Mini Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

I think I’m in love with the taste of lemon.  I love lamb chops with LOTS of lemon juice and I love lemon juice in my tea.  I LOVE lemonade and great lemon curd.  YUMMY!

Lately I’ve been fascinated with everything bite size.  Bite size snacks, bite size cupcakes, bite size food.  Isn’t it great when you can eat something sweet and it was just the right amount that you could get seconds without feeling sick.  Yes, please!

I decided to make Mini Lemon Meringue Cupcakes.  I’ve got the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe for it and bought great lemon curd.  (I’m definitely making my own Lemon Curd next time and sharing the recipe.)  And a light Italian Meringue Frosting will do this yummy treat justice. 

I’ve always wanted to try an Italian Meringue Frosting.  I have to admit that making this frosting was not that easy at first.  It was kind of a case of ‘third time lucky’ for me.  But it is certainly worth the effort.  This Italian Meringue Frosting is delish!  Keep reading for the recipe.

You will need a candy thermometer to do this or know what the soft ball stage is.  If you don’t have a candy thermometer and you also don’t know what the ‘soft ball stage’ is, don’t panic I’m going to talk you through it. 

The soft ball stage is when you can take a drop of your sugar syrup and place it into a bowl of cold water, it should form a malleable ball when gathered with your fingers to take out of the water.  source

Italian Meringue Frosting

Yield: 2-3 cups

3 large egg whites, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
pinch of cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

 Instructions:

Add your sugar, water, cream of tartar and salt to a pot on the stove on medium heat.  
Stir until sugar has dissolved and then bring to a boil.  

Italian Meringue

The soft ball stage is when the syrup reaches a temperature of  113-118 °C (235-245 °F).  I got up to 110 °C when I decided to take my syrup off the heat.  You don’t want your syrup to change colour or you’ll sit with caramel instead.  

While you wait for the soft ball stage.  Whisk your egg whites with an electric mixer.  Use the whisk attachment if you are using a stand alone mixer.  Whisk until soft peaks form.

When your sugar syrup is ready you are going to temper the egg whites.  This means to slowly bring the egg whites to the right temperature without causing it to scramble.  Be patient with this step.  Drizzle the hot syrup down the side of the bowl while mixing the whole time. 

Italian Meringue

When all the syrup is incorporated and the mixture looks thick and creamy with soft peaks – you have done it.  Congratulations!!  Have a taste now and see why you where so patient and careful all this time.  It should taste similar to the center filling of a ‘sweetie pie’ but with a lighter, glossier texture!  Mmmm…YUM!  

Here’s how I put my mini cupcakes together followed by the Vanilla Cupcake Recipe.

Just a tip to get your mini cupcakes looking amazing when they come out of the oven. 

Don’t take your cupcakes out of the oven too soon or they will sink in the middle.  Rather bake them a little longer on lower heat to get them to rise evenly.

See  the example below: 

cup cakes tip

 After you’ve baked your perfectly moist mini cupcakes, leave them to cool.  Once they are cool you can hollow them out a little bit.  Not too much as you still want something left of your yummy cupcake.  Just make a little nest for your lemon curd.  

cup cakes

 Then fill with lemon curd and pipe on your Italian Meringue Frosting. 

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Now to finish off your perfect Mini Lemon Meringue cupcakes you can toast it just a little with your kitchen torch.  It really makes them look great.  

Enjoy your mini mouthful of happiness.

