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Lemon cupcakes with a lemon curd filling

Light and fluffy cupcakes with a zingy and fresh lemon twist. I used both lemon zest and juice in the sponge, filled them with a tangy lemon curd and topped them with a light lemon buttercream.

Total time to make : 60 minutes (inc. sponge cooling time)

Time to bake : 15 - 18 minutes

Servings : 12 cupcakes



120g unsalted butter, room temperature (plus extra to grease)

200g caster sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

220g self-raising flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

150ml milk

2 tsp vanilla extract or paste

2 lemons, juice & zest

Jar of lemon curd (I used shop bought)


230g unsalted butter

540g icing sugar, sieved

2 lemons, juiced

Pinch of salt

To decorate (optional)

I made royal icing daisies and used sugar lemons


Vanilla Cupcake base

  1. Preheat a fan oven to 180C and line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners

  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, mixing them in one at a time, then add in the vanilla

  3. In a seperate bowl, sieve in the flour, baking powder and salt together and stir so it's evenly mixed. Gently tip these dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients. Use a standing mixer (lowest setting), spatula or spoon to fold the ingredients together, adding the milk in a few tbsps at a time whilst you fold the ingredients, until everything is just mixed

  4. Add in the lemon juice and zest, fold through a few more times until combined. If the mixture starts to separate (due to the acidity of the lemons), just add in 2 heaped tbsp of flour and mix until smooth

  5. Use heaped tablespoons to fill the cake liners, filling them up about 2/3 full

  6. Bake for 15 - 18 minutes or until a clean metal skewer or toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre of a cupcake, they should be golden, risen and springy to touch

  7. Cool on a wire rack until completely cooled before filling and icing

Filling & Buttercream

  1. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, use a small knife or apple corer to cut a small segment out of cupcake for our filling. Aim to only cut halfway down the sponge (so it doesn't hit the base). I use the tip of my thumb as a rough guide of size. Spoon the lemon curd into a piping bag and snip the end of. Pipe the lemon curd until it fills the hole

  2. For the buttercream, use a standing mixer or electric hand whisker to whip the butter in a large bowl for a few minutes until pale and fluffy

  3. Keeping the speed on low, add in the icing sugar gradually - to avoid being covered in a huge cloud of icing smoke! Continue doing this until all the icing sugar has been added, then mix on a high speed for another minute before gradually adding the lemon juice and pinch of salt

  4. The consistency we're looking for with buttercream is thick but spreadable, like toothpaste*

  5. Ice the cupcakes using a spoon or piping bag with nozzle attachment, finish with any decorations

Nutritional Information

(per fully-iced and filled cupcake)

334 calories

2g protein, 32g carbs, 22g fat

Good to know:

  • Be cautious not to gouge too big a hole for any filling as it can cause the surrounding sponge to collapse if it's very overfilled - or when you take a bite, it will make a real mess!

  • These cupcakes can be made without the lemon curd filling or try using different fillings and flavour combinations. Raspberry, strawberry jam, caramel or marmalade. Alternatively, add a few tbsp of poppy seeds in for a twist

  • The cupcakes sponges can be prepared a day or so in advance. Store in an airtight container until ready to fill/ice. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months, wrap tightly in cling film and store in an airtight container. Defrost fully before icing

  • The frosting can be prepared in advance, keep refrigerated for up to 3 days and take out the fridge about 30 minutes before you need it for icing. There's enough buttercream to ice 12 cupcakes using a piping nozzle (I use the Wilton 1M or 2D).

  • Vegetarian

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