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Jan 15, 2013

Lime 'n' Lemony - Cupcakes!

For those of you in the 'know', you sang that header like the Limca ad, right?! I wrote it like that :) ... citrus is such a weird flavour for nature to introduce in winters. Its light and airy, fresh and beach-y, yet its so perfect for the weather. It's nature's way of making us appreciate the sunshine just a little bit more, enjoy sunny winter afternoons, fresh orange juice, tangerines in a salad, orange reduction salad dressing ... I don't care what they say about winters-sour foods-bad throats, we love oranges, limes and lemons during these months and keep trying to find new ways to enjoy them.

It's back to school time in our home and I am back to baking 'tiffin' stuff, so no fudgy indulgences, we need practical snacks that aren't out of a box or bag! Since lemon curd is something Ally's palate has taken to only now, I decided to make lemon curd filled cupcakes. I usually put a roasted almond, piece of milk chocolate, peanut butter, apple preserve, why not lemon curd?! The result is surprisingly pleasant because the sugar and citrus seep through the cupcake and make it lemony all over with a sticky yumminess!

Batter:

200 gms flour
1 tsp baking powder
200 gms sugar
120 gms butter
2 eggs
150 ml yoghurt, make it the consistency of thick cream, use milk.
1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Sift the flour and baking powder, add the sugar and mix with a spatula, add in the room temperature butter, eggs, vanilla essence and yoghurt. Use a hand mixer to whisk this all together into a nice thick batter.

Lemon Curd: 

2 Eggs, 2 yolks and 1 white
50 gms butter
75 ml lemon juice, I actually use 150 ml and reduce it down to half, then use it, this thicker concentrate adds a lot of colour and a gooey thickness to the lemon curd
125 gms sugar
1 tbsp lemon rind, the yellowist part.
A few drops of lemon essence help to take the edge of the eggy-ness, but if you can't find any, you can do without it.

Use a glass bowl to mix together the eggs and sugar over a double boiler, make sure its not touching the water vessel, eggs can cook pretty fast and you don't want that to happen. Add the lemon juice and continue to mix till it thickens, use a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, cool slightly and strain, add cubes of butter while the sauce is still warm, fold it in, add the lemon zest and/or lemon essence, whisk well. If its not thick enough, you can return to the double boiler and let it thicken, make sure you keep whisking so that it doesn't get lumpy. Refrigerate when cooled, this will thicken and congeal it further, which is how you need it for the cupcakes.

Pre heat the oven on 220 C. Line a cupcake tray with cupcake liners, add half an ice cream scoop of batter, put a teaspoon of the lemon curd in the centre and cover with another half scoop of batter. Make sure the lemon curd is thick set and cold. Bake on 220 C for 8-10 minutes or till the top is cracked and light brown. Sprinkle with icing or vanilla sugar while warm. These are sticky cupcakes, so the liner can be removed while it's still a bit warm, serve the warm out of the oven with hot chocolate and ... you'll love it especially if you love orange and dark chocolate as a combo. Enjoy!
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