Easy Lemon Curd Filled Cupcakes

Need a quick, delicious dessert for a special occasion? Or just craving a delicious lemon treat? Here is an easy recipe, that’s partially homemade, but will taste completely homemade: Meyer Lemon Curd Filled Cupcakes with Meyer Lemon Buttercream Frosting!

lemon curd cupcakes with buttercream lemon frosting

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This is the perfect recipe if you need a dessert in a pinch! It was one of my besties birthdays so of course, I wanted to whip up something delicious to celebrate. We were going out to lunch and I had the morning to pull something together. Ever since I made the Meyer lemon curd for my Cream Puffs, I’ve been wanted to make something else lemony.

My first thought was Lemon Macarons. Without taking too much time going into details, let me just say it was a disaster! LOL! I need to try those again soon, but they weren’t happening for the birthday lunch. Plan B: Quickie cupcakes with lemon curd filling and homemade lemon buttercream frosting. Like I said, “mostly” homemade, fast, and delicious.

Ingredients for these Easy Cupcakes

  • white cake mix
  • eggs
  • water
  • lemon zest
  • lemon juice
  • unsalted butter, room temp
  • powdered confectioners sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • salt
  • sugar

How to Make these Lemony Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and prepare a cupcake pan with liners.
  2. Add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix on medium speed with a mixer for about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Place the batter into each cupcake liner and bake for 16-18 minutes.
  4. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely before filling or frosting.
lemon curd filled cupcakes with lemon zest

How to Make Easy Lemon Buttercream Frosting

  1. Place the butter into a mixer bowl and beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time and incorporate it completely after each addition. Next, add the lemon juice, vanilla, and salt and beat until everything is creamed together and smooth.

How much of this recipe is homemade?

The lemon curd and the lemon buttercream frosting are both homemade. The “almost homemade” part comes from the cupcakes. I used a basic box mix. I already had the lemon curd chilling in the fridge and I decided to cheat on the cupcakes and use a boxed mix. I also knew I didn’t want 24 cupcakes at home (because I would eat them all), so I just used half the mix and made up the rest! It made 12 cupcakes. I took 8 for the lunch and saved 4 for me (hey, I’m not crazy!).

What makes these cupcakes “easy”?

I used a box cake mix for the cupcakes and I’m not sorry about it. Sorry, not sorry ?! Just add egg, water, lemon juice, and lemon zest to the mix and you are ready to go! This is a “recipe” because you are only using some of the cake mix to make a small batch. And you are adding lemon juice and lemon zest to make them even better.

How quickly does this come together?

You could easily have these cupcakes complete in an hour and a half. As I mentioned, I made the lemon curd first since it needs to firm in the fridge for an hour (recipe below). So, while it is setting, you can whip up the cupcakes and frosting. Cool the cupcakes in the fridge after 10 minutes on the counter and they will be ready to frost faster (since they need to be cool).

lemon curd filled mini cupcakes

Make your own Lemon Curd or Use Store-Bought

You can use my recipe for Homemade Lemon Curd or use store-bought lemon curd. Homemade lemon curd is surprisingly easy to make and only takes a few ingredients. Just remember the lemon curd has to firm up in the fridge for at least an hour. You may want to make it ahead of time or plan for the extra time.

lemon curd in the middle of a lemon cupcake

If you love Lemon Desserts, check out some of my other Lemon Recipes

lemon curd filled cupcake

Easy Lemon Curd Filled Cupcakes

A quick and easy recipe to make lemon curd filled cupcakes that are full of lemon flavor!
5 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Cool, Fill & Frost: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 33 minutes
Servings: 12 mini cupcakes
Calories: 260kcal
Author: EmilyFabulous

Equipment

  • cupcake pan and liners
  • (2) frosting bags
  • frosting tip
  • zester
  • stand mixer or hand mixer

Ingredients

Lemon Cupcakes

  • 1 cup white cake mix
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup lemon curd

Lemon Buttercream

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3 cups powdered confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 dash salt
  • lemon zest for garnish

Instructions

Lemon Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a cupcake pan with liners.
  • Add all the cupcake ingredients except the lemon curd to a mixing bowl and mix on medium speed with a mixer for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Place batter into each cupcake liner about ¾ full and bake for 16-18 minutes.
  • Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling or frosting.

Lemon Buttercream

  • Place the butter into a mixer bowl and beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time and incorporate it completely after each addition.
  • Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and salt and beat until creamed together and smooth.

Fill and Frost the Cupcakes

  • After the cupcakes have cooled completely, place the lemon curd in a pastry bag with a round tip attachment (you can also use a ziplock bag). Gently Insert the tip into the top of the cupcake about ½" deep. Squeeze in some lemon curd (about a teaspoon). The cupcake will expand slightly, stop as the curd oozes out of the top a little. Don't worry what it looks like, you are covering it with frosting!
  • Place the frosting in a different pastry bag. Use your favorite tip and frost the cupcakes. Sprinkle with lemon zest and enjoy!

Notes

  • I zested and juiced 4 Meyer lemons for the cupcakes, buttercream, and lemon curd recipes at the start and set it all aside. It made each step with lemon juice or zest so much easier!
  • Of course, if you don’t have Meyer lemons, regular lemons will work just as well.
  • This recipe is for 12 mini-cupcakes. If you want to make regular-sized cupcakes, you can double this recipe and add 6-7 minutes to the cooking time (check with a toothpick).  

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.1g | Protein: 1.9g | Fat: 9.7g | Saturated Fat: 5.1g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 161mg | Potassium: 30mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 40.1g | Calcium: 31mg

Any nutrition calculations are only estimates using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.

What to do with extra cake mix?

You may be thinking…what should I do with the rest of the cake mix? I’ll tell you! You can always make more of these Easy Lemon Curd Filled Cupcakes…OR…you can make mug cakes! Mug cakes are perfect for those nights when you want something sweet but don’t want a lot. Mug cakes are the best and so easy to make.

All you have to remember is 3-2-1!

3 tablespoons of cake mix

2 tablespoons of water

1 minute in the microwave

I added sprinkles to the cake mix before microwaving and I also made a quick cream cheese frosting for the mug cake (obviously ?).

1 tablespoon cream cheese

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Sprinkles are optional but recommended

Stir the cream cheese in a small bowl until it’s smooth and warms up a little, add the powdered sugar until combined, and then add to mug cake!

lemon curd filled cupcakes and lemon curd filled cupcakes with lemon buttercream frosting
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Did you Make these Easy Lemon Curd Filled Cupcakes?

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