Mini Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
Yields 36
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup (250 ml) granulated sugar
  2. 2 cups (500 ml) cake flour
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  7. 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
  8. 2 large eggs, room temperature
  9. 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream (Creme Fraiche)
  10. 2/3 cup full cream milk
  11. 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 °C (338 °F)
  2. In a bowl or a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.
  3. Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. You'll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  5. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
  6. Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined. The batter will be liquid and appears lumpy. (Don't worry, you didn't do anything wrong.)
  7. Fill your mini cupcake liners with a teaspoon of batter each.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes. Because ovens very you can test your cupcake after 8 minutes. They are ready when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it.
  9. When the cupcakes are done, remove them from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack to cool.
Notes
  1. If you have time. Bake a test cupcake before baking your whole batch. Because our ovens are all so different it will be worth your while testing the time you need to get your cupcake just right.
Sweet Monty http://sweetmonty.co.za/

Great Gran’s Spice Cake

Spice Cake

spice cake ingredients

I’m a big fan of flavourful cakes and recently I was given a handwritten Spice Cake recipe that has been handed down through four generations. Our Great Grandmother wrote this recipe about 70 years ago.

spicecake

Did you know Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices.  In Egypt it was so highly treasured that it was considered more precious than gold. source

After following this recipe as it is.  Without changing anything.  (I have been known to change recipes from time to time.  I play around with recipes that’s what I do ;)).  I decided that this is a nice recipe but it can be a bit dry for me.  For some, this texture is what they prefer in a Spice Cake.  But a Cinnamon Buttercream Icing will go well with this Spice Cake if you just need that something extra.   Personally I think this cake has a beautiful flavour and I enjoyed it as it is with a red cinnamon latte.  It was GREAT!

Keep reading for this recipe and then read some more for my take on this recipe. 

Spice Cake

 

Great Gran’s Spice Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup fruit mixture
  • 1/2 cup sultanas or currents

Instructions

  1. Sift together the flour, salt, spices and baking powder.
  2. Work in the butter and add the sugar and fruit.
  3. Mix to a soft dough with the egg and milk.
  4. Bake in a loaf cake pan in a moderate oven about 3/4 of an hour (350°F)
http://sweetmonty.co.za/great-grans-spice-cake/

This recipe didn’t need much “Spicing Up” but I did add a few things here and there.  I also got myself an awesome new Birkmann Cake Mould from Kitchenique and have been waiting for an opportunity to use it.  This was the perfect cake for this beautiful Birkmann’s Cake Mould.

spice cake

 This cake is deliciously moist.  The pecan nuts complement this Spice Cake beautifully.   This “Winter Wonder” is GREAT as it is and can be enjoyed with a warm Red Cinnamon Latte.   

Spice Cake

Enjoy making your own Spice Cake and impress your friends over a warm cup of tea. 

If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Spice Cake
Serves 12
A beautifully moist and flavourful Spice Cake
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  4. 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  7. 1 cup buttermilk
  8. 1/4 cup olive oil
  9. 2 eggs
  10. 1 cup dark (caramel) brown sugar
Extras
  1. 1/2 cup pecan nuts
  2. 1/2 cup dried cranberries, sultanas/currants
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F)
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and spices together. Put aside.
  3. In a electric mixer with a paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and oil until well combined.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time until well combined.
  5. Alternatively stir the flour mixture and buttermilk, in thirds, into the egg mixture.
  6. Mix until just combined.
  7. Fold in the chopped nuts and dried cranberries.
  8. Pour into your silicone mould or into a lined loaf pan.
  9. Bake for 25-30 min in a preheated oven 180 °C (350 °F)
  10. Check your Spice Cake 5 min before it's done.
  11. Take out baked Spice Cake and leave to cool in silicone mould.
  12. Enjoy your Spicy Creation!
Adapted from Great Gran
Adapted from Great Gran
Sweet Monty http://sweetmonty.co.za/

Boozy Chocolate Mousse Tart

Chocolate Tart

This blog is starting to come together now but there is still so much to learn.  If you are starting a new blog or thinking about doing so, my advice would be not to stress the little things and just do it.  It’s amazing to see things just happening and falling into place.  It’s also a great feeling when you figure something out all by yourself even if it’s as small as just changing your avatar.  But the internet is a great resource, when using it right of course.  I saw a funny dialog box the other day trying to log into a new account and it made me laugh so much I stopped breathing for a few seconds.  I thought to myself this is exactly what’s happening with my blog at the moment.  It read like this…

Your account is so new, we are still playing with the bubble wrap!

