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Lemon Curd Cupcakes

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These are the BEST lemon curd cupcakes! Fluffy and sweet they burst with lemon flavor. They boast a tangy lemon curd filling in the middle, and swirls of luscious lemon curd frosting. For an extra touch, these tender desserts are crowned with a beautiful garnish of fresh lemon wedges.

📌 PIN LEMON FILLED CUPCAKES

Lemon curd cupcakes with a fresh lemon garnish on a small wooden board.

🤩 WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

Make these lemony treats in just 45 minutes.

These lemon filled cupcakes are bright and cheerful. The vanilla cake batter brims with lemony flavor. The lemon frosting is mouthwateringly good. But what makes these treats extra special is the hidden secret in the middle!

After the lemon curd cupcakes are baked and cooled, a small piece of cake in the center is carefully removed. The desserts are filled with a delicious scoop of rich, tangy lemon curd. The removed piece of cake is put back in place, hiding the filling, and luxurious lemon curd frosting is piped on top.

Once these lemony treats are frosted and garnished, it’s impossible to tell that they’ve been filled. It’s a fun surprise when people bite into these hand-held desserts and unexpectedly discover lemon curd in the middle.

Lemon curd cupcake with a bite taken out. Lemon curd is oozing out the center.

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE FASTER

Want a fresh batch of lemon curd cupcakes but there’s not enough time to make them from scratch? Here are some quick easy options for making these lemon desserts halfway homemade.

  • Lemon Cupcakes: Use a store-bought box of super-moist white cake mix. Flavor the cupcake batter with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lemon zest.
  • Lemon Curd Filling: Use a store-bought jar of lemon curd.
  • Lemon Curd Frosting: Buy a store-bought container of rich and creamy lemon frosting. Or pull a container of white buttercream frosting from the pantry. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice, or 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract.

HOW TO MAKE STORE-BOUGHT FROSTING PIPEABLE: For a stiffer more pipeable frosting, add in sifted powdered sugar a little at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

A hand reaching for a lemon cupcake that 's sitting on a wooden board.

🛒 INGREDIENTS

Lemon Curd Cupcakes

  • Whole Milk: This creamy liquid adds moisture to the cupcakes. I prefer whole milk, but you can use 2% if desired.
  • Vegetable Oil: Adds richness and moisture to cupcake batter. It helps make the texture of these lemon curd cupcakes tender and fluffy.
  • Large Eggs: Help bind the ingredients in the batter together and provide structure for the cupcakes.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: Enhances the taste of the ingredients while accentuating lemon flavor and tartness. I prefer Mexican vanilla extract as it gives lemon filled cupcakes a bakery taste and aroma.
  • Granulated Sugar: Adds the perfect amount of sweetness to the batter.
  • All-Purpose Flour: As the primary building block in baking, flour provides structure for the these baked goods. It helps hold the wet ingredients together.
  • Baking Powder: This ingredient helps leaven and add volume to these lemon cupcakes by opening up the crumb of the cake and enlarging the air bubbles within the batter. It delivers a light and tender mouthfeel.
  • Sea Salt: This seasoning enhances the flavor of the other ingredients.
  • Lemon Zest: Provides a bright, vibrant, concentrated lemon flavor for the lemon curd cupcakes.
  • Lemon Curd: This is the delicious filling for lemon filled cupcakes. Make your own at home, or buy a jar at the farmers market. At the grocery store you can find it on a shelf near the honey, jams and jellies.
Ingredients for making lemon filled cupcakes..

🍋 Lemon Curd Frosting

  • Butter: This is the base for our lemon curd frosting. You can use either salted or unsalted butter. After a taste test, you can balance the flavor , if needed, with a tiny pinch of salt. To avoid lumpy frosting, make sure the butter is fully softened before using.
  • Powdered Sugar: Provides both structure and sweetness for frosting. If your sugar has lumps, sift it twice before using. We want our lemon curd frosting beautifully smooth without any lumps.
  • Lemon Curd:This fruity custard has a strong lemon taste that makes this lemon curd frosting irresistible.
  • Lemon Zest: For a refreshing and robust citrus taste.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: This flavor enhancer pairs well with the tangy flavor of lemon. It amplifies the taste. If possible, use “clear” vanilla extract (instead of “amber” colored) to keep the frosting bright.
  • Garnishes: Fresh wedges of lemon, and a lemon sprinkle mix.
Ingredients for lemon curd frosting.

