Ingredients (for 12 cupcakes):
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (sunflower or canola)
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 small pinch of salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract ( you can use one teaspoon, I love vanilla and tend to exaggerate )
6 ripe fresh apricots, pitted, cut in half.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C)
Line your cupcake pan with your favorite cupcake liners.
1. Separate the eggs, putting the egg whites in the clean (wipe the bowl with a paper towel and lemon juice or vinegar to remove any fat traces) bowl of your electric mixer (don't use plastic bowls, use glass, stainless steel, copper or ceramic ones) and the egg yolks in another bowl.
2. Start beating the egg whites, on low for 30 seconds, then on medium-high for about 3-4 minutes, or until soft peaks form.
3. Gradually add the sugar, and beat another 2 minutes or so, until it gets stiff and glossy.
4. Whisk the egg yolks with the vegetable oil well, then add to this the vanilla extract and mix.
5. Add the egg yolk mixture over the beaten egg whites, and using a spatula or wooden spoon fold in, slowly.
6. Sift over the eggs the flour, salt and baking powder. Fold in carefully, just until combined.
The batter should be fluffy but not runny, should keep it's shape, like in the photo bellow.
7. With the help of an ice cream scoop or spoon, fill the cupcake liners with the batter, up to half of the height.
8. Place over the batter half of apricot
9. Cover the apricot with another spoon of batter. In the end the cupcakes should be filled up to two thirds.
10. Bake cupcakes on the middle rack of the oven for 17-20 minutes, depending on your oven, until puffed up and golden on top.
11. Carefully take the pan out of the oven, and let the cupcakes cool on a cooling rack.
Make the meringue frosting:
1 cup egg whites (egg whites from 4-5 eggs)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use Tahitian vanilla extract for this)
1 teaspoon lemon juice or almond extract (you can also skip this all together)
Gel food coloring of your choice (I used Americolor soft gel food coloring in color Peach, 3 tiny drops)
1. Put a medium sauce pan with some water on heat to get to a simmer.
2. In the clean bowl of your mixer add the egg whites and sugar, and place the bowl over the simmering pot, taking care that it does not touch the water and fits snugly.
3. With a clean hand whisk beat slowly but constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved, and the mixture is hot to the touch. It should take 5-7 minutes. To be more precise use a candy thermometer, and take them off the heat when they reach 140 degrees F.
4. Place the bowl on the mixer,after wiping the bottom dry and using the whisk attachment beat them on medium speed until soft peaks form, and the bowl cools down. You can also do this by hand, it does not take too long.
5. Add the lemon juice (or almond extract if you wish), vanilla extract and food coloring. Careful to add the food coloring drop by drop, not too much at once, to make sure you get the desired hue. If you want a deeper color you can always add more later. The food coloring is pretty strong, and very little is needed. Beat everything on medium high for couple more minutes, until glossy and stiff peaks form. It is important not to over beat it, as it will start to look grainy, and will be hard to pipe and of course not look as good.
6. Fill a piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice, with the meringue, making sure there are no air bubble left. This is kind of tricky, but it is worth taking care of if you want the frosting to look as perfect as possible. I used a big simple round piping tip to achieve this classic look.
This meringue frosting is best used immediately, so be sure to start making it right before you will use it. Also it is best eaten the same day, as it does not keep well. (maybe one night in the fridge won't ruin it though, but it won't be as good). The best part of this frosting is that it is pure white, and it makes so much easier coloring it in pale pastel hues, and the colors stay true. It is also very easy to handle and frost/pipe it on your desserts.
To make my cupcakes fabulous I decorated them with edible golden stars.
So, what do you think?