These Lemon Meringue Cupcakes are the ultimate cupcakes with the perfect balance between tangy and sweet! Classic vanilla cupcakes filled with a buttery, luscious lemon curd, and topped with a smooth Swiss meringue frosting. This is what citrus season is all about!
The Most Luscious Lemon Curd
For these lemon meringue cupcakes you can use whatever lemon curd you have, even store bought is fine. But did you know that making your own lemon curd is super easy? All you need is a handful of ingredients, a bowl, a pot and a few utensils and 30 minutes! Most likely you should have all the ingredients at hand.
Making your own is so much better. Click the picture to get straight to my lemon curd recipe. It is so smooth, buttery and perfectly lemony! I've used lemon curd in these recipes in the past:
- Fresh Strawberry Cake with Lemon Curd
- Lemon Curd Filled Pavlova Nests with Blackberry Sauce
- Lemon Curd and Red Currants Brûlée Tarts
But you can use it pretty much everywhere butter and lemon would be tasty, and when isn't that the case?
If you want a fun variation on these cupcakes, why not try mango lime curd instead?
How to Make Swiss Meringue (Marshmallow Frosting)
Many are intimidated by making Swiss meringue, or heated meringue on the stove. I hear you, because I usually make French meringue, which is uncooked. Absolutely great when making pavlova. I choose Swiss here because it is more stable and perfect for a frosting. And just look at the glorious consistency - delicious and light marshmallowy frosting that actually can be piled high (unlike regular buttercream frostings where less is more).
And guess what? It is really easy, it's just one extra step!
In a clean, grease-free metal or glass bowl, add egg whites, sugar and salt. Over a double boiler, let the mixture melt while stirring - about 4-6 minutes (1). I like to use the bowl of the stand mixer.
A double boileris a pot with an inch or so simmering water, placing a larger bowl on top of this pot. Now the simmering water will heat the bowl on top, giving a more gentle warm-up, so it's important that the mixture isn't boiling. It's also important that the larger bowl is so large so that the water doesn't escape and goes into the egg whites (same when melting chocolate!).
The mixture is properly melted when you can't feel any grains of sugar between your (clean) fingers (2). Now place the bowl back into the stand mixer and mix on medium low for 2 minutes, until frothy. Gradually increase the speed to high, for about 5 minutes. The bowl should be cold.
The end result you're looking for is a glossy meringue that slightly holds its shape (the semi stiff peaks will turn slightly downwards as in picture 3). Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract right at the end, quickly mix it in.
Now you're ready to add it to a piping bag with a star or round tip!
Easy Vanilla Cupcakes
In the photos, I used a different recipe for vanilla cupcakes. I realized I wanted to make the cupcakes themselves even easier, and so I went back to my classic muffin recipe. It is fluffy, buttery and oh-so-delicious.
Cream butter and sugar together for a couple of minutes, with a handheld mixer. Add in eggs, one at a time, and mix in between each. Add in buttermilk and vanilla extract, lemon juice and zest, if using. Now add the dry ingredients to the bowl; flour, baking powder and salt. Give it a mix - easy peasy!
Pour into a prepared muffin tin with liners, about ⅔ way up. Bake for 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven of 350F (180C) and cool completely on a wire rack.
Assemble the Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
To make room for the lemon curd, you can either cut a hollow in the muffins with a small, sharp knife, or even push the center down with a large decorating tip. I cut it out with a sharp knife. If you want you can add a little of the top on top of the lemon curd, so the cupcakes look whole again. I alternate between doing this, but you will have room for a little less lemon curd.
Because I didn't have a large enough decorating tip, my meringue didn't turn out that fabulous to look at. So I do recommend piping the swiss meringue with a large star or round top. Start at the center and then make large circular motions to create the beautiful mountain of meringue.
Enjoy! You may scroll down to find a printable recipe card.
Did you like this recipe? Here's more:
- Summer Berry Pavlova
- Easy Rhubarb Crisp with Raspberries
- Refreshing Hibiscus Tea
- Chocolate Pear Cake with Hazelnut Crumb Topping
- Lemon Cake with Crumb Topping and Cream Cheese
- Homemade Blueberry Muffins with Crumb Topping
- Fresh Strawberry Cake with Lemon Curd
- Spiced Brown Buttercream Frosting
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Ideas for leftover egg yolks: