Baking with Nulaid Free Range Eggs: Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
Eggs are an indispensable ingredient in baking – depending on how they are used in a recipe they can add structure and stability (cakes), they can thicken and emulsify (custards, curds and sauces) and they even add shine and help hold things together (glazes and pastries). For the best results when baking always use the freshest free range eggs that you can. Also, be particular about using the best quality that you can afford. Here we’re using Nulaid Free-range Eggs whole, as well as separated yolks and whites to create these gorgeous Lemon Meringue Cupcakes. These light and fluffy cakes filled with a zingy curd and topped with a marshmallowy cooked Italian Meringue. Just divine!
Tips for Separating Eggs
The cupcakes in this recipe require two whole eggs, but the eggs for the curd and meringue will need to be separated. The great part is that the curd needs 3 yolks and the Italian meringue topping needs 3 whites, so no wastage. Yay!
To separate the eggs, have two small clean bowls on hand.
Place one of the bowls underneath where you are working. Crack the egg gently to break the shell (we use the rim of a bowl or the back of a butter knife to do this) and separate into two halves. Tip the yolk into one half of the cracked eggshell and allow the egg white to fall into the bowl below.
Tipping the egg yolk back and forth can be a dicey way to separate as the edges of the eggshell can be sharp and can puncture the yolk. We prefer tipping the yolk into a clean hand and letting the remaining egg white drip into the bowl below. Once all of the white has detached you can pop the yolk into the other small bowl.
Handy Tips When Working With Free Range Eggs
- It is important that no broken yolk gets into the separated whites – the fat in the yolks will prevent the whites from whisking to peaks. If you’re new to separating eggs, use separate bowls for each separation so that you don’t taint already correctly separated egg whites if a yolk happens to break.
- The yolks of fresh eggs are more likely to stay intact when separating, so check the best before date when purchasing.
- Allow eggs to come to room temperature before you start the baking process.
- Always clean the bowl and whisk attachment of a stand mixer well before whisking egg whites (rinse with boiling water). Any grease present (like butter residue from a previous recipe) will cause the egg whites not to whisk.
- When making lemon curd, always whisking the yolks and sugar separately before adding the lemon juice, or the acidity of the juice can ‘cook’ the egg and cause curdling.
- Whisk continuously when adding the butter and cook slowly at a low temperature. It takes time for it to thicken but the result is worth it.
- Store extra lemon curd in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. Excellent served on top of your favourite scones.
Check out our other handy baking tips for troubleshooting here.
Time to start baking!
RECIPE: Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
A classic pie meets a fluffy cupcake, just delightful!
100 g butter
150 g castor sugar
150 g self-raising flour
zest of one lemon
3 Tbsp (45 ml) full cream milk
1 tsp (5 ml) lemon juice
2 Large Nulaid Free Range Eggs
¼ C (60 ml) lemon juice (about 1–2 lemons)
⅓ C (80 ml) granulated white sugar
yolks of 3 Large Nulaid Free Range Eggs
4 Tbsp (60 g) butter, chilled
Italian Meringue Topping
whites of 3 Large Nulaid Free Range Eggs
¼ tsp (1,75 ml) cream of tartar
¼ tsp (1,75 ml) salt
1 C (250 ml) granulated white sugar
¼ C (60 ml) water
Preheat the oven to 180 ºC. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.
Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and cream until light and fluffy (5 mins). Don’t skip on this step as light and fluffy creaming leads to light and fluffy cupcakes. Add the 2 eggs and lemon zest and mix again, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour and the milk and lemon juice alternating, until it is all incorporated. Don’t overbeat the mixture.
Divide evenly between the cupcake cases and then place into the preheated oven.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside to cool completely.
Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together thoroughly in a small bowl using a fork. Add this to a small saucepan and then add the lemon juice and whisk to combine.
Add in the butter one tablespoon at a time and cook over low heat; whisk continuously for about 8-10 minutes until the curd has thickened.
Transfer the lemon curd to a bowl or sterilised jar and allow to cool. Once cooled to room temperature, seal with a lid (or plastic wrap) and then refrigerate.
Italian Meringue Topping
Place the egg whites, cream of tartar and pinch of salt into a clean bowl of a stand mixer. Use the whisk attachment to beat until soft peaks form.
Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan, mix to combine and then bring to a boil. Continue to cook without stirring, until a thermometer registers 115 ºC (soft ball stage if you don’t have a thermometer). Check out our glossary of baking terms here.
Pour the hot sugar syrup in a very thin stream into egg whites, while the mixer is running at high speed, continue until all of it is incorporated and stiff peaks form.
Use a sharp-tipped knife to cut a hole in the centre of each cupcake (this will be filled with curd). Be careful not to cut down right to the bottom of the cake. Remove each centre piece of cake. Use a teaspoon, or a piping bag filled with curd, to fill each cupcake centre with as much curd as it can hold.
Fill a piping bag with Italian meringue mix (note: if you have a plain tipped nozzle you can use this, alternatively just snip the end of the bag off). Pipe each cupcake with a generous swirl of meringue. Use a kitchen blowtorch to lightly toast each cupcake’s meringue top.
Serve your Lemon Meringue Cupcakes with your favourite cup of tea and enjoy.
Nulaid Free-range Eggs
Nulaid Free Range eggs are produced by hens that are not caged and have daily access to an outdoor range area accessible through openings in the side of the barn.
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