I loooove lemon. Must be the Californian in me, but it's so light and refreshing I just can't get enough of it! For Emmy's birthday this year I made 2 kinds of cupcakes from scratch, lemon and strawberry. The thing about making cupcakes from scratch rather than a box mix is that it really doesn't take that much more work and you get waaaayyy better flavors when you bake from scratch.
Of course, I couldn't leave the recipe alone.
I found a recipe on Pinterest for wonderfully cakey lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. They are amazing, but in my book they needed a little bit more moisture and an extra punch of intense lemon flavor, so I added a lemon curd filling. I had made it before for cookies, and thought it would be perfect as the center for these cupcakes. I also added a bit more lemon flavor to the frosting by increasing the amount of lemon juice it calls for, so I had to add more powdered sugar.
Did I mention I love lemon?
The cupcakes were a hit, so I'm sharing the recipe. You may want to pretend you didn't see how much butter this recipe calls for. Butter makes everything better, right?
- Extra Lemony Lemon Cupcakes -
For the cupcakes:
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
lemon zest from 2 large lemons
8 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
For the lemon curd:
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter
For the frosting:
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
8+ cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
juice of 1 large lemon, plus a little extra to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put cupcake liners in your cupcake tins.
2. Gently stir together the flour, baking soda and salt.
3. Whisk together the milk and egg whites.
4. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl (the one you will mix everything in) and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
5. Add the butter and beat with a paddle attachment or your beaters for 3 minutes, until the mixture is soft and fluffy.
6. Beat in the extracts, then add the dry and wet mixtures alternating, starting with the dry ingredients.
7. Once the ingredients are mixed, beat for 2 minutes. It will start to look puffy. Pour the batter into the tins. I like to use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to fill them about 2/3 full.
8. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Once they have cooled slightly in the pans, remove them to the cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
1. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and set aside.
2. Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan and add butter,
3. Place the pot on the stove over medium low heat and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk and spatula to get into the corners.
4. Once the mixture is the consistency of hot fudge, remove from stove and immediately pour into the strainer to remove all the cooked egg bits. You will need to use the spatula to push it through.
5. Pour the curd into a container, cover it with saran wrap that is touching the top of the curd, and refrigerate until cold and set.
1. Beat the butter, cream cheese and extract together until light and fluffy. Add the lemon juice and beat some more.
2. Slowly add in powdered sugar until you achieve the consistency you want. I like thicker frosting, so I put in more sugar.
3. Put the frosting in a piping bag with a large tip.
1. When the cupcakes are cool, use a paring knife to cut a hole in the center. It should be about as big around as a nickel or quarter. Don't make it too deep or your cupcake will fall apart.
2. Fill the center with about 1 tsp of curd. Keep it just below the top of the cupcake.
3. Pipe a dab of frosting right over the curd, then pipe the rest of the frosting on top in a spiral pattern.
4. Decorate the cupcake! I used yellow candy melts to make little hearts that I topped the cupcakes with.
5. Eat the rest of the curd on the sly so nobody knows you did it. Trust me.