Lemon Meringue Cupcake Recipe (from scratch)

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With this Lemon Meringue Cupcake Recipe, you’ll create moist lemon cupcakes, silky lemon curd filling, and a pillowy meringue topping. They are just like a lemon pie in cupcake form.

Lemon Meringue Cupcake Recipe

Ever since I was a kid lemon has been one of my favorite flavors. Sometimes when my Mom got in a baking mood, she would ask what kind of pie we wanted, and my response was always lemon meringue! These lemony cupcakes are everything I love about lemon meringue pie in the compact form of a cupcake.

More Lemon Recipes to Try:

If you love the lemon flavor as I do, try these other lemon desserts: Lemon Crinkle Cookies (made with cake mix), Frozen Lemonade Berry Pie, No Bake Lemon Oreo Cheesecake, Frosted Lemonade (like Chick-fil-A!), Gooey Lemon Bars, and Skinny Lemon Cream Pie.

Lemon Meringue Cupcake Recipe

Zesty Lemon Meringue Cupcake Recipe

These Zesty Lemon Meringue Cupcakes combine the zestiness of lemon curd, the airiness of fluffy meringue, and the softness of a moist cupcake base together in what can only be described as a sweet symphony of flavors. This isn’t just another lemon dessert—it’s a masterpiece that elevates the humble cupcake to an art form.

Imagine the delight of tangy lemon curd nestled in the center of the cupcake, topped with a light, toasted meringue frosting that’s just the right amount of sweet and tart. It’s the kind of dessert that makes you close your eyes to savor every bite. And the best part? You can create this magic right in your kitchen. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your lemons, and preheat your oven—it’s time to bake!

What you’ll love about this recipe

  • A Culinary Work of Art: – These cupcakes are a creative twist on the classic, blending the bold flavors of lemon with the sweetness of meringue.
  • Standout Dessert: – Elevates the cupcake game with its sophisticated flavor profile and stunning presentation.
  • Bake it Yourself: – Even though there are a lot of steps, I’ll walk you through how to make this delightful recipe. You’ve got this!
Lemon Meringue Cupcake showing the curd filling

Let’s Get Ready to Bake!

There are 3 separate components to these cupcakes, which makes for a lot of moving parts. Get organized and make sure you have all the necessary ingredients before you begin. Here are the key ingredients you’ll need:

  • Fresh lemon juice and lemon zest – these two are the non-negotiables for infusing our cupcakes with that signature lemony pizzazz.
  • You’ll also need egg whites and egg yolks (don’t mix ’em up!) and unsalted butter (my preference for baking so we can control the amount of salt in the recipe). These 3 key ingredients will be used in the cupcake base, the dreamy lemon curd, and that cloud-like meringue on top.
  • And, of course, there are the supporting cast: flour, sugar, baking powder, and a handful of other kitchen staples.

So, gather your ingredients before we dive in to ensure you’re fully prepped for a smoother ride as you create these citrusy lemon meringue cupcakes.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cupcake Batter

Preparing the perfect lemon meringue cupcake batter is an art form that combines the rich traditions of baking with the zesty twist of lemon. For best results, you’ll want to use room temperature ingredients.

Preheat: Before starting your batter, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line your muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Start: Begin by creaming together the unsalted butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy. This crucial step incorporates air and volume into your cupcakes.

Integration: Add the large egg and vanilla extract, blending well. The delicate aroma of vanilla weaves through the batter, hinting at the flavorful symphony to come.

Dry Meets Wet: In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add this dry mixture to the wet ingredients, alternating with the milk, and stir until just combined. You don’t want to overmix the batter at this step. A gentle hand ensures your cupcakes remain tender.

Flavor Burst: If you’re opting for an extra lemony zing, fold in the lemon zest and lemon juice now. It’s this step that infuses the batter with its characteristic citrus burst, bringing a tangy freshness that sets these cupcakes apart.

Fill: Spoon batter into the cupcake liners, filling each about two-thirds full. The cupcake batter should be smooth and slightly golden. It provides a sneak preview of the deliciousness to come!

Bake: Place the cupcake pan in the oven and bake for 16-18 minutes or until you see golden brown domes. This is confirmation you whipped enough air into the batter and that your cupcakes are baking up light and fluffy. It’s a visual delight and promise of the taste sensation that awaits.

Cool: Allow the cupcakes to sit for about 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack to completely cool before adding the filling or topping.

Each step, from integrating room temperature ingredients to the careful addition of lemon zest, plays its part in crafting a cupcake batter that sings with flavor and rises to the occasion, promising a perfect dessert that’s both a feast for the eyes and a symphony for the taste buds.

Crafting the Perfect Lemon Curd

Start by whisking together 2 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks in a medium bowl, adding 1 cup of sugar, the zest of one lemon, and ¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice. This blend of ingredients ensures your lemon curd has a beautifully balanced tartness.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt ½ a cup of unsalted butter. Pour the egg and lemon mixture into the pan, stirring constantly. The secret to a smooth, glossy lemon curd lies in constant, attentive stirring to avoid any lumps forming.

Continue to stir as the mixture thickens, which should take about 10 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when it coats the back of a spoon without dripping off. This is the crucial moment where your stirring pays off, resulting in a perfectly thickened lemon curd.

Once done, pour the curd through a sieve into a glass bowl to remove any lumps, ensuring a perfectly smooth consistency. Then, while the curd is still warm, cover the surface with a piece of plastic wrap. This crucial step prevents a skin from forming on the top of the curd. Allow the curd to cool to room temperature before using it as your cupcake filling or storing.

Mastering the Meringue

Ensure your mixing bowl and whisk attachment are spotlessly clean, as even a small amount of grease can prevent your egg whites from reaching stiff peaks. This is crucial for creating that perfect, fluffy meringue.

Using your electric mixer on medium-high speed, begin beating the egg whites and cream of tartar until they become frothy. Gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat until the mixture forms stiff peaks. This process is the backbone of mastering the meringue, so patience is key.

To test for stiff peaks, lift the whisk attachment out of the meringue. If the peak holds its shape without drooping, congratulations! You’ve achieved the perfect texture for topping your lemon meringue cupcakes.

If not using immediately, transfer the meringue to an airtight container or go ahead and put it into a piping bag. It can be stored in the refrigerator to keep it from deflating, ensuring it remains ready for creating those stunning, golden-brown peaks atop your cupcakes.

Assembling the Cupcakes

Begin by coring the middle of each cupcake using a cupcake corer or a paring knife, carefully removing a small portion to make room for the tangy lemon curd filling. Aim for the center of the cupcake to ensure each bite has a burst of lemon flavor.

Fill the hollowed core of the cupcakes with homemade lemon curd. The lemon curd should be of a consistency that it nestles perfectly in the center, neither too runny nor too thick, creating the perfect dessert base for our lemony cupcakes. You can use a small spoon or fill them with a piping bag.

Top the cupcakes with fluffy meringue, using a large piping bag. With the meringue, get creative – pipe meringue in swirls or peaks according to your preference, playing with the aesthetic to make each cupcake a piece of art.

Finally, use a kitchen torch to gently toast the meringue to a golden brown. This not only adds a beautiful color but also brings out the best in the toasted meringue frosting, contrasting splendidly with the tart lemon curd beneath.

Lemon Meringue Cupcake Recipe

Keeping Your Cupcakes Fresh

After you’ve enjoyed baking and snacking on a few of these lemon meringue cupcakes, you might have some leftover curd or a couple of extra cupcakes. No worries! The best way to keep them fresh is by popping them in an airtight container. This keeps them from drying out. When you’re ready to enjoy the cupcakes again, let them come to room temperature for the best taste. They’re perfect when they’re a bit cool from the curd but not too cold.

Do you have leftover lemon curd? Place it in a bowl, cover the surface of the curd with some plastic wrap to keep it from getting a skin, and stick it in the fridge.

