Martha Stewart's Mile-High Lemon Meringue Pie, Lemon Cupcakes and ME
The Lemon Cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes cookbook is absolutely amazing. On this page, you will find the lemon cupcake recipe and my story.
My story actually starts with Martha Stewart's Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie. I have made numerous unsuccessful attempts at creating it. However, the cupcakes are another story...a yummy story if not a pretty one.
The History Of My Mile-High Lemon Meringue Adventure
Well, I don't know if it is the most difficult recipe of my life or not but I am calling it that because it failed. Not once. Not twice. But thrice. Yes, I was 'dumb' enough to try it more than twice.
The problem? Not the pastry although, if you've read my page A Tasty & Traditional Easter Dinner Menu, you know that I'm pie challenged. Not the lemon curd, it seemed to work out fine. Not the meringue, it whipped up very nicely, thank you very much. However, when the three were combined and put into the oven to brown, the curd turned to soup. Now it is a family legend, one we laugh out loud at whenever the subject of lemon meringue pie comes up although around here it is affectionately known as lemon meringue soup.
Years passed. I did not try making Martha Stewart's lemon meringue pie again although my reputation lived on. The really sad thing was that the pie, despite being in soup form, had still managed to taste really, really good, which made me want to have a slice of Martha Stewart's Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie even more!
Then came Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book. I picked a few recipes to try and, as I perused the pages, I stumbled across the Lemon Meringue Cupcake recipe.
What Would You Have Done?
I decided to go for it and give the recipe a try. Without further ado or to do, here, in three parts, is the recipe for Martha Stewart's Lemon Cupcakes...
8 large egg yolks
2 lemons, zested
1/2 cup lemon juice and 2 tbsps lemon juice (approximately 3 lemons)
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tbsps) cold unsalted butter which has been cut into pieces
In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, combine the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar and whisk them together. Stir constantly until the mixture is thick, between 8 and 10 minutes and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove pot and add salt and butter, one piece at a time. (The butter, not the salt!) Stirring until melted, each time. Strain the curd. Cover with plastic making sure that the plastic is pressed onto the surface of the curd which will keep a skin from forming. Refrigerate at least one hour or up to one day. Making this the day before would certainly spread the work out a bit.
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes Recipe(Makes 24 cupcakes.)
3 cups flour (all-purpose)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c (2 sticks or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
Grated zest of 3 lemons (3 tbsps)
2 tbsps lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together. Mix butter and sugar together at medium speed. Add eggs one at a time and wait until the egg is all mixed in before adding the next one. Add zest and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches with two batches of buttermilk and lemon juice in between. Beat until just combined after each addition. Place batter in lined cups filling about three-quarters full. Bake until golden, cake tester comes out clean or about 25 minutes. Cool completely before removing from the muffin tins. These cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature or frozen for up to two months.
Seven Minute Frosting Masquerading as Lemon Meringue Recipe
(Makes a lot.)
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsps sugar
2/3 cup water
2 tbsps light corn syrup
6 large egg whites at room temperature
Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small pot. Attach a candy thermometer to your pot. Boil over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Continue boiling but do not stir anymore. When syrup is 230 degrees, remove from heat. Meanwhile Whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. (I used my stand mixer's regular beaters as it does not have a whisk.) With mixer running, gradually add 2 tbsps sugar. When syrup reaches the required temperature, gradually add it to the mixing bowl with the mixer on a medium-low speed. Raise speed to medium high and whisk until cool. (The bottom of the bowl wil be cool to touch.) Stiff peaks will form and it will take approximatey 7 minutes.
Final Cupcake Assembly Instructions
Add 1 tablespoon of the lemon curd to the middle (top) of the cupcakes. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star tip, pipe some frosting onto each cupcake. Using a small kitchen torch 3 to 4 inches away from the frosting, lightly brown the frosting.
Brown them with my kitchen blow torch? Uh oh, did someone say blow torch? This is where following the kitchen rule about reading the whole recipe before you start would have helped. I do not own a kitchen blow torch so here I was, at a difficult moment. What to do? It didn't seem like the cupcakes would be complete if I didn't brown them. Since I had two pans of cupcakes I thought I'll assemble one pan and put them under the broiler. If they're ruined, I will still have the second pan to work with.
It worked, sort of. Because of my expert decorating, the meringue on each cupcake was at a different height which meant that some were trying to burn while others were not brown yet so I had to monitor them closely. The result? Some brown spots, some white spots, as the pictures show.
There's no question that Martha's version of this cupcake is much prettier but mine still tasted fine.
Martha says, serve immediately but I'm sure there's no chance after all that work that you will wait before eating one!
Helpful Cupcake Baking Hints From Martha and Brenda
Brenda warns that lemons can be expensive so you might want to choose to make these cupcakes when lemons are on sale. The day I was shopping for lemons, they were two for $1.00 which was not too bad but I thought I needed 9 (you actually need 6). I was able to purchase bagged lemons with more than I needed at a lower cost.
Martha recommends cupcake liners; Brenda never bothers with them and did not have any difficulty removing the cupcakes from the pans. There are an endless choice of cupcake liners available from Amazon for any theme you might be working with.
Brenda says that it is critical that the butter be at room temperature, a little on the soft side. I have tried with cookies to use butter that isn't soft enough and it just does not work.
Martha says that one of the biggest problems with cupcakes is over mixing so be careful not to do that.
Brenda says that It is possible, albeit risky, to make these lemon cupcakes without a thermometer. I failed to follow the rule about reading the recipe through first and did not realize that I needed one. When the time came to make the lemon curd, I just cooked it for the longer time given and made sure that it fit the written description given in the recipe. When I was making the meringue, it was a bit more difficult. I used my meat thermometer which went to 212 degrees. However, the syrup needed to reach 230 degrees so I just cooked the syrup longer. Fortunately for me, both worked out fine. I'd recommend that you buy a thermometer to eliminate the guess work.
Brenda did not strain the curd and could see no issues with not having done so.
Brenda successfully used her stand mixer's regular beaters because she does not have a whisk attachment.
What Do You Think?
What do you think? Should I have chosen to make lemon cupcakes? Should I have tried the pie again? Should I have abandoned the whole idea? Fortunately, the cupcakes were delicious, if not beautiful. The lemon curd was amazing and the meringue frosting was delicious! Unfortunately, my now grown-up children do not remember them but they still remember the lemon meringue soup pie.
My aim on this page was to share a delicious recipe with you and to have you smiling at my story and not puckering at the end of the page. I hope I have managed to achieve my goal whether or not you decide to make these cupcakes.
in the kitchen!
More Interesting Lemon Cupcake Recipes
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes Recipe From Food & Wine
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes Gluten free
Paula Deen's Lemon Blossoms
Meyer Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes From Martha Stewart
Author's Note: This page was originally written in 2009 and published on another website.