 I could just picture these little IT nerds receiving a package, with enclosed my new account all wrapped in bubble wrap, and them getting all wired about it.  I can actually imagine them looking like those little Minions from ‘Despicable Me’.  Hilarious!

To celebrate women’s day, 9 August 2013, I invited a few of my good friends for a sunny afternoon braai.  I must say we have had a pretty mild winter.  The weather has been great and this is why I love living in South Africa.  So I thought something chocolaty, rich and flavorful would be appropriate.  I decided to make a Boozy Chocolate Mousse Tart.  It was a great idea cause it turned out to be a BIG hit.  It’s the best compliment when your friends go for seconds and even more so when you know they don’t really have a sweet tooth.  

Tart

This Tart is naughty but unbelievably moreish and serving it with fresh fruit is a great way to finish off a delicious Chocolate Mousse Tart.  The base has a chocolate brownie texture that goes really well with the rich Chocolate Mousse.   Layered between the base and the Mousse, I’ve added a spread of blueberry dark chocolate ganache.  Yummm!!!

Chocolate Mouse Tart

 So like they say:

The proof is in the pudding.

Here goes my recipe for a Boozy Chocolate Mousse Tart.

Boozy Chocolate Mousse Tart
Serves 8
A rich chocolaty dessert with a hint of Van Der Hum liqueur.
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Prep Time
1 hr 20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Prep Time
1 hr 20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
For the Brownie Pastry
  1. 175 g flour
  2. 50 g cocoa powder
  3. 50 g icing sugar
  4. 140 g unsalted butter
  5. 3 large egg yolks
For the Boozy Chocolate Mousse Filling
  1. 180 g Cadbury Bournville dark chocolate (70% good quality dark chocolate chopped)
  2. 125 g butter
  3. 3 tablespoons van der hum liqueur (or brandy)
  4. 1 large egg, plus 2 yolks
  5. 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  6. 175 ml wipping cream
  7. 2 tablespoons cocoa, sifted
For the blueberry chocolate ganache
  1. 100 g Lindt Excellence Blueberry Intense (or try your own flavor of good quality dark chocolate)
  2. 70 ml Cream
For the Brownie Pastry
  1. Sift flour, cocoa and icing sugar together into a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the room temperature butter until crumb-like. Do not over mix.
  2. Add egg yolks and 2 tablespoons cold water and mix to bring together into a ball of dough.
  3. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 50 min.
  4. Roll out on a surface dusted in a mix of flour and cocoa powder to about 30cm diameter. Line a 23cm, loose-bottom tart tin with the pastry, prick the base and trim off excess pastry.
  5. Chill for 10 mins. Preheat the oven to 190 °C (374 °F)
  6. Bake pastry blind for 15-20 mins until pastry is set, then for a further 15 min, uncovered.
  7. Take pastry out and leave to cool.
For the Boozy Chocolate Mousse Filling
  1. Melt the chocolate, butter and liqueur in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water.
  2. Stir and leave to cool for 30 mins.
  3. Whisk egg and yolks for 3-4 mins until it leaves a trail that remains visible for a few secs.
  4. Add corn syrup to the egg and mix well.
  5. Whip cream with your electric mixer, to soft peaks (do not over mix).
  6. Add the cocoa and whisk again to combine.
  7. Fold into chocolate mix with the egg mix, until smooth. Put aside.
For the blueberry chocolate ganache
  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water.
  2. As it slowly heats through stir in the cream until creamy, shiny ganache form.
  3. Take off the pan and immediately spread over your baked pastry.
  4. Let cool slightly. Add the Mousse and fill the rest of the pastry.
  5. Chill for 2 hours and take your Boozy Chocolate Mousse Tart out the fridge 30 mins before serving.
Sweet Monty http://sweetmonty.co.za/

Fun Decorated Froggy Cookies

Sugar Cookies

I have just started my Sweet Monty Blog and playing around with it is FUN.  I was happy using a free theme for my blog, but as I learnt more and noticed the variety of themes out there, I must admit I got a bit carried away,  I  found a theme that I fell in love with. The only problem now is learning how to use this theme.  I don’t know much about web design but I am learning fast.  It is so exciting learning a new skill and the rewards are gratifying.  

