Even though I don’t like to feel ruled by what is “in season,” sometimes I can’t help but embrace it. Winter citrus feels like a gift from Mother Nature to bring some sunshine to the dreary cold months. When it never really gets bright out, and I’m in the wintery doldrums, something bright, sunny and tangy seems like the perfect thing.
I’ve been dying to make these cupcakes for ages. Given that I just adore lemon meringue pie, these seemed right up my alley. It always appeared that I was one or two kitchen tools short to sucessfully attempt these. Even when I got a kitchen torch for toasting the meringue, I didn’t think I’d have much luck with 7-minute frosting without a stand mixer. So- now that the citrus is plentiful, and my kitchen tools are fully stocked, it seemed like just the time to try them!
I’ve made versions of this buttermilk-lemon cake before, and its wonderful. After that, a tart lemon curd is slathered on top and they are frosted with a fluffy, cloud-like 7 minute frosting. A little toasting from a kitchen torch adds that perfect touch reminiscient of the classic pie. If you want an over-the-top lemon flavor, core a little bit of the cake out and fill the cakes with lemon curd as well. I liked both variations, depending on how much lip-puckering tartness I feel like.
While the cupcakes and curd can be made days in advance, the frosting needs to be used right away or it gets hard. I suggest doing everything else ahead of time, but not making the frosting and assembling the cupcakes until when you're ready to serve!
recipe adapted slightly from: martha stewart cupcakes