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Lemon Cupcakes

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Lemon Cupcakes filled with lemon curd and topped with lemon buttercream frosting. These Lemon filled cupcakes remind me of lemon drop candies, so sweet and tangy!

Lemon Cupcakes topped with lemon frosting and a tiny lemon piece on top.

Lemon cupcakes are one of my absolute favorite cupcake flavors. I’m a huge fan of lemon desserts as it is. But when you take a lemon cupcake, fill it with lemon curd, and top it with lemon buttercream, you have the ultimate spring dessert.

These cupcakes just make me so happy!

The cupcake part is actually my favorite cupcake recipe. I use a variation of it for almost all the cupcakes on the blog.

My lemon lime cupcakes and vanilla cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting are just a couple examples of that.

The texture of these cupcakes is so light, airy, moist, and springy. My taste testers said they remind them of angel food cake with how light they are.

So, if you are looking for a fantastic cupcake base, this is the one!

Why this Lemon Cupcakes recipe works

  • It has the perfect balance between sweet and tangy!
  • The cupcake is delicate without being too soft! It’s able to stand up against the homemade lemon curd and buttercream frosting.
  • The frosting is perfect on its own and reminds me of lemon candy. It’s so good!
Lemon cupcake batter in a muffin pan lined with cupcake liners.

How to make lemon cupcakes with lemon curd filling

There’s nothing fancy about the cupcake batter. It’s a simple mix of creamed butter, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, milk, and flour. A little salt and baking powder are also added. The batter whips up into a silky, creamy texture that smells of fresh lemon.

It’s quite amazing and I know you will love it after the first bite.

There’s just enough batter for 12 muffin cups so you can simply divide the batter evenly among the cups. They’ll end up being about ⅔ of the way full.

After the cupcakes bake, they get filled with a sweet and tangy homemade lemon curd. This part is totally optional but I highly recommend it.

Top the filled cupcake with silky lemon buttercream frosting.

lemon cupcakes with lemon curd filling.

How to make lemon frosting for cupcakes

Lemon buttercream starts with my basic buttercream frosting recipe. It’s modified slightly so you get the silkiest, fragrant lemon frosting for 12 cupcakes.

Start by creaming the butter until it’s super smooth. Then add a pinch of salt and ⅓ of the confectioners’ sugar. Whip it until it comes together.

Add the zest and gradually beat in the remaining sugar. Slowly add the lemon juice and whip until you have a fluffy, smooth frosting.

Lemon cupcakes with lemon frosting on a gray marble platter.

Tips for lemon cupcake success

  • When measuring your flour, don’t scoop it out of the container with the measuring cup. Instead, use the spoon and level method or simply weigh it.
  • When creaming the butter and sugar together for the cupcakes, it’s important to let it mix for at least 5 minutes. You can mix for up to 10, though! This ensures the cupcakes will have a light and fluffy texture.
  • I highly recommend making the lemon curd yourself! Storebought lemon curds can be too sweet or too tart. My recipe is balanced just right and works well with the cupcakes.

If you love these cupcakes, you’ll also enjoy these other lemon recipes

  1. Lemon Chess Pie
  2. Lemon Raspberry Cake
  3. Strawberry Donuts with Lemon Glaze
  4. Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake
  5. Coconut Lemon Bars
  6. Lemon Cream Cheese Scones

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Lemon cupcakes with lemon frosting on a gray marble platter.

Lemon Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Lemon Cupcakes filled with lemon curd and topped with lemon buttercream frosting. These Lemon filled cupcakes remind me of lemon drop candies, so sweet and tangy!

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, about 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice, about 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups (195 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (169 g) homemade lemon curd, or you can use store-bought

For the frosting

  • 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ½ cups (420 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, about 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, about 1 lemon

Instructions

Make the cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla.
  3. In a small measuring cup with a pour spout, stir together the lemon juice and milk. Set aside.
  4. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir with a whisk and add it to the butter mixture alternately with the milk mixture, beating well after each addition.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few dry crumbs. 
  6. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. Cut the centers out of the of each cupcake and fill the cavity with 1 tablespoon of lemon curd. Frost the cupcakes any way you like.

Make the frosting

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with an electric hand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth. 
  2. Add the salt and continue to beat until incorporated. Add 1 cup of the confectioner's sugar, beat on medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened. 
  3. Beat in the lemon zest. Gradually add in the remaining sugar, one cup at a time. You may need more or less depending on how soft the butter is. Beat on medium-low speed until the sugar is moistened. 
  4. Add the 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice depending on how creamy you want the frosting to be. Turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Notes

Make ahead tip

  1. The cupcakes can be made 1 day in advance. Cover and store them at room temperature. 
  2. The frosting can also be made a day ahead. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 
  3. Store frosted cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. 
  4. Cupcakes can also be frozen for up to 3 months, frosted or unfrosted. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 cupcake
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 508Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 173mgCarbohydrates: 67gFiber: 1gSugar: 52gProtein: 4g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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