But enough about that.  I decided to make decorated sugar cookies again.  How exciting!  I made them once before with the expert help of Marian’s blog, Sweetopia.  Anything and everything you want to know about decorating cookies you can find here.  

These cookies are just divine and trying to make them is FUN FUN FUN!  If you haven’t tried it out before make sure you do especially if you have kids.

cookies1 copy

 The inspiration to make these FUN cookies again came from my new cookie cutters.  I got them from Chefs ‘n Icers in Sandton City.  What a great shop!  If I didn’t have my husband with me we would most probably be broke right now.  So I guess I should thank him?

froggie cookie cutters

I made these decorated froggy cookies over a period of two days.  They do take time and like I said before, being a working mom time is precious, so I try to waste it wisely.  :) 

I always try to make time for doing what I love and when my kids can do it with me it’s SO MUCH EASIER. 

Sugar Cookies

The best thing about this recipe is that the sugar cookies keep their shape.  And my favourite is the little vanilla pod seeds that can be seen in the cookie after it’s baked.  It’s a beautiful recipe.

sugar cookies

They come out the oven quite soft but don’t put them back thinking they are not done.  As they cool they become a lovely texture. When they are room temperature the fun can begin.  This recipe yields about 50 cookies if you are using a 5×5 cm cookie cutter.  After you’ve lined your cookies you have to leave them to dry for about 30 minutes before flooding them.  Once they have been flooded I left mine over night to dry.  I used squeeze bottles to decorate these cookies.  If you are doing this fun project with your kids I recommend using squeeze bottles.  They are easier to handle and is less messy.  But if you are trying to get a more sophisticated look rather use your piping bags with #1-5  piping tips.  You can use #1-2 for outlining your cookie and #3-5 for flooding.  

Squeeze bottle

You will need couplers for your piping bags to easily add on your piping tips.  

If you don’t have couplers you can just use an extra piping bag, insert your preferred piping tip and put this empty, clean piping bag over the piping bag filled with the colour icing you are about to use and then easily change to another colour piping bag when you are done. 

Royal Icing Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons Meringue powder (Actiwhite)
  •  3/4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 kilogram powdered icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon clear vanilla essence
  • Gel food colours

Steps:  

  1. Add meringue powder to water and mix for about 30 seconds.  
  2. Add cream of tartar and whisk for another 30 seconds.
  3. If your meringue powder has no vanilla, add a teaspoon of clear vanilla. 
  4. Add all of the icing sugar and mix in your electric mixer with paddle attachment on slow for 10 minutes.  Be patient the 10 minutes here will give your icing a smooth texture.  
  5. Add your gel food colours and cover with a damp towel to prevent icing from drying out.

After you’ve mixed your icing for 10 minutes the mixture will be quite firm.  Now you can add water to get your preferred consistency. Be careful not to add too much water.  It’s easier to add more water than to try and mix in icing sugar again.  There are many ways to test if the consistency is good for outlining your cookies.  I just pulled a knife through the mixture and counted to 10.  If the line disappears closest to 10 then I’ll say it’s ready.  But play around with it and see what works best for you.

Go here for Sugar Cookie Recipe.

Tools

  1. Squeeze Bottles (I got mine from West Pack at the Lifestyle shopping centre)
  2. Electric Mixer
  3. Mixing bowls
  4. Clean wet cloth to cover mixing bowls.  This will help prevent the icing from drying out

sugar cookies

I also got this FUN Cookie Stamp at Chefs n Icers and used half of my cookie dough to make the above ‘Eat Me’ cookies.  I think they are too cute and really enjoyed making them. 

