Straight away I’m going to apologise for the truly awful quality of these pictures. My iPhone 4 camera is terrible and the lighting in my kitchen obviously doesn’t help! Try to bear with it, and I’m sure you all know what I mean without a picture.
This is a great recipe that I’ve baked quite a few times now, for various reasons, birthdays to just for the sake of it and now for a work colleague’s leaving present. Mary Berry is fantastic and this recipe has never let me down, so why would I choose anything else? I always enjoy the grating of the lemon zest, it releases such a gorgeous summery smell into my kitchen that lingers while I’m preparing the rest of the cake so it’s always the first thing I do! (remember to keep hold of the lemon for later).
Once they are fully mixed together, add the natural yoghurt and the lemon zest then continue to mix (I don’t know why the lemon zest looks green, it was a gorgeous yellow colour, promise!)
Sift the flour into the bowl and fold in carefully by hand.
Set aside the cake mixture and grab your egg whites from earlier. You need to beat them until they become stiff, forming a soft peak. Sort of like a meringue but without the sugar. I would highly recommend doing this with electric apparatus as when I first started baking this cake, I would do it manually by hand and it would honestly take so much longer. 2-3 minutes with electric whisk vs. 12-15 by hand, you do the maths. Although if you are aiming to build your upper arm strength, this is definitely the task for you!
Add this egg white mixture to the cake batter, folding it in by hand. This is really important as the reason you beat the egg whites is to add air to the mixture to encourage the rise of the cake, so you don’t want to then beat that air out by overmixing. Hope that makes sense!
What a lovely yellow colour the batter turns out to be, although I hope that’s not purely my terrible lighting! It looked very pretty in person 🙂
Fill the silicone mould with the cake mix. I had no idea how much to actually fill this up to and there were no instructions on the box so I took a guess and filled it just over 2/3 full. This seemed to work out OK with a nice domed rise like a traditional cupcake! I baked them for about 30 minutes each but it was a little bit of me checking them constantly as Mary’s recipe states to bake for an hour but that’s for a full size cake. Just keep checking them and you’ll be fine (remember not to open the oven door though, to prevent sinking). When removing the cupcake from the mould, wait until it has cooled because they do retain heat!
While the cupcakes are in the oven, make your buttercream by creaming together the butter and icing sugar.
Squeeze in the juice from the lemon you grated earlier and mix into the buttercream. Keep doing this to taste to be honest, as the butter can be an overwhelming flavour. I would definitely say you’d tend to need more than you think for the lemon flavour to come through.
I attempted to frost these cupcakes but couldn’t quite get the outcome I wanted. I ended up doing a crumb layer to see if that would help (literally just spread a thin layer of the buttercream over the surface of the cake). It seemed to help as you can see, as I managed to get the frosting to hold shape (now 2-3 on the piping bag score!) I also used a new piping bag and nozzle that I bought from Lakeland (I promise I’m not being paid to endorse them haha), so that may have helped.
You don’t have to but as these were gifts for people, I finished with some sugared lemon and orange slices.
I had some cake mixture left over after making two giant cupcakes so I made a few mini cupcakes, you know the ones that are smaller than a bite? I say a “few” but I think I ended up with over 30 of them! (just so my other work colleagues didn’t miss out I guess!)
Here’s the list of ingredients and method for those that prefer:
Ingredients for the cupcakes
- 300g caster sugar (I only used 250g and I don’t think it made too much of a difference but for the sake of copyright!)
- 50g unsalted butter
- 3 eggs, separated
- 225g natural or Greek yoghurt
- 175g self raising flour
- zest of one whole lemon
Ingredients for the buttercream
- 100g unsalted butter
- 200g icing sugar
- juice of half a lemon (but it’s your call!)
- sugared orange and lemon slices (if desired)
- Preheat the oven to 180º and grease the cupcake mould.
- Beat together the sugar, butter and egg yolks in a bowl. Add the yoghurt and lemon zest and beat until smooth. Gently fold in the flour.
- Whisk the egg whites to a soft peak and carefully fold into the mixture. Fill the mould to approx. 2/3 full.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes, but remember to check. When they are golden brown on top and a skewer inserted comes out clean, they are done. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes then take the cake out of the mould. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the buttercream, beat together the butter and icing sugar then add the lemon juice to taste.
- Spread the cake with a little of the buttercream to form a crumb layer (if you feel it’s needed) then pipe a swirl on top of the cake.
- Top with the orange and lemon slices to finish.