbury cream egg cupcakes

cupcake & standI wish I could take credit for thinking up this combination.

But I can’t.

I don’t think I would ever think to stuff a cadbury cream egg into a cupcake. And then top the cupcake with frosting.

Nope. I’d never think that up myself.

Thank goodness for Pinterest and all the lovely things I find on there.

That’s where I found this.the inspiration

Are you as excited as I am????

I basically clicked my way to this blog and decided … yep. I’m gonna make these. Only I’m gonna change things up a little.

I don’t know about you … but although I do love me a cadbury cream egg … I do find them pretty rich and decadent … so maybe rather than stuff one into a chocolate cupcake … perhaps a lemon cupcake would be better?

The tartness of the lemon vs. the insane richness of the chocolate egg.

Winner.

Then top it all with cream cheese frosting?!

Absolute winner.

When testing this recipe out over the weekend, I opted to make both large and mini cupcakes. Let me just say … I’ve decided that I prefer the mini cupcakes.

Here’s why:

1. Adding a regular sized cadbury cream egg to a large cupcake results in a HEAVY cupcake. Like really heavy.

2. No questions asked – this is one rich dessert. You need to commit if you’re going to eat a large one.

3. It can get expensive to use the large eggs! Mini eggs come in a large bag. More value for your buck (trust me on this one).

4. Honestly … this cupcake is proof that two-bites are just enough. Actually not just enough … two-bites are utter perfection. A little lemon, a little chocolate, a touch of cream … it’s a bite of happiness.

This is the kind of thing you should TOTALLY make for your Easter festivities!mini lemon cadbury cream egg cupcakes frosted

Think of it … not only do they make a perfectly delightful addition to the end of your meal … BUT you could also be really sneaky and use them in an Easter-egg hunt! Can’t you picture a bunch of kids trying to find their chocolate eggs … and spotting little cupcakes instead????

Have I convinced you to give this a try?

If the lemon and chocolate cream egg combo haven’t already sold you on this recipe … I’ll give you another couple of good reasons to make these:

1. They will impress the heck out of everyone. Seriously … annoying relative? Impressed! Little kids? Impressed. They’ll take a bit, then look in the centre and just rave about how “awesome” and “cool” it is. (I tested these out at my book club … so I’m speaking from experience).

2. My lemon cupcake recipe can get you 2 dozen mini cupcakes (or 1 dozen large cupcakes + 6 mini cupcakes). A bag of mini cadbury cream eggs makes 3 1/2 dozen mini cupcakes. Bang for your buck AND time.

3. These are DEAD EASY to make. I swear! Super simple.

Whip up a batch of your favourite lemon cupcake batter, unwrap 2 dozen mini-cadbury eggs, top with more batter … then bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.

I told you. Dead. Easy.

This is my favourite lemon cupcake recipe – my basic “go-to” whenever I need to whip up a batch of lemon goodness.

lemon cupcakes

ingredients:

140 g (½ c. + 2 tbsp) sugar

40 g (2 ½ tbsp) butter, room temperature

120 g (¾ c. + 1 tbsp) flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 egg

zest of 1 lemon

juice of ½ lemon

120 ml buttermilk

24 x mini cadbury cream eggs

batch of cream cheese frosting

Heat your oven to 350 F. Line 2 trays of mini cupcakes with liners (for a total of 24). Set aside.

Combine the lemon juice, egg and buttermilk into a measuring cup. Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand-mixer, beat together the sugar, lemon zest, and butter. This batter is going to feel completely wrong. You’re going to feel like there isn’t enough butter to sugar ratio. Don’t worry. It’ll be fine.

Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the sugar/butter mixture. Again … this is going against almost all cake / cupcake recipes I tend to share with you … trust me. Continue to beat the mixture at low speed for a minute. You’ll notice that the batter looks a little like sand.

That’s when you want to add the buttermilk / egg / lemon juice mixture.

Beat on low speed, and then, increase the speed to medium. The batter will come together and get airy and creamy. It shouldn’t take you more than a minute or so.

Done.stuffing the cupcakes - pre baking

Now for the fun part!

Spoon 1 teaspoon worth of batter into each cupcake liner.

Top with mini cadbury cream eggs.

Spoon another teaspoon of batter on-top of each cream egg. You might have to smooth the batter a little to ensure that the egg is covered.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven; gently lift each baked cupcake out of the pan: the cream egg centre will feel really soft – so be careful. Cool on a wire rack.frosting the cupcakes

While the cupcakes cool, make a batch of your favourite cream cheese frosting. Frosting is something I have a hard time giving an exact recipe for … my goal is always to make it smooth and creamy; not too buttery, not tasting too much of powdered sugar … with just the perfect hint of vanilla. I really play the chemist when making my frosting; trial and error. If I want it thinner, I’ll add a tablespoon or two of heavy cream. The advice I will give when making cream cheese frosting is always to start with creaming the butter and powdered sugar together. Once combined, add your cold cream cheese to the mix. Increase the speed to break the cream cheese up and incorporate into the frosting. Salt and vanilla is always a good thing … taste test while you work and you’ll totally end up with some great frosting. Or be wild … swap in lemon juice instead of the vanilla. Double wham of lemon for your mouth!

