Sweet tart. [Photograph: María del Mar Sacasa]

The holidays are over but I'm still in Miami, lounging on the balcony, enjoying a view of deep azure ocean and lazily swaying palm trees. It's been salt-rimmed margaritas and Fred Flintstone-sized crab claws, fresh ceviche wading in shallow pools of tart lime juice, and conversations seasoned with saucy inverted exclamation points. In this briny breeze it's difficult to think of warm spices, thick custards, and cakes made moody with ruby-tinted spirits. I'm decidedly drawn to lively colors and flavors that flirt daintily rather than dwell and brood on my palate.

A perky cupcake with sunny personality is the perfect mid-afternoon bite in this clime. This particular lemon meringue treat takes a cue from the classic icebox pie. The zesty cake gets a spring in its step with a vibrant lemon curd filling and a jaunty meringue bouffant with a toasty touch that mirrors the sun-kissed tan of all those pretty girls in tropical bikinis laying out by the crystalline swimming pool.

Even if you're bundled up and listening to the wind that howls and cries hauntingly beneath a slate gray sky, you can nibble on this sunny dessert and break away from the winter of your discontent.

Get the Recipe

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes »

About the author: María del Mar Sacasa is a recipe developer, food stylist, and author of the food blog High Heels & Frijoles. Behind her girly façade lurks a truck driver's appetite. Read about her cravings and suffer through her occasional rants on Twitter @HHandFrijoles.


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