Closeup of a lemon meringue cupcake cut open to expose the lemon curd filling

Give Your Cupcakes a Twist

Hey, who says you have to stick to the script with your baking? Do your own experimenting and shake things up a bit. Try adding a dash of almond or peppermint extract to your lemon meringue cupcakes for a fun twist. Or, swap out lemon for lime or orange – play with different citrus flavors to find your favorite combo. It’s your kitchen, after all, so make the recipe yours.

The best part is sharing these creations with your loved ones. There’s nothing like seeing their faces light up over a batch of your freshly baked, lemony cupcakes. It’s those moments that make all the tweaking and tasting worth it. So, go ahead, get those invites out, and make your next get-together a little sweeter with these tasty treats.

Closeup of a lemon meringue cupcake cut open to expose the lemon curd filling

Lemon Meringue Cupcake Recipe (from scratch)

Melisha Kreppein
With this Lemon Meringue Cupcake Recipe, you’ll create moist lemon cupcakes, silky lemon curd filling, and a pillowy meringue topping. They are just like a lemon pie in cupcake form.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 371 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Cupcakes

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter softened
  • cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • cup milk
  • zest of lemon about 1 teaspoon
  • lemon juice from one lemon freshly squeezed

For the Lemon Curd

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks save whites for meringue
  • 1 cup sugar 1/2
  • zest of lemon about 1 teaspoon
  • ¾ cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • ½ cup unsalted butter melted

For the Meringue

  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • ½ cup sugar

Instructions
 

Make the Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line your muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside. 
  • Cream together butter and sugar using a stand mixer. Mix until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg and vanilla extract. Mix again.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add this dry mixture to the wet ingredients, alternating with the milk, and stir until just combined. Do not overmix.
  • Fold in the lemon zest and lemon juice.
  • Spoon batter into the cupcake liners, filling each about 2/3 full.
  • Place the cupcake pan in the oven and bake for 16-18 minutes or until you see golden brown domes.
  • Allow the cupcakes to sit for about 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack to completely cool before adding the filling or topping.

Make the Lemon Curd Filling

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks.
  • Add 1 cup of sugar, the zest of one lemon, and ¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mix well.
  • Melt 1/2 cup of unsalted butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Then pour the egg and lemon mixture into the pan, stirring constantly.
  • Continue to stir about 10 minutes as the mixture thickens. You'll know it's ready when it coats the back of a spoon without dripping off.
  • Pour the curd through a sieve into a glass bowl to remove any lumps to ensure a smooth consistency. While the curd is still warm, cover the surface with a piece of plastic wrap.

Make the Meringue

  • Start with a completely clean mixing bowl and whisk. Even a small amount of grease can prevent your egg whites from reaching stiff peaks.
  • Use an electric mixer on medium-high speed and begin beating the egg whites and cream of tartar until they become frothy.
  • Continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Test for stiff peaks by lifting the whisk attachment out of the meringue. If the peak holds its shape without drooping, you've achieved the perfect texture.

Assemble the Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

  • Use a cupcake corer or paring knife to remove a small portion in the middle of each cupcake. Do not puncture all the way through the cupcake.
  • Fill each hollowed core with the lemon curd. Use a small spoon or piping bag. Fill to the tops but do not overfill.
  • Use a large piping bag to top each cupcake with fluffy meringue. Use a circular motion to create swirls with the piping tip.
  • Toast the meringue on top of each cupcake using a kitchen torch. Rotate carefully to toast all sides. Alternatively, you can place the cupcakes on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven. Use the low broil setting. It will only take 1-2 minutes, so watch them carefully. You may need to rotate the pan to get an even toasting.

Nutrition

Calories: 371kcalCarbohydrates: 63.4gProtein: 4.9gFat: 11.9gSaturated Fat: 7.7gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 3270mgPotassium: 126mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 51.2gCalcium: 51mgIron: 1mg
Keyword lemon
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Lemon Meringue Cupcakes from Scratch

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