Top each cupcake with the cream cheese frosting … et voilà! Done.

Oh! And another bonus to these cupcakes: it’s actually better to make them in advance so that they can cool completely. The cream egg melts and then reshapes; hence why my picture doesn’t look quite as cool as the pinterest inspiration … I just couldn’t wait to cut in and see the finished product!

lemon blueberry coconut bars

I have a friend who makes the BEST (absolute BEST) lemon squares.  EVER.

Micheline … I’m talking about you.

Her lemon squares are tart and fresh and light.  The side pieces are spectacular … the graham crust base adds a little sweetness.  Perfectly balanced.  Perfectly baked.  A complete delight.

I loves.

And so … although I heart all things lemon, I haven’t baked lemon squares in ages because I can’t imagine making a batch as wonderful as Micheline’s.

Until now.

These aren’t the same.  But they sure are good.  DARN GOOD.

I was co-hosting a female cocktails and bling thingy (you know … ladies gather to drink and try on jewelry) … and wanted to bring along some baked treats.

I decided that it was time to try a new recipe (friends and family are always the best people to taste-test new recipes on) … and upon mentioning a blueberry – coconut – lemon combo to another friend (Rose … I’m talking about you now) … she pretty much convinced me I absolutely had to make these.

I’m glad that I did.

The original recipe is from bon appétit’s desserts  recipe book (double-lemon bars).  It caught my eye because it promised big lemon flavour (a must) … and looked like it would have a firm enough base to hold the addition of toasted coconut and blueberries.

It lived up to my demands.

The one thing … and perhaps I’m noticing it because I haven’t made lemon squares recently … but these were really (and I mean REALLY) sticky and gooey: both good things … just have a napkin on hand … or don’t be afraid of licking your fingers.

I pretty much always opt for licking my fingers ;0)

crust:
ingredients:
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 c. butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tsp vanilla

lemon – blueberry filling:
ingredients:
1/2 c. coconut, toasted
1 1/2 c. frozen blueberries
1 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons
6 eggs, room temperature

3 tbsp flour

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a rectangular pan (9×11) with foil or parchment paper and generously spray with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Using your food processor, blend together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter, and cut it in, using the pulse “on/off” method, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add vanilla and process until the dough comes together. You’ll know it’s ready when you take a bit and pinch it together and it holds.

Press the dough evenly into the pan – using a flat bottom measuring cup, evenly flatten the base. Bake until the crust is golden – about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling.
Toast the coconut for about 8 minutes on a cookie sheet in the oven. Set aside.

No need for fancy equipment – whisk together the sugar and eggs until well blended. Add the lemon juice and flour. Whisk to incorporate. Strain into another bowl (you’ll see that not all the flour dissolved, the whisk will catch that and any lemon pits you might have missed).

Mix in the lemon zest.

Reduce your oven to 325 F.

Spread the blueberries evenly over the base. Top with the toasted coconut. Pour the lemon mixture over-top; ensuring that the entire pan is evenly covered.

Bake until the sides are set and the filling no longer moves when the pan is shaken. About 35 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Cover and chill at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Using the foil or parchment as an aid, lift the dessert from the pan. Fold down the sides, cut away the edges, creating a clean side … and a little snack for the baker :0)

Cut into rectangular bars … or do like me, and cut the rectangular bars into 3 smaller cubes. I was able to get over 2 dozen pieces.

Remember this recipe creates a very gooey bar… a very delightful twist on a the traditional lemon square.

You should try it.

happy birthday big brother

(according to my big brother Louis, Paul used to run around and chase me… just to kiss me… this picture makes me smile no matter how sad I am)

Today would have been my brother Paul’s 34th birthday.  It’s the first time my family and I will celebrate his birthday without him being present… devastated doesn’t begin to express how I feel.

I’ve spent the last three months (I can’t believe it’s only been three months, while also being shocked that it’s already been three months) trying to learn to live with what has happened.  And I’ve spent a lot of that time baking: cakes, cookies, scones, cheesecakes, brownies, mini tarts … if it involves flour, sugar, butter and chocolate or lemons… I make it.

Everyone knows that I heart lemons: their tart, bright, happy, flavour… they brighten up just about anything and put a smile on my face.  That’s something Paul and I shared.  We both absolutely adore all things lemon.  My grandmother indulged Paul’s lemon love by baking him a lemon meringue pie every year for his birthday.  It’s a memory that brings me a lot of comfort… remembering how happy Paul was when that pie was placed in front of him… huge grin on his face.  Paul had the best smile.