EXPERT TIPS FOR LEMON CURD CUPCAKES

  • For Fluffy Tender Cupcakes: Don’t overmix the cupcake batter. Mix just until ingredients are combined. We want to protect the air bubbles in the batter, not crush them or the lemon cupcakes will have a dense texture. It’s also important to use fresh baking powder (for best potency) to lighten the crumb of the cake.
  • Best Lemon Filling: For vibrant lemon filling with a rich buttery flavor, I make my own with Meyer lemons from my garden and this lemon curd recipe. However, you can save time with store-bought. The best types: Trader Joe’s, Bonne Maman, Tiptree, or Stonewall Kitchen.
  • Lemon Curd Frosting: If your frosting is too tart, mellow it out with a bit more powdered sugar and a tad more vanilla. If your frosting becomes overly sweet, a tiny pinch of salt will tamp down the sweetness.
Fresh batch of lemon curd cupcakes on an upside down metal baking tray.

📖 RECIPE STEPS

Lemon Curd Cupcakes

RECIPE PREP: Adjust oven rack to the center position. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 12-well cupcake pan with paper liners.

  • STEP 1: In a large bowl, whisk to combine milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Add granulated sugar. Whisk until incorporated.
  • STEP 2: Add flour, baking powder, sea salt, and lemon zest to the bowl. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, mix just until no large lumps of flour remain. It’s important not to overmix the batter.
  • STEP 3: Using a metal 1/4 measuring cup, evenly divide the cupcake batter between the 12 prepared wells of the cupcake pan. Fill each with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake 15 to 17 minutes, or until a skewer (cake tester or toothpick) inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • STEP 4: Remove cupcakes from the pan. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once the cupcakes are cool, cut out a small circle of cake (about the size of a quarter) from the center of each. Put the pieces aside and reserve. Fill each hole with lemon curd.
How to make the best lemon filled cupcakes in 4 easy steps.
  • STEP 5: Return cake cut-outs to the top of the cupcakes to cover the lemon filling. We’ve just created the secret compartments!
One dozen lemon-filled cupcakes with top cake pieces put back on to cover lemon curd.

Lemon Curd Frosting

  • STEP 1: Add softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds, or until the butter is smooth and creamy.
  • STEP 2: With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the powdered sugar so it can incorporate smoothly into the butter. Then add in lemon curd, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. With the mixer on high speed, beat 1 to 2 minutes or until the frosting is light and fluffy.
Whipped lemon curd frosting in the metal bowl of a stand mixer.
  • STEP 3: Transfer the lemon curd frosting to a piping bag fitted with your favorite metal tip. Garnish each cupcake with lemon sprinkle mix. Just before serving, add a fresh wedge of lemon on top.
Frosted lemon cupcakes on a metal tray ready to be served.

RECIPE TIP: It’s best to enjoy lemon curd cupcakes on the same day they’re baked and assembled. After that time, the lemon filling will leak into the cake, and the lemon cupcakes will have a wet soggy texture.

Lemon cupcakes on a countertop ready to be served and enjoyed.

👩🏻‍🍳 RECIPE FAQ

These are the most commonly-asked questions when making the BEST lemon curd cupcakes, and the most helpful answers for recipe success.

Best metal tip for piping lemon curd frosting on cupcakes?

I love the light ribbony look of buttercream frosting piped with a Wilton 2D tip. This particular look pairs well with lemon curd frosting because the swirls have a fresh airy feel. But you can use your favorite metal tip.

What’s the best non-fresh garnish for lemon filled cupcakes?

Instead of garnishing cupcakes with fresh lemon wedges, use gummy candies called “lemon fruit slices”. This is an ideal option for treats that will not be served and enjoyed immediately, as it alleviates the concern of juice from fresh lemon wedges possibly dribbling into the frosting.

Do lemon curd cupcakes need to be refrigerated?

Yes, they do. Homemade lemon curd requires refrigeration. Store-bought lemon curd must be refrigerated after opening. As lemon curd cupcakes contain lemon curd, they must be refrigerated.

How to store lemon curd cupcakes?

If making in advance, arrange unfrosted frosted cupcakes inside an airtight container lined with parchment paper. Store in the fridge for up to 2 days. Frost and garnish the treats before serving. If the cupcakes are already frosted, store them in tall airtight container and refrigerate.

Can lemon curd frosting be made in advance?

Yes. Lemon buttercream frosting can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Before using, bring the frosting to room temperature. Then re-whip it briefly to fluff it up.

Unwrapped frosted lemon cupcake on an upside down metal tray.

👨🏻‍🍳 MORE RECIPES with lemon curd

If you love the taste of fresh lemon curd, add these delicious recipes to your collection. Print them for your recipe box. Or pin them to Pinterest for later. Each is a fabulous way to use and enjoy lemon curd.

Lemon filled cupcake with a bite taken out. Lemon curd is dripping out from the middle.

RATE THIS RECIPE ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Flavor testers rated these the BEST lemon curd cupcakes! They loved the light fluffy texture of the lemon cake, and the bright tart flavor of the lemon curd filling. A highlight was the luxurious, creamy lemon curd frosting. They said the fresh lemon garnish was like a beautiful crown on the cake.

If you agree these lemon filled cupcakes are bakery-quality treats, give them a 5-star rating in the comments. Then be a recipe hero. Share it with a friend.

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com
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Lemon curd cupcakes with a fresh lemon garnish on a small wooden board.

Lemon Curd Cupcakes


Description

Our lemon curd cupcakes are sunshiny and sweet, bursting with lemon flavor. They boast a secret lemony filling in the middle, and are topped with luscious swirls of lemon buttercream frosting.


Ingredients

Units Scale

Lemon Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup lemon curd, homemade or store-bought

Lemon Curd Frosting

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon curd
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Lemon Cupcakes

RECIPE PREP: Adjust oven rack to the center position. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 12-well cupcake pan with paper liners.

  1. In a large bowl, whisk to combine milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add granulated sugar. Whisk until incorporated. Add flour, baking powder, sea salt, and lemon zest. Mix just until no large lumps of flour remain. It’s important not to overmix.
  2. Using a metal 1/4 measuring cup, evenly divide the cupcake batter between the 12 prepared wells of the cupcake pan. Fill each with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake 15 to 17 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  3. Remove cupcakes from pan. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Once the cupcakes are cool, cut out a small circle of cake (about the size of a quarter) from the center of each. Put the pieces aside and reserve. Fill each hole with lemon curd. Return cake cut-outs to the top of the cupcakes to cover the filling. 

Lemon Curd Frosting

  1. Add softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds, or until the butter is smooth and creamy.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the powdered sugar so it can incorporate smoothly into the butter. Then add in lemon curd, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. With the mixer on high speed, beat 1 to 2 minutes or until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  3. Transfer the lemon curd frosting to a piping bag fitted with your favorite metal tip. Garnish each cupcake with lemon sprinkle mix. Just before serving, add a fresh wedge of lemon on top.

Notes

BEST METAL TIP FOR FROSTING THESE CUPCAKES: I love the light ribbony look of buttercream frosting piped with a Wilton 2D tip. And this particular look pairs well with lemon curd frosting because the swirls have a fresh airy feel. But feel free to use your favorite metal tip.

PIPING BAG: If you don’t have a piping bag on hand to frost the cupcakes, use a large zip-top bag. With scissors, slice off a very small piece of one of the bottom corners. 

  • Prep Time: 25 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Lemon Curd Cupcakes, Lemon Cupcakes, Lemon Filled Cupcakes, Lemon Curd Frosting

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

👉🏻 Lemon Curd Cupcakes > join the conversation

Did you love learning how easy it is to make a batch of lemon filled cupcakes? On which occasions would you love to serve these little desserts? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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