These delightful dairy-free cupcakes are perfect for the spring and summer months when bright flavors like lemon are the tastes of the season. These take a bit of time to prepare because cooling is not something the can be rushed in baking! To make things easier, I usually make the Dairy-Free Lemon Curd the day before I intend to make the cupcakes so that it has time to cool completely, and I prepare the Royal Icing after my cupcakes have cooled so that I can use it right away.
Yield: About 2 dozen cupcakes
- For the Filling:
- 1 Recipe Dairy-Free Lemon Curd
- For the Cupcakes:
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour or cake flour (not self-rising)
- 1 T. baking powder
- 1/2 t. salt
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup plus 3 T. lemon juice
- 2 t. vanilla extract
- 1/4 t. cream of tartar
- For the Icing:
- Royal Icing
2. Make the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 standard 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners. Set aside.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
4. In another large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks using an electric mixture set to a medium speed setting for 3-5 minutes, or until pale yellow. Gradually add 1 cup sugar to the eggs, beating for another 5 minutes, or until the mixture is pale yellow in color and fluffy. Add the oil in a steady stream, beating until combined. In another cup, whisk together the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Reduce the speed of the electric mixer to medium-low, and add the flour mixture and the lemon juice-vanilla mixture in 3-4 additions, alternating between adding the flour mixture and lemon juice-vanilla mixture and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Set aside.
5. In another large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer with clean, dry beaters, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat for about 3 minutes, or until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar, beating for about 4-6 minutes more, or until the egg whites form stiff, glossy peaks.
6. Using a spatula, gently fold a quarter of the egg white mixture into the flour-yolk mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg white mixture until the mixture is well combined, but don't overmix--it's okay if your batter looks a little "swirled" with yellow batter and white egg white mixture. (It's better to undermix than to overmix and deflate your egg whites!) Portion the batter into the prepared cupcake liners and bake until the surface of the cupcakes springs back when touched, about 18-20 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
7. Fill the cupcakes. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, fill a pastry bag with an icing tip with the lemon curd. Push the pastry tip about 1" into the center one of the cooled cupcakes and fill with just enough lemon curd so that the surface of the cupcake cracks slightly but does not overflow (my experience is that less is better than more!). Repeat with the remaining cupcakes until all are filled.