Topped with lemon buttercream frosting and filled with homemade lemon curd, these Lemon Cupcakes are the ultimate spring dessert. Full of that bright, slightly tart citrus flavor, these spring cupcakes are perfect for Easter and other spring occasions.
The Ultimate Lemon Dessert
I’m a huge fan of lemon desserts, especially in the springtime. There’s just something about the slightly tart, slightly sweet flavor that my tastebuds love and, honestly, the bright yellow color just brightens up my day a bit.
These lemon curd cupcakes are a twist on my favorite homemade lemon cake. The same elements are there – lemon buttercream frosting, lemon curd, and perfectly flavored cake but the presentation is different. Instead of lemon curd between layers of cake, the center of these cupcakes is cut open and stuffed with the tangy, creamy filling. Finish it off with some smooth buttercream frosting and a garnish or two and you have a triple lemon dessert guaranteed to impress.
What You’ll Need
This lemon dessert comes together with various forms of lemon and some pantry staples.
For the Cupcakes
- Butter – At room temperature. Unsalted butter is best for baking.
- Eggs – Also at room temperature.
- Milk – Whatever milk you have on hand will work.
- Lemon – You’ll need both the fresh juice and zest of a large lemon for the cupcakes.
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda – Be sure to measure correctly for the best rise.
- Lemon curd – These cupcakes are stuffed with my homemade lemon curd.
For the Frosting
- Butter – At room temperature for a soft and creamy frosting.
- Powdered sugar
- Lemon – For the frosting you’ll need just the juice.
- Decoration – You may want to add additional lemon zest or slices for optional decoration.
What Lemon Curd Should I Use?
While you can purchase lemon curd at the store, I definitely recommend making homemade lemon curd. The taste is so much better that it’s worth the 15 minutes of extra work! If you do choose to go the store-bought route, be sure to find a quality lemon curd as the flavor will make a huge difference in the cupcakes!
How to Make Lemon Cupcakes
Here’s how to make these divine lemon curd cupcakes. Be sure to allow plenty of time for the cupcakes to cool completely!
- Make the cupcake batter. Mix the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and lemon. Sift in the dry ingredients. Fold until just combined.
- Bake. Transfer the batter to your cupcake pan. Each liner should be 2/3 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Cool. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the frosting. Beat the butter until smooth. Gradually sift in the powdered sugar, whisking after each addition. Add the lemon juice and whisk again.
- Fill the cupcakes with lemon curd. Use a knife or piping nozzle to cut a hole in the center of each cupcake. Fill each one with lemon curd.
- Add the frosting. Pipe swirls of frosting on top of each cupcake.
- Decorate. Add a lemon slice and extra lemon zest to each cupcake if desired.
Tips for the BEST Lemon Cupcakes
For perfectly lemony spring cupcakes, keep these tips in mind.
- Use room temperature ingredients. For the best results in making these spring cupcakes, use room temperature ingredients for the cupcakes and the frosting.
- Let the cupcakes cool in the pan first. After you remove them from the oven, let them stay in the pan for 10 minutes or so to cool. This helps ensure they’re perfectly cooked. Then transfer to the cooling rack.
- Don’t cut all the way through the cupcake. When adding the hole for the lemon curd, take care to cut just 2/3 way through the cupcake, not the entire way.
- What nozzle should I use to pipe the frosting? I used a Wilton 1M nozzle but you can use whatever you prefer.
These lemon curd cupcakes are the ultimate spring dessert. These are perfect for the Easter dessert table, Mother’s Day, brunch with friends, or any other spring occasion that can use some cheer.
Be sure to keep these refrigerated until 20 minutes or so before serving and avoid putting the frosting in direct sunlight or in areas that are too warm.
Can I Make These in Advance?
While the cupcakes are best enjoyed within a day or two of assembling them, you can prepare other parts of the cupcakes in advance.
The lemon curd, for example, can be prepared and stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. The frosting, on the other hand, can be prepared 2 days in advance. You will want to whip it again to get the fluffy texture back.
The cupcakes themselves I would recommend making no more than a night in advance.
How to Store Lemon Cupcakes
These lemon cupcakes are best when enjoyed within 2 days. Keep them stored in an airtight container in the fridge, then bring them to room temperature before enjoying.
Can I Freeze These?
Yes, you can also freeze your lemon cupcakes. I prefer to freeze them unfrosted because it’s easiest, though you can freeze the frosting as well. Once they’ve cooled and the curd has been added, wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap then place them in another container or ziploc.
Thaw on the counter and frost before serving.
More Lemon Desserts:
- Strawberry Lemon Bars
- Blender Lemon Pie
- Frosted Lemon Cookies
- Lemon Loaf Cake (Starbucks Copycat)
- Lemon Lavender Cookies
For the Cupcakes
- 2/3 cup butter (at room temperature)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 4 tablespoons milk
- 1 large lemon (zest and juice)
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
For the Filling
- 1/2 cup lemon curd
For the Frosting
- 1 cup butter (at room temperature)
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 large lemon, juice of
For Decoration (Optional)
- extra lemon zest and lemon slices
Make the Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcakes cases.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy.
- Add the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, lemon juice and zest. Beat well to combine.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold everything together until just combined.
- Transfer the mixture to your cupcake cakes. Each case should be approx. 2/3 full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
- Leave the cupcakes in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the Frosting
- Add the butter to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric hand whisk until smooth.
- Gradually sift in the powdered sugar a little at a time, whisking to combine after each addition.
- Once all of the powdered sugar has been incorporated, add the lemon juice and whisk again.
Assemble the Cupcakes:
- Using a small knife or the wide end of a piping nozzle, cut holes into the center of each fully cooled cupcake. The hole should go about ¾ of the way through the cake.
- Use a small spoon to fill the holes to the top with lemon curd.
- Pipe swirls of the lemon frosting on top of each cupcake using a piping bag and nozzle of your choice. I used a Wilton 1M nozzle.
- Finish by adding a small lemon slice and some extra lemon zest on top of each cupcake (optional).