Lemon Crunch Cupcakes

Originally posted 10/05/2015

Isn’t it funny how sometimes the most hurried and improvised of culinary creations turn out the most delicious? These yummy little cakes are the definition of ‘winging it’ – they came about almost by accident but I’m glad they did as I’ll definitely be making them again, especially now spring is here!

I fancied making some cupcakes that were quick and straightforward but a bit different from ones I’d made recently, and I remembered I had a couple of lemons in the freezer (yes, you can freeze lemons! The insides go quite mushy but they still keep their flavour and juicyness), so I thought I’d have a go at lemon drizzle cakes. I then found that a) my grater was too blunt to grate the lemon zest for the sponge and b) I didn’t have any icing sugar. I improvised by adding the juice to the batter instead, convinced that its acidity would stop the cakes from rising or just generally make them taste funny, but they came out beautifully with a subtle zing 🙂 Unable to make icing, I simply created a slapdash mixture of granulated sugar and the rest of the lemon juice and plonked it on the tops of the cupcakes around 5 minutes before they were due to come out of the oven. The result was a lovely sweet but citrussy crunchy topping which is very reminiscent of the traditional pancake topping! You can use as much or as little topping as you like depending on how sweet you want the cakes but you don’t need a great deal to get the texture and flavour.

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 10-12

For the cakes:

  • 125g/4.5 oz self-raising flour
  • 115g/4 oz caster/granulated sugar
  • 115g/4 oz butter/margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Pinch of baking powder

For the topping:

  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a baking tray with 12 paper cases.
  2. Whisk the butter/margarine together in a large mixing bowl until pale then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, lemon juice and baking powder until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  4. Drop the mixture into the cake cases using a teaspoon until they’re each about three quarters full.
  5. Pop in the oven and then prepare the topping by mixing the sugar and remaining lemon juice together roughly in a bowl.
  6. After around 8-10 minutes, remove the cakes from the oven and spread the sugar and lemon juice mixture over the tops – this is quite fiddly as it’s so sticky but I found the easiest way to do it was using my fingers.
  7. Place the cakes back in the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
  8. When baked, place on a wire rack and leave to cool before enjoying.

20150509_183024-1-1I love how the topping looks like a crisp winter frost!

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