Creating this lemon meringue cupcake recipe
My mom and I have a thing for lemon curd. We eat it by the spoonful. On top of yogurt, on toast… and don’t even get me started on lemon meringue pie.
This weekend I was craving some lemon meringue pie, but didn’t want to commit to a whole pie. Instead I remembered a similar recipe I had done years ago that put lemon curd in the middle of a cupcake. I decided to revamp the recipe, and voilà! Lemon Meringue Cupcakes 2.0 were born.
The cupcake is so fluffy and soft that, as I stood in the kitchen eating a test cupcake, I shouted “It’s like it’s from a box!” The meringue is at least 2 inches high at its peak, which leads to some pretty cute frosting faces. And the lemon curd. Ohhh the lemon curd. So creamy, so tangy, and so delicious. Like biting into summer.
Now, I suggest that you don’t double the lemon curd recipe like I did, or else you may find yourself eating lemon curd out of the jar. Or do, because it’s fantastic lemon curd.
Tips for making lemon meringue cupcakes
Use large or regular cupcake tins — I used HUGE cupcake tins for these lemon meringue cupcakes, but if you only have regular cupcake tins that’s okay! You can probably squeeze 12 regular-sized cupcakes out of this recipe, but you’ll want to check them after 18 or so minutes in the oven.
Fill the cupcakes once cool — Let the cupcakes cool completely to room temperature before stuffing them with lemon curd. The curd should also be chilled when you add it into the cupcake, otherwise it won’t sit right inside the cupcake.
Use a melon baller to scoop out the middle — A paring knife and spoon will work fine to remove the centers of the cupcake, but a small melon baller is even better. Just remember to save the top of the cupcake to put back on top of the lemon curd center.
Watch the meringue like a hawk — After you top the cupcakes with meringue, pop them under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top. DO NOT walk away from the oven while you’re doing this! The meringue can easily burn, and you should pull it out as soon as it’s golden brown.
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
- Yield: 7 cupcakes 1x
For the cupcakes
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
For the lemon curd
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter
For the meringue
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake tray with 7 extra large cupcake molds.*
- In a large bowl using a whisk, mix the butter and sugar util light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in eggs and vanilla extract, mixing until combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Alternate mixing in the flour and the buttermilk until everything comes together. Do not overmix.
- Using a 1/4 cup scoop, scoop two scoops of batter into each cupcake mold. Tap the cupcake tray against a solid surface to even out the cupcake batter’s surface. Place in oven and bake for 27 minutes, until the tops of the cupcakes are golden around the edges and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cupcake.** Allow to cool to room temperature before assembling.
- While the cupcakes are baking, make the lemon curd. Create a double boiler and, in the top bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar. Whisk constantly over medium high heat for 6-7 minutes, until the curd becomes thick and coats the back of a spoon. Immediately remove from heat and whisk in butter until beautiful and glossy!
- Strain the curd through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps, then place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in fridge until you’re ready to assemble your cupcakes.
- Using a small sharp knife, cut a 1 inch diameter conical hole into the top of the cupcakes. Scoop as much cupcake out as you’d like, depending on how much curd you want (I created a pretty wide and deep hole). Cut the top off of the cone and save it as a lid for the cupcake. Scoop 1-2 tablespoons of lemon curd into the center of the cupcake, then top with the cupcake lid. Repeat with all cupcakes.
- Now make the meringue! In a standing mixer, whip the egg whites until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Slowly add in the sugar and vanilla extract, and continue to whip until the meringue holds stiff peaks.
- Scoop the meringue on top of the filled cupcakes, using a large spoon to create pretty folds in the meringue. Remove the top rack from your oven and place meringues under the broiler on high for 2-4 minutes, turning halfway for even baking. I didn’t move away from the oven, as the meringues can burn in 2 seconds! Just watch them like a hawk. Allow the tops to cool to room temperature before serving.
*I used HUGE cupcake molds. If you only have regular sized ones, you will end up with more than 7 cupcakes. Probably around 12.
**If using regular sized cupcake molds, this number will be shorter. Check them after 18 minutes.