With a bright, sunny-tasting recipe like this one for lemon flavored cupcakes filled with lemon curd, I’m always tempted to try and come up with a cute name for the cakes. Sunny Cupcakes. Lemon Heaven Cupcakes. Juicy Lemon Cupcakes. But I usually like to know what I’m getting when I look at the name of a recipe, so I end up coming back to the simple, but clear, Lemon Cupcakes Filled with Lemon Curd. I just dub them with a cute name when I bring them out to serve.
I was inspired to make these cupcakes after catching a few minutes of a Food Network show where a baking contestant (on the Ultimate Recipe Showdown) made something similar with a cake mix. I couldn’t resist doing a from-scratch version, just like I couldn’t resist doing a from-scratch version of the first place Double Delight Peanut Butter Cookies that won the Pillsbury Bake-Off last year.
I kept the lemon flavor in the cupcakes subtle, so that the lemon curd really has a chance to stand out, and added some vanilla into the batter, as well. A vanilla and lemon cupcake also cuts the zestiness of the curd a little and allows the whole thing to come together (so you’re not tasting a mouthful of lemon curd – not that there’s anything wrong with that!). I used the lemon curd recipe that I usually use for this batch of cupcakes, but I doubled it so that I would have plenty of curd to work with. I like a lot of curd in my cupcakes. If you don’t want to make your own, it’s perfectly fine to use store-bought lemon curd or your other favorite recipe.
Lemon Cupcakes Filled with Lemon Curd
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest (or 1 tsp lemon extract)
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
approx 1 1/2 cups lemon curd
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Adding the lemon zest early helps release more of its flavor. Blend in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Stir in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the milk. Add another 1/3 of the flour and the remaining milk, then stir in the remaining flour, mixing only until no streaks of flour remain.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each approx 2/3 to 3/4 full.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
To fill, use a melon baller to scoop a small hole in the top of each muffin. Alternatively, you can use a small knife to carve a small cone of cake out. Fill the depression with 2 tsp lemon curd.
Serve shortly after filling. Unfilled cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container until ready to fill and serve.
Makes 24 cupcakes.