2 tablespoons lemon zest (from approx. 2 large lemons)
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 jar lemon curd
1 tablespoon cornstarch
⅓ cup cool water
6 large egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
½ cup water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
Sift together cake flour, all purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and lemon zest until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg thoroughly, followed by vanilla. Alternate milk and flour in three additions, ending with flour. Evenly distribute in prepared pan.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, fill a metal-tipped pastry bag with the lemon curd and pipe into cupcakes. Poke the tip of the pasty bag about ½-1 inch into the top of each cupcake and squeeze about 2 tsp lemon curd into it.
Add ⅓ cup of water and the cornstarch to a small saucepan, place it over medium heat and stir with a whisk steadily until think and cloudy. Set aside.
In a mixer with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form when the beater is lifted. Add in ¼ cup of sugar and continue to beat
In a heavy saucepan, stir together the remaining 1¾ cups of sugar, the corn syrup, and ½ cup of water. Bring to a boil, and rinse down the sides of the pan with water on a pastry brush. Attach a candy thermometer to the saucepan, and continue to boil the syrup until it reaches 248 degrees F (hard-ball stage).
Continue beating the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Ideally, have the whites stiff when the syrup reaches 248 degrees F. Rinse a 2-cup heat proof glass measuring cup with a spout with the hottest tap water and dry well.
When the syrup reaches the hard-ball stage, carefully pour the syrup into the glass cup. Drizzle the hot sugar syrup into the meringue while beating on medium speed.
Try to avoid drizzling the syrup on the beaters or the sides of the bowl. The meringue will swell dramatically and fill the whole bowl.
Beat until the meringue has cooled, about 10 to 13 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and salt, then beat in a bout 3 tablespoons of the reserve cornstarch paste, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Spread the meringue on the cupcakes, and with a fork lightly tap and lift to form peaks.
I browned mine with a blowtorch, but you can also place the cupcakes on a baking sheet under the broiler for about 3 minutes until lightly browned.