I hope you try this recipe  and enjoy making these cookies as much as I did.  If you have any questions about this post please leave a comment. 

Now go ahead and have some FUN making Sugar Cookies!

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

I wish you could see the excitement on my face right now.  This is my first post since I took on this exciting challenge of joining the blogging world and I have made the Ultimate Lemon Meringue Pie.  I am so proud of it!!

 There is just something about this cost effective yet classic pie that makes you feel like you are at a royal tea party.

A Lemon Meringue Pie with the perfect balance between ‘sweet and tangy’ is hard to find.  You know, the one with a soft, light crown and crunchy, crumble base sandwiching that perfect golden centre – that’s the one I’m talking about. YUM!!

I am about to reveal the Ultimate Lemon Meringue Pie recipe inspired by Granny Geej.  But before I do, Granny Geej is the matriarch of our family.  She is a loving person and this Lemon Meringue reminds of her soft, sweet, strong personality.  She gave me this handwritten Lemon Meringue Pie recipe a couple of years ago and instructed me to keep it safe.  The best thing about sharing this great recipe with you is that it can be made again and again and trust me you are going to make it over and over AGAIN.  Savour this loving Pie.

Slice Lemon Meringue Pie

You will want to take this classic dessert pie with you to your next dinner party or lunch time braai with your besties and it WILL WOW them…

See the recipe below for making this beautiful Lemon Meringue Pie.  Have fun making it and whether you are enjoying it with your lovely family or ‘wowing’ your besties, be proud of yourself because you have created perfection.

 Lemon Meringue Pie Steps

Lemon Meringue Pie
Serves 8
A delicious Lemon Meringue Pie. A true classic.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
For the base
  1. 200 g (1 pack) digestive biscuits - I used oatmeal biscuits covered in yoghurt from Woolworths
  2. 90 g butter (melted)
  3. 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  4. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
For the filling
  1. 1 tin (385 g) condensed milk
  2. 1/2 cup (125 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  3. 4 egg yolks
For the Meringue
  1. 4 egg whites
  2. 1/2 cup (125 ml) caster sugar
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 3 teaspoons cornflour (to sieve over baked filling)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C (356 °F)
For the base
  1. Mix together biscuits, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice. You can use a food processor to get a nice fine crumb. I crumbed the biscuits myself and quite liked the texture. The tangy yoghurt coating in this digestive biscuit really does the trick here.
  2. Press mixture into a greased loose bottom tart pan.
For the filling
  1. Mix together condensed milk, 1/2 cup lemon juice and 4 egg yolks.
  2. Pour into your base and bake at 180 °C (356 °F) for 20 minutes.
For the Meringue
  1. Read the tips below before starting the meringue.
  2. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. While gradually adding the sugar.
  3. Fold in 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
  4. After 20 minutes take the baked filling out and turn the oven down to 150 °C (302 °F).
  5. Sieve 3 teaspoons cornflour over baked filling.
  6. Immediately pile/pipe meringue on top and bake for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Turn oven off and leave pie in oven for another 10 minutes.
  8. Open door slightly and leave to cool completely.
Great Tips
  1. Heat lemons for 20 seconds in the microwave to make squeezing it a lot easier.
  2. Make sure you don't over beat your egg whites.
  3. Separate eggs cold out of the fridge. Egg whites hold better when cold.
  4. Make sure your bowls and utensils are clean since a single bit of fat or egg yolk will interfere with the formation of foam. Yes, no digging around for that lost shell with your oily fingers.
  5. After separating egg whites leave to warm up to room temperature (about 30 min) to ensure volume when beating.
  6. Start adding sugar after egg whites have formed soft peaks. Not before you start beating.
  7. Lemon Meringue is best served on the day it's baked. It's so good there is no reason why you should have any left over for the next day.
  8. Keep your Lemon Meringue at room temperature and NOT in the fridge.
Adapted from Granny Geej
Adapted from Granny Geej
Sweet Monty http://sweetmonty.co.za/