Preheat the oven to 170C/350F and line a 12 count muffin tin with cupcake liners
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarb and salt into a bowl and whisk together to combine and remove any lumps. Set aside
Put the egg yolks, buttermilk and vanilla in another mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside
Put the egg whites into a clean bowl, and whip until soft peaks form (egg whites hold their shape, but "peaks" folder over when whisk lifted out) - stand mixer with whisk attachment or handheld electric beater are the easiest way to do this.
Pour the flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture and whisk to combine, until smooth and no lumps.
Spoon 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the batter and use a metal spoon to fold in. Add the remaining whites and use the metal spoon to gently fold until fully combined.
Spoon into cupcake liners, until 3/4 full. Remaining batter will be used for the mini pancakes.
Bake for 26-30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. The cupcakes will crack on top so don't worry
Cool in tin for 5 mins then turn out onto wire rack and spoon 1-2 tsp of syrup over the top while they are still warm (you can make the syrup while cupcakes are baking).
To make the syrup:
While the cupcakes are baking, put the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Reduce to a simmer and remove 3 tbsp of syrup into a small heatproof bowl. Add the the 2 tbsp cornflour and stir to combine. Pour mixture back into syrup.
Simmer for another 5 minutes, then remove from heat and leave to cool completely. You can spoon onto cupcakes while it is still warm/hot
To make the mini pancakes:
You can make these while the cupcakes are baking and alongside syrup (just be sure to keep eye on pancakes at all time, they cook very quickly)
Heat a griddle or non-stick frying pan to a medium heat
Using the remaining cupcake batter, spoon 1/2 tbsp of batter into the hot griddle/pan and cook for approx 30 seconds, until bubbles start to form. Flip and cook for about 20 seconds or so.
Repeat until batter is used up. I recommend only cooking no more than 3 pancakes at a time or you risk burning them since they're so tiny. Leave to cool.
To make the frosting:
Put the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric beater) and beat the butter on medium-high until creamy and very pale - will take 5-10 minutes, beat for a minimum of 5 minutes.
Add the icing sugar and beat on lowest speed to combine. Add 4 tbsp lemon juice and turn up to medium high speed. Add the other 1tbsp lemon juice if mixture is still thick. I used the full 5 tbsp, but you may not need to.
Beat for 3-5 more minutes, until fluffy.
To assemble cupcakes:
Spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with star tip. Pipe tall swirls on top. (if you don't have a star piping tip, you can just snip off the end)
Place 2-3 mini pancakes on top of the swirl, press in a little.
Drizzle with about 1-2 tsp of the lemon syrup when ready to serve.
Store in airtight container in fridge for 3 days. Bring back to room temperature before eating.
*Use store bought buttermilk or easily make your own at home by adding 1.5 tbsp of white wine vinegar or lemon juice to your jug, and topping up to recipe amount with regular milk. Whisk together and leave to sit for 5 minutes.
Recipe by A Tipsy Giraffe at https://www.atipsygiraffe.com/pancake-cupcakes/