These light and fluffy fresh lemon cupcakes are filled with bright, tart lemon curd and topped with a rich, creamy vanilla frosting.
When you think of cupcakes, your mind may first go to chocolate. Or maybe even strawberry or vanilla. But…today we’re all about lemon. I love lemon, so lemon to me is mouth-puckering, eye-scrunching lemon.
Whether you’re like me and like intense lemon…or something with just a slight lemon flavor, this homemade lemon cupcake recipe is for you. We’ll give you hints for both!
What you’ll love about these Fresh Lemon Cupcakes:
- a fluffy, moist, lemon-scented cake with lemon zest
- lemon curd filling
- options for shortcuts or 100% from scratch
- lemon or vanilla frosting
- makes a small batch (only 12 cupcakes!)
Lemon Curd Filled Cupcakes
To inject a more concentrated lemon flavor, we filled the cupcake with a bright, tart lemon curd. We used a store bought lemon curd to keep it easy for summer. However, lemon curd is so quick to make! The lemon curd recipe we used is such a simple recipe. Only about 25 minutes and you’ll have amazing lemon curd. And you can even make it in advance for all of your lemon cravings. You can find our recipe here.
How to Make Fresh Lemon Cupcakes
- Prepare. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a standard 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
- Mix dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt.
- Mix wet ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the butter and oil. Whisk in the sugar. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Mix until just combined. Add the vanilla and lemon zest. Mix to combined.
- Combine. Add the flour mixture and milk alternating between the two in three additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
- Bake. Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full. Bake for about 20 to 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
How to Fill Cupcakes
Using a sharp paring knife, cut a circle that’s about 1-inch in diameter at the top of each cupcake. Remove the cut piece, and fill with 1-2 teaspoons of lemon curd. Replace the top of the cupcake over the lemon filling.
Then use a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (such as Wilton 1M or 2D), pipe the frosting on the cupcakes. This frosting recipe makes enough to pipe large swirls on 12 cupcakes.
Frosting for Lemon Cupcakes
There are two options for frosting these cupcakes. You can use lemon extract (and even lemon zest) for an intense lemon flavored cupcake.
To curb some of the strong lemon curd in the filling, you can use a simple vanilla frosting (which is a family favorite). The vanilla extract rather than lemon extract will help calm the lemon flavor.
How to Store Cupcakes
These cupcakes will be safe to store at room temperature for 48 hours. Store in an airtight container. If you still have some left after that, refrigerate the cupcakes or freeze them.
Fresh Lemon Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
- 1 1/2 cups plus 1/8 cup cake flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted and slightly cooled)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2/3 cup milk (at room temperature)
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup lemon curd
For the Vanilla Frosting:
- 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon extract
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon cream or whole milk
For the Lemon Scented Cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a standard 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a large bowl, combine the butter and oil.
- Whisk in the sugar.
- Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Mix until just combined.
- Add the vanilla and lemon zest. Mix to combined.
- Add the flour mixture and milk alternating between the two in three additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
- Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full.
- Bake for about 20 to 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes. Remove the cupcakes and allow them to cool completely before assembling.
For the Vanilla Frosting:
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the lemon extract and salt. Mix until combined.
- Add the cream and beat until fluffy.
To Assemble the Cupcakes:
- Using a sharp paring knife, cut a circle that's about 1-inch in diameter at the top of each cupcake. Remove the cut piece, and fill with 1-2 teaspoons of lemon curd. Replace the top of the cupcake over the lemon filling.
- Using a piping bag fitted with a large round tip, pipe the frosting on the cake.