A recipe for perfect vanilla cupcakes stuffed with lemon curd and topped with lemon buttercream. Heaven in every bite!
More lemons today for you my dears! This recipe features the lightest and most perfect vanilla cupcake recipe I’ve ever tasted. Seriously. And they are so easy to make! No ‘room temperature eggs’ or fancy ingredients. They are my new favorite thing and I’m going to make them again and again.
This tasty tabula rasa of a cupcake is stuffed with silky lemon curd and topped with a light and slightly tart lemon buttercream. The combination of the three components is absolute perfection.
To frost them, I used an extra large closed star tip to pipe a single ring around each cupcake. If you want more lemon, you could even spoon a bit of extra curd in the center. Or spoon an extra bit into your mouth, ifyouknowwhatimean.
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- 1½ cup (150 g) cake flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick) at room temp
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup milk
- ⅓ cup lemon juice, about 2 lemons
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch table salt
- ½ cup egg whites (about 3 large eggs)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Combine the dry ingredients. Beat in the butter on medium low. The mixture should resemble coarse sand. Beat in the sugar on low.
- Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and milk. Mix until just combined.
- Using an ice cream scoop or a spoon, pour into lined cupcake pan until ⅔ full.
- Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
- Heat lemon juice over medium heat until hot but not boiling.
- Meanwhile, whisk eggs and yolk in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the sugar. While whisking, slowly pour hot lemon juice into the eggs. Return to saucepan and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture registers 170 degrees and coats the back of a spoon.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in butter. Once melted, stir in cream, vanilla, and salt.
- For a more even texture, strain mixture through a fine-mesh strainer (optional). Curd is able to be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks, just cover with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
- Bring a medium pot filled with one inch of simmering water to a boil. Place the egg whites and sugar in a stainless-steel bowl (like a stand mixer bowl). Use a whisk to beat the mixture until very hot (about 160F).
- Remove from heat and mix with the whisk attachment on high until it is cool, thick and glossy and has tripled in volume, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce speed to medium and add butter a few pieces at a time. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and continue to beat until smooth and fluffy.
- Use an apple corer to gently hollow out the center of each cupcake, not going through the whole depth of the cupcake.
- Spoon lemon curd into each cupcake. I like using an espresso spoon for this part!
- Use an extra large closed star frosting tip to pipe a rosette on each cupcake. If you want, you can leave a space in the center and fill it with more lemon curd. Finish with a sprinkle of coarse sugar.
Here’s how I set up the shot. The lighting is from the left side of the photo and I used a collapsible light reflector from the right to decrease the shadows (not picture). The board is from a flea market, but I ended up changing my mind about what I wanted and didn’t really use it. I used a linen tea towel that is also from a flea market. The pretty marble and wood board is from Williams-Sonoma. I like it because it has a matte finish and I don’t have to worry about glare or shine. The little marble hexagon tiles are meant to be tiles but I had them on hand for an upcoming DIY.
P.S. – Looking for more lemon recipes? Here are some of my faves: