Wedding Cake Supplier, Laura Hasson, on Cup Cakes
This month’s guru is Laura Hasson – founder of Meadow Cottage Bakery and lover of cake – who gives us her learnt-from-long-experience baking tips and simple but impressive recipe for a lemon meringue cup cake.
Four years ago I began taking the first steps to make my dream of running my own cake design, making and decorating business come true. At the time I was working as a Home Designer for John Lewis in Southampton but although I have a huge passion for interior design, something else was calling me…….and that something was cake!!
I have always loved baking and after attending some fantastic cake decorating classes with Fair Cake and Peggy Porschen in London, I practiced and practiced what I had learned and focused my skills on developing my own designs. Meadow Cottage Bakery was born! In my spare time I was running a company baking from my home kitchen set in the heart of the Hampshire countryside.
I became a mum for the first time just over a year ago and whilst on maternity leave I decided to take the huge step to hang up my interior design hat and swap it for my cake making apron, full time. A very scary but extremely exciting time for me and and the Meadow Cottage Bakery!
Slowly I started to take orders from friends and family for special occasions and now through word of mouth and a lot of hard work, I am taking more orders from new clients. I cater for all occasions, but but most of my business is weddings. I am fortunate enough to be a listed supplier with the Clock Barn in Tufton Warren, The White Horse Hotel in Romsey and Weddings at Wherwell in Wherwell, which is fantastic and the list is growing!
My Meadow Cottage Bakery Tips:
Always read through your recipe two to three times and make sure that you have all of the correct ingredients weighed out accurately.
If you’re planning on making a special fruit cake always allow as much time as possible. I like to bake my fruit cakes at least three months in advance, this gives the cake time to mature nicely and will also allow the cake to soak up all of the delicious booze that you have been feeding it with. There’s nothing worse than cutting into a piece of cake that you have been looking forward to enjoying to find that it is dry and crumbly.
Must have product!
Meadow Cottage Bakery’s Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
A yummy batch of Lemon Meringue Cupcakes. A delicate lemon sponge with a hidden centre of home made lemon curd finished with a silky meringue. These cupcakes are delicious and a real show stopper for your guests.
One batch will make 12-16
Preheat your oven to 160° fan
Line a deep muffin tray with muffin cases. I like to use yellow or brown for these.
for the sponge:
- 200g salted butter
- 200g caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 200g self raising flour
- Zest from 2 lemons
- First of all measure the butter, sugar and lemon rind into your bowl. I like to use my trusty Kenwood to mix everything together, however a hand held electric whisk also works. Mix the sugar, butter and lemon on a medium to high speed for a good 5-7 minutes. You want the mixture to turn a pale cream colour and look light and fluffy.
- Next, beat the 4 eggs into a measuring jug and slowly add the eggs a little at a time to the butter mix. Beat for a few minutes after each time.
- Once the eggs have combined sift the flour and fold it into the mixture. Do not beat as you will loose much needed air bubbles and this will end up with a dense cake. You may wish to add a slash of milk at this point, just to loosen up the mixture a little.
- Now divide the mixture into the muffin cases. I like to use a level ice cream scoop, this then gives a uniform, even look to your cupcakes.
- Pop the trays into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. The cakes are ready when they are just turning to a golden brown colour and bounce back when touched in the centre.
- Whilst the cakes are baking you can start on the Lemon Curd. This curd recipe is from Nigel Slater and is truly amazing, it’s fresh, zingy and once you have made this you will never buy it from the supermarket again.
lemon curd (NB – Saucy Dressings’ note – you can buy this if you are short of time):
- zest and juice of 4 unwaxed lemons
- 200g caster sugar
- 100g butter, cubed
- 3 eggs and 1 egg yolk
- Put the lemon zest, juice, sugar and butter into a heatproof glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water, make sure that the bottom of the basin doesn’t touch the water. Stir with a whisk from time to time until the butter has melted.
- Lightly mix the eggs and yolk with a fork, then stir into the lemon mixture. Let the curd cook, stirring regularly, for about 10minutes, until it is thick and custard-like.
- Remove from the heat and stir occasionally as it cools.
assembling the cupcakes:
Back to the cupcakes. They should now be cool so you can now cut a section from the middle. I use a serrated knife and like to make a hole about the size of a 2p coin and about 2/3rds of the depth of the cake. Hollow out the cake from the middle and then fill with the cooled lemon curd. Pop the top back onto the cake and set aside. Carry on with the rest of the cakes and then prepare the meringue!
- 200g caster sugar
- 150ml water
- 4 medium egg whites
- To make the meringue start off by placing the sugar and water into a small saucepan. Bring the water to the boil. Meanwhile place the egg white in a clean mixing bowl and using a whisk or freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment, whisk until the whites are just foaming.
- Allow the sugar to boil for 5 to 10 minutes and then increase the mixer speed to a medium speed and pour the sugar slowly onto the egg whites. Once the sugar has been added, increase the speed to high a and whisk until the underside of the bowl feels lukewarm. By now the meringue should have at least doubled in size and have a true white, smooth and shiny finish.
now to top the cupcakes…..
You can either spoon the meringue into a pipping bag with a star nozzle and pipe the meringue onto the cupcakes, or you can use a tablespoon and swirl the meringue onto the cupcake. To finish use a cook’s blowtorch and lightly brown the meringue. If you do not have blowtorch you can place the cupcakes on a baking tray and place under the grill……keep a close eye on them however as they can brown very quickly.