Lemon Raspberry Teacup Cakes

For the cupcakes:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites, room temperature
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Zest from 2 lemons
4 ounces butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For assembly:
1 cup raspberry jam
1 1/2 cups lemon curd

For the meringue:
8 egg whites, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt

To Make the Cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Set 14 8-ounce oven-safe teacups or ramekins on a baking sheet and spray them lightly with nonstick cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg whites and buttermilk.

In the bowl of a large stand mixer, combine the sugar and lemon zest and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter to the sugar mixture and cream together until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Mix in the lemon and vanilla extracts. With the mixer running on low, add a third of the flour mixture, then when just a few streaks of flour remain, add half of the buttermilk mixture. Continue to alternate the wet and dry ingredients. When everything is added, finish by scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Divide the batter between the teacups, filling them about half full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until the tops spring back lightly when pressed with a finger. Cool completely before assembling.

For Assembly:
Use a paring knife to cut a cone shape from the middle of each cupcake. Fill the hole in the cupcake with a spoonful of raspberry jam. Cut off the bottom part of each cone, and pop the top of the cupcake back on. Spread a layer of lemon curd on top of each cupcake.

For the Meringue:
Combine the egg whites and the granulated sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer and whisk them together. Fill a small saucepan with an inch of water and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan on the stove and whisk frequently while the egg whites heat up. Continue to cook and whisk until the whites are hot to the touch, then transfer the mixing bowl to your mixer.

Beat the whites on medium-high speed with a whisk attachment for 8-10 minutes. When they are done they should be shiny, white and voluminous and hold stiff peaks. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix.

Top each cupcake with a big, tall scoop of meringue and smooth it to the edges so that the lemon curd is entirely covered. Use a kitchen torch to toast the meringue to an even golden brown color. Alternately, place the cups on a baking sheet and put them under the oven broiler for about 1 minute, carefully monitoring them so they don’t burn. These cupcakes are best enjoyed soon after they are made so that the meringue is light, fluffy and crispy on the outside.