Lemon and Strawberry Chiffon Cupcakes
Chiffon is a type of sponge that doesn’t use butter and is supposed to be quite easy to get wrong, but I’m not really sure what all the fuss is about. It is much lighter than a normal sponge and healthier so I’m sure one or two of these cakes can substitute for that salad you were going to eat…
I made 10 lemon cupcakes and 8 strawberry but quantities will vary depending on how accurate you are when it comes to splitting the cake batter in two. Mine were also a bit smaller than expected.
6oz Strawberries (cut the tops off and roughly chop into small pieces)
8oz Self-Raising Flour
6 ½ oz Caster Sugar
1tsp Baking Powder
50ml Oil (whatever oil you have to hand, but preferably not motor oil; I used olive oil)
4 Eggs (separate the egg yolks from the egg whites for all 4 as explained in Strawberry Vacherin)
2 Lemons (zest and juice)
150ml Double Cream
4tsp Lemon Curd
4tsp Strawberry Jam
In a medium size pan, place the chopped strawberries, 1/2oz of caster sugar and about 100ml of water. On a medium heat, bring the strawberry mixture to the boil and reduce (evaporate off all the water and reduce the strawberries to mush). Take off the heat, transfer to a small bowl and allow to cool.
Take 18 cupcake cases (I have re-usable silicon ones, hence the pretty colours below, but paper ones do the job), grease them with butter and place in a muffin tray.
In a large mixing bowl, sieve in the flour, the remaining 6oz caster sugar and the baking powder. Whisk together to ensure everything is evenly mixed and then make a well in the centre.
In a measuring jug, place the oil, 50ml of water and the 4 egg yolks. Whisk thoroughly.
In a small glass or ceramic mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until white and meringue-like (see Strawberry Vacherin). If you make peaks in the meringue, they should hold their shape.
Pre-heat the oven to 160oC (325oF, Gas Mark 3).
Make sure you have everything lined up – the flour mixture, the oil mixture, the egg whites, the strawberry mush and the lemon juice and zest – as you have to work quickly once you start mixing to keep the air in the cake batter. This is also why there are no photos of any of the remaining steps as I didn’t want to waste any time and affect the outcome of the cakes, sorry.
Give the oil mixture another whisk and then pour into the well in the flour mixture. Use a wooden spoon to bring the batter together. Once mixed, split into two, putting one half of the mixture into another bowl. To one bowl add the lemon and mix; to the other, add the strawberry mush and mix.
Split the meringue into two and add one half to the lemon batter and the other half to the strawberry batter. Gently fold the meringue into each mixture until no more white is visible.
As quickly as you can, spoon 4tbsps (I only used 3tbsps but the cakes are too small) of the batter into each cupcake case and then put the cakes into the oven. Bake for 20mins.
Take the cakes out of the oven and allow to cool completely. Remove the cakes from the cupcake cases (or keep them in if you prefer).
Whisk the double cream into whipped cream and split into two. To one half stir in the lemon curd, to the other the strawberry jam. Mix as thoroughly as you like and then spread a heaped tsp of the cream onto a cupcake. Do this for all the cupcakes, with the lemon cream going onto the lemon chiffons and the strawberry cream going onto the strawberry chiffons (or the other way round if you consider yourself a bit of a maverick). They’re now ready to eat.
These cakes are very nice. That is all.