Happy Easter everyone!
On Easter, many Americans follow the tradition of colouring hard-boiled eggs and giving baskets of candy. The Easter Bunny is a popular legendary anthropomorphic Easter gift-giving character, that brings baskets filled with coloured eggs, candy and sometimes also toys to the homes of children.
But Easter is more than bunny and chocolates and eggs. Most importantly, it celebrates the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ on the 3rd day after his crucifixion at Calvary. Through His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus has paid the penalty for sin, thus purchasing for all who believe in him, eternal life in Christian Jesus. Consequently, He has conquered Satan and all evil.
We love Easter 🙂
It was our friend’s birthday just yesterday and we had been meaning to surprise her with something out of the world. In other words, the usual Carrot Cake Cupcakes that she loves so much is out of the picture. Anything chocolate’s out too since chocolate’s becoming part of everything – we love it so much, that it’s no longer special (in a way) but nevertheless we can’t imagine ourselves without it as we’d die anyway – and she’s given up chocolate for Lent.
We chanced upon a Key Lime Pie Cupcake recipe and knew immediately that we had a winner. She loves Key Lime Pies! And making it to a cupcake? Genius! Anyway cupcakes are cuter and much transportable than pies 😀
Furthermore, the weather in Singapore has been tremendously horrible. Yes horrible. It’d be scorching hot in the morning and showering heavily with thunder and lightning in the afternoon. We dream of the day where we’d be sitting by the beach, with a comfortable breeze, enjoying cool beverages with a wedge of lime/lemon stuck into them or as a garnish on something frozen and fabulous. Oh wellz, not gonna happen in Singapore as it’d be either too hot or too wet.
These bright springy Key Lime Pie Cupcakes can definitely ease the pain. But because we used lemon instead of key lime, we have decided to call them Lemon Cream Tart Cupcakes. Anyway it is believed that the inspiration of Key Lime Pies is the Lemon Meringue Pie/Tart. Instead of Meringue, these uses cream. Hence Lemon Cream Tart Cupcakes. It starts with a sweet and grainy graham cracker crust, then a fluffy light vanilla cake with a touch of lemon, creamy smooth lemon curd filling, and topped with freshly whipped cream on the rims.
Lemon Cream Tart Cupcakes
Adapted from Annie’s Eats
As mention earlier, we used lemon instead of key limes. The ratio of lemon to key limes is 1:1 so it’s simply and easily substitutable. Just an interesting little fun fact: In 1965, the Florida State Representative Bernie Papy, Jr. introduced legislation calling for a $100 fine to be levied against anyone advertising key lime pie that is not made with key limes. However, the bill did not pass. But we’ll be safe anyway and call these Lemon Cream Tart Cupcakes 🙂
Although the first Key Lime Pies used pastry crusts, we used a graham cracker crust as it is the simplest of all pie crusts. It calls for just graham cracker crumbs (if you don’t have graham crackers, simply use any crisp cookies or digestive biscuits), a little sugar, and melted better. To test if the ratio of crumbs to butter are of the right consistency, simply squeeze a little in your first. If the mixture holds together, you know you’ve got the perfect crust. Also, instead of baking the crust, you can also just place it in the refrigerator until chilled.
Key Lime Pies can have either a meringue or a whipped cream topping. This one had whipped cream which had a smooth, satiny texture. Do use Heavy Cream or Heavy Whipping Cream/Double Cream is it has a 36-40% butterfat which will double in volume when whipped and hold its form.
Lastly, the original recipe called for cake flour. But since we did not have any cake flour, we simply substituted it with all purpose flour, but 2 tablespoons less. Ideally, 1 cup cake flour = 3/4 cup all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoon cornstarch. We left out the cornstarch though, but the end product was still had a tender and delicate texture that we all dreamt of it to be. But most importantly, if you decide to use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour, make sure you sift it at least twice.
Yields: about 20 regular-sized Cupcakes
For the Crust:
14 graham crackers, crushed
53g unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350° F (175C). Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. In a small mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; mix well with a fork. Drop about 1 tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture in the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down to line the bottom. (Note: the bottom of a squeeze bottle or shot glass works very well.) Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, and maintain the oven temperature.
For the Cupcakes:
203g all purpose flour, sifted
3/4 tbsp. baking powder
1/3 tsp. salt
160g unsalted butter, at room temperature
zest of 3/4 lemon (or lime/key lime)
2 7/8 large eggs, at room temperature
300ml buttermilk (or simply mix 1 1/4 tbsp. lemon juice/vinegar + milk)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute. Beat in the lime zest. Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Combine the buttermilk and the vanilla and coconut extracts in a liquid measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.
Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full. Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
For the Lemon Curd:
2 1/8 large eggs
56g freshly squeezed lemon juice (or lime/key lime)
39g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
In a non-reactive saucepan, combine the eggs and sugar. Whisk together until well blended. Whisk in the key lime juice. Place the pan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring or whisking constantly, until the mixture is warmed through. Be careful not to heat the mixture too quickly to avoid curdling the eggs. Whisk in the butter a little bit at a time, stirring in each addition until completely incorporated before adding more. Continue to cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture thickens and a spoon or spatula leaves a path when drawn through it (no higher than 175˚ F on an instant-read thermometer.) Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. (This keeps up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.)
143ml heavy cream
16g confectioners’ sugar
Combine the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Blend in the vanilla. Transfer the whipped cream to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip.
To assemble the cupcakes: Use the cone method to make a well in the centre of each cupcake. Discard the cones. Fill each with the lemon curd. Pipe a rim of whipped cream around the top of each cupcake, leaving the lemon curd filling exposed. Garnish with lemon slices if desired.