And so in honour of my big brother I have been baking lemon

lemon twisted queen elizabeth cake, lemon meringue mini tarts, lemon white chocolate marble loaves, pound cake filled with lemon curd, frozen lemon meringue pie, and finally these beauties… lemon meringue cupcakes.

Personally… I think all of it has been amazing.

And I am planning on sharing those recipes with you … in time… I promise!

But for today I decided to share a light and fluffy little sponge cupcake, filled with my fresh tart lemon curd and then topped with a beautiful meringue that I got to torch.

Fun to make and delicious to eat.

I know that my brother would have approved… and that he would have eaten one, looked up at me, burst out laughing, and said “Lynnie Penny… you made this?  Damn you’re getting good!”  And then he would have tried to talk everyone else out of eating one… so that he could have the bunch for himself :0)

I have learned the following thing about myself in the last few months.  My sentiment has turned after-life into a fairy tale for children.  And so, on this occasion, I will get through today by imagining Paul up in heaven indulging in my grandmother’s lemon meringue pie.  And then he will serenade her and all our other loved ones, with his harmonica.  It’s a beautiful image… filled with laughter, love, lemon meringue, and music – all things my brother would want on his birthday.

*baker’s note… I got this recipe from the hummingbird bakery’s new cookbook “cake days” – so everything is metric… truly worth investing in a scale :0)

lemon meringue cupcakes

ingredients:

80 g butter, room temperature

280 g sugar

240 g flour, sifted

1 tbsp powdered sugar

1/4 tsp salt

grated zest of a lemon

2 eggs

240 ml milk

lemon curd

4 egg whites

200 g sugar

150 mL water

Preheat your oven to 375 F.  Line your muffin tins with paper liners – the original recipe says that it will make 12-16 cupcakes – I actually was able to make 18 … and think I could get 20 out of the batter.  Set aside.

You might read the following and do a double take.  Since in this instance there is no creaming of the butter and sugar.  I know it seems so wrong.  You might actually think that you know better than I do and that you’re actually going to cream the butter and sugar before adding any other ingredients.  Please don’t.  Please do exactly what I’m telling you to do… even if every single one of your baking instincts is telling you NO.  I resisted that urge and everything was a-ok.  Actually… everything was better than ok.  I promise.

Grab your stand-mixer and the paddle attachment.  Beat together (low speed) the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest… you want the ingredients to resemble fine breadcrumbs.

Now in your measuring cup, add the eggs and whisk everything together.

Pour 3/4 of the milk-egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on low speed to combine.  Increase the speed to medium and keep beating until the batter becomes smooth and fluffy.  Pour in the remaining milk-egg mixture.  You’ll end up with a lovely yellow creamy batter.  It’s smells pretty darn good too… take a whiff… you’ll feel a little happier for it.  For realz.

Since it’s a pretty liquidy batter, I found it was easiest to put it into a measuring cup with a lip… pour the batter into the paper liners.

These cupcakes will rise quite a bit… so don’t fill the cases too much :0) (that’s also how you can end up with 20 cupcakes rather than 12).

Bake for 15 – 18 minutes – they will have risen and be springy to your touch.  Leave them in the muffin tins for a few minutes, remove and then allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  You need to allow them to cool completely before continuing.

If you don’t already have some fresh and delicious lemon curd on hand… take the time to make it.  Fresh really is best.  And pretty darn simple to make too.

Once your cupcakes are cool, fill a piping bag with some lemon curd (use any tip) and pipe some curd into each cupcake (stick the tip into the top of the cupcakes): you’ll see the cupcake start to expand, that’s when you’ll know it’s enough.  Don’t worry if some of the curd overflows… it’s all good ;0)

Time to make the meringue.  Since you aren’t going to stick the meringue back in the oven, you’ll need to make a simply syrup for an italian meringue.  Place the sugar in a small saucepan and cover with the water (use as much of the water as needed to cover the sugar), bring to a boil. Allow the sugar to boil for 5 – 10 minutes or until it has reached the softball stage (240 degrees).

Meanwhile, use your stand-mixer with the whisk attachment and whisk the egg-whites until just foamy.

Once you have reached the softball stage, remove the syrup from the heat and increase the mixer speed to medium.  Slowly pour the syrup into the egg whites.  Once all the syrup has been added, increase the speed to high – whisking until the underside of the bowl feels lukewarm.  The meringue will quadruple in size and be very white and smooth.

I found it was easiest to fill another piping bag with the meringue and then piped the meringue on top of each cupcake.

Once all the cupcakes have been topped, grab your blowtorch and quickly brown the tops of each cupcake.  Watch out!  You don’t want to burn the paper liners :0)

That’s it … a birthday tribute to my big brother.