I can’t count the number of times I have written about lemon bars. The ease of making them originally, the failures of the middle years and finally the adoption of a new recipe to just forge my own lemon bar making path.
Most recently I made some much praised lemon raspberry bars and have chosen to continue using that recipe. Most recently when I made them, I didn’t have raspberries on hand so I skipped that step… but following the recipe otherwise, it all turned out beautifully and the lemon bars were once more one of the most popular things.
Once baked and cooled, I used a handy-dandy “cupcake holer” tool to make uniform holes, which I filled with dulce de leche/caramel (made by mixing a can of prepared dulce de leche with about a half tablespoon of milk, just to make the filling slightly less thick).
Then I made some Swiss meringue buttercream and flavored it with vanilla bean powder and two tablespoons of Kahlua.
Decorated with sprinkles I had had for too long (don’t like to keep stuff like that just sitting around).
Filling process for filled cupcakes
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder (two or three packets of Starbucks VIA instant espresso powder)
Preheat oven to 175C. Mix all ingredients together. Put into cupcake papers in a cupcake pan. Bake 16 to 19 minutes until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Turn the pan around once in the middle of baking for a more even bake.
When done, remove from oven, place on a rack and cool for a few minutes before removing the cupcakes from the pan onto their own cooling rack to cool completely.
Caramel/dulce de leche filling
Use a prepared can of dulce de leche and put it in a bowl, mix together with a half tablespoon of milk to achieve a slightly less thick consistency.
When cupcakes are fully cooled, use a knife or a cupcake holer tool to remove the middle of the cupcake and fill each hole with caramel. Reserve the very top of the cupcake when you cut the middle out. Place the tops back onto the filled cupcakes.
Kahlua Swiss meringue frosting
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3 to 4 tablespoons Kahlua
(vanilla bean powder, if desired)
Over a double boiler, whisk egg whites and sugar. When sugar is dissolved, transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer – beat with the whip attachment until soft to medium peaks form. Switch to paddle attachment, start beating and adding in the butter a few tablespoons at a time. Once you have a frosting-like texture (which can take a long while – the mixture will possibly look curdled, like it cannot possibly come together, at some point, but it will come together – just keep beating), add the vanilla powder. When nearly ready, add the Kahlua and mix until well-combined.