Have you ever dreamed about eating an entire cake? Yes, an entire cake. Being able to taste two layers, the filling, and the frosting ALL around the cake? Now you can! Yes, I’m serious! You just have to make tiny individual cakes instead of a big one. That’s what I did last Wednesday.
I knew I was going to have the last entire free day from school and I decided I wanted to entertain myself (and my kitties…under the counter waiting for something yummy to fall) with a baking marathon - well the difference with a real marathon is that with this one you gain weight instead of losing it.
Two facts brought me to bake these layered cupcakes:
FACT #1: I always want to bake cakes…I mean serious cakes…layered cakes with a yummy filling and a frosting. However, we are only two in this household…no way we can finish a cake before the icing goes bad and carrying around or giving away slices of cakes sometimes is complicated. (Many people also complain they are on a diet and want “light” desserts!). So unless there is a celebration or a party I never get to make a layered cake!
FACT #2: For the first time in my life that morning I made lemon curd. I never thought it could be sooo easy to make and yet come out so delicious. Now I understand why people obsess about homemade lemon curd. Few ingredients, one pot, one spoon, 4-6 minutes of your time and you have an amazing lemon curd that lasts up to two months in the refrigerator if properly sealed (according to Dorie Greenspan…and I totally trust her!)
Put the two facts together and you get these sponge cake cupcakes filled with lemon curd and topped with strawberry frosting. One note about the frosting: I had a very bad frosting moment that day. I threw away two batches of frosting. I used two different recipes and both were terrible! The third one was good but not good looking….I used it because I was getting very frustrated but I’m not giving you the recipe because it was definitely NOT a keeper! You can use any frosting, really…just make it better than mine…it won’t take much!
Sponge Cake Cupcakes
Yields 12 cupcakes
170 gr (6 oz or 1 1/3 cups) all purpose flour
7 gr (1 1/4 tsp) baking powder
1 gr (1/4 tsp) salt
120 ml (4 fl oz or 1/2 cup) whole milk
57 gr (2 oz or 4 tbsp) unsalted butter
150 gr (5.3 oz or 3/4 cup) granulated sugar
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325F degrees and fit the molds with paper muffin cups.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, the baking powder and the salt. Then set aside.
Combine butter and milk in a saucepan, heat on medium until the butter has just about melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
Using the whisk attachment beat your eggs on high until blended, about 1 minute.
Add the vanilla extract and the sugar gradually and beat until pale and tripled in volume. This is the most important step. Don’t stop until the mixture is pale and much more voluminous! It should take 5-8 minutes. Some recipes say even 10 minutes.
Fold one third of the flour mixture into the egg mixture with a rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture in 2 more additions. It is very important to incorporate the four mixture well but without over mixing otherwise the final mixture will lose its fluffiness.
Reheat the milk mixture until just under a boil. Then add the hot milk mixture into the batter and fold it in.
Pour the batter into the muffin pan. Bake for about 20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool down completely before filling and frosting.
Source: of course, there are many many many sponge cake recipes and they are all pretty much similar or identical. However, the one that inspired me to make cupcakes out of it is the one I found at The Little Teochew
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 stick or 6 tbsp) butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 large egg
6 large egg yolks
freshly squeezed juice of 4 lemons
*Yields double of what I needed to fill in the cupcakes but, as I said above, you can store the remaining for up to two months!
Put all the ingredients in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir with a heatproof spatula to moisten the sugar. Put the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring without stopping, until the butter melts and the mixture thickens like custard, 4 to 6 minutes.
Keep your eyes on the pan, because the curd can curdle quickly. It is cooked enough when you can run your finger along the spatula and the curd doesn’t run into the track you’ve created (btw, I loved this tip. It totally helped me in stopping to cook the curd on time!) Don’t worry if the curd looks thin at this point – it will thicken more as it cools.
Remove the pan from the heat and scrape the curd into a heatproof jar or a bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the curd to create an airtight seal and cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator.
Source: also for the case of the lemon curd there are many recipes around, pretty similar and all valid. As other times, I relied on Dorie Greenspan!
Once the cupcakes and the curd have completely cooled down, cut the cupcakes horizontally and spread the lemon curd as filling. Cover them with the frosting and keep in the fridge for at least one hour before serving so that the lemon curd can reach the right consistency.
Have a sweet day!