Even though I don’t like to feel ruled by what is “in season,” sometimes I can’t help but embrace it. Winter citrus feels like a gift from Mother Nature to bring some sunshine to the dreary cold months. When it never really gets bright out, and I’m in the wintery doldrums, something bright, sunny and tangy seems like the perfect thing.
I’ve been dying to make these cupcakes for ages. Given that I just adore lemon meringue pie, these seemed right up my alley. It always appeared that I was one or two kitchen tools short to sucessfully attempt these. Even when I got a kitchen torch for toasting the meringue, I didn’t think I’d have much luck with 7-minute frosting without a stand mixer. So- now that the citrus is plentiful, and my kitchen tools are fully stocked, it seemed like just the time to try them!
I’ve made versions of this buttermilk-lemon cake before, and its wonderful. After that, a tart lemon curd is slathered on top and they are frosted with a fluffy, cloud-like 7 minute frosting. A little toasting from a kitchen torch adds that perfect touch reminiscient of the classic pie. If you want an over-the-top lemon flavor, core a little bit of the cake out and fill the cakes with lemon curd as well. I liked both variations, depending on how much lip-puckering tartness I feel like.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in zest and vanilla.
Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and lemon juice, and beating until just combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
To finish, spread or fill lemon curd onto/into the middle of each cupcake. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star tip with frosting. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake, swirling tip slightly and releasing as you pull up to form a peak. Hold a small kitchen torch 3 to 4 inches from surface of frosting, and wave it back and forth until frosting is lightly browned all over. Serve immediately.
Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan; whisk to combine.
Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (be sure to scrape the sides of the pan), until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 8 to 10 minutes, and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove saucepan from heat. Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth.
Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
Combine 3/4 cup sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230 degrees.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, beating to combine.
As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees, remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.
The recipe makes a little extra lemon curd but I always find a use for it! Also this will allow you to fill and top each cupcake if you so desire.
While the cupcakes and curd can be made days in advance, the frosting needs to be used right away or it gets hard. I suggest doing everything else ahead of time, but not making the frosting and assembling the cupcakes until when you're ready to serve!
Serving Size: 1 grams Amount Per Serving:Unsaturated Fat: 0g
Did you make this recipe?
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recipe adapted slightly from: martha stewart cupcakes
These look absolutely gorgeous! I adore lemon meringue pie, and the contrast between the tart curd and sweet frosting sounds delicious!
I love citrus in the winter and these are seriously gorgeous Audra! Lemon curd is like kryptonite to me, I could take a spoon to an entire jar of that stuff :)
These might end up my new fav….LOVE lemon meringue!!
Those cupcakes looks wonderful!!!! Can you tell me what tip you used to decorate the frosting?
Lemon desserts are my favorite!
These are GORGEOUS!!!
Hey Diane! I used Ateco 836- which is just a large star tip! :)
Those are gorgeous and look delicious! I love lemon.
I think this is the prettiest picture you’ve ever had on the blog! They look delectable.
Oh I love the look of that lemon curd running down the sides! This looks amazing and refreshing :)
These really are so delicious – like the best cupcake and the best pie in one! I’m glad you made them in the winter!
They look fabulous Audra.
What a gorgeous hit of sunshine in this cold weather! Love the little toasted tops.
Oh yes! I remember when you made these! :)
Aw thanks Erica! I find that when I have such a pretty subject as these cupcakes, it’s hard to not make the picture look good :) xo
Lemon meringue is my absolute favorite pie. I am sure it translates beautifully into cupcake form. Gotta try this once I get a kitchen torch…
these are so beautiful. i love the amount of lemon curd coating these!
I am OBSESSED with cupcakes and I’ve come to really love lemon flavored baked goods, so these look absolutely delicious. Thanks so much for sharing!!
-Jessica (Sew In Love)
Went to heaven and came back with this cupcakes!! They were like lemon pie in one bite.
I made them for my boyfriends birthday party and they were a huge hit! I did some little modifications in the recipe but use yours as base.
Thanks for sharing this and all your recipes!!
Yay I’m so glad they turned out well for you! :)
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Why do the ingredients in the seven minute frosting say to use 3/4 cup of sugar and in the directions it says to add 1 1/2 cups of sugar to the saucepan? Are you doubling the recipe and did not specify? It would be nice to know so we can double everything else as well.
I actually halved the recipe, but seemed to miss that quantity. Thanks for letting me know- I edit my own posts but sometimes to miss things.
This recipe sounds amazing. How many cupcakes does it make?
Oops! Not sure how I missed including that- this makes one dozen cupcakes! :)