Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Once upon a time, I made three cakes in one night.


50% of which was fed to my ever so voracious garbage disposal.

It was traumatic.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

I had been dreaming of lemon cake for weeks. Weeks! Lemon layers, lemon curd, and some fluffy cloud frosting. That’s all. Not that huge of a request, right? Wrong. I had a promising recipe for a two layer cake… but I had been dreaming of three. You can just spread out the batter into three pans, right? They’ll just be uber thin. Wrong! They’ll be crunchy and ew. When you’ve got sketchy cake layers, take my advice and stop right there. Don’t try and stack them with too-thin-but-really-good lemon curd and don’t make last minute cream cheese frosting instead of meringue. Just don’t do it. It’s really a poor choice all around. It tastes good, yes, but it’s a soupy flop hot mess mush cake lemon thing. No one really wants one of those.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

If you’re anything like me, it’ll be close to midnight when you assemble your disaster. You might eat a decent amount of it out of shame, and then sit on the kitchen floor and cry. Through your tears you will then decide that it’s a great time to start making a redeem-yourself lemon poppy seed bundt cake. When you realize you’re one and a half egg yolks short and don’t have authentic buttermilk, stop. Don’t make it anyways. Go to sleep, and make it in the morning.  Don’t use extra egg whites and butter instead of the missing yolks. Don’t take it out of the oven before it’s done, and above all, do NOT let your impatience get the best of you and take it out of the pan while it’s still hot. It will come half out of the pan and taste/feel like spongy supermaket angel sponge food cake.  And by then, it will be two in the morning, your feet will hurt, and your tearstained cheeks will be covered in abstract drippy eyeliner art.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Apparently, the whole “third time’s a charm” deal is pretty valid. When you’ve passed the two failed cakes mark, it’s about time to make some cupcakes. Cupcakes are invincible.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

These are a bit on the laborious side of things, but they’re worth every mix and scoop and fill and toast. They’re filled with my favorite ever lemon curd and topped with the meringue of your dreams. These are time-to-make-amends cupcakes. They’re sorry-I-forgot-to-pack-your-lunch cupcakes. They’re look-at-my-fancy-cupcake cupcakes.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Adapted from Martha Stewart and Une-Deux Senses

Note: in a perfect world, I’d make the lemon curd the night, or even several days, before. Bake, fill, and frost the next morning. 

For the cake:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup low-fat buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake pans with liners. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in  lemon juice. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.

Divide batter evenly among pans, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 22-25 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes, and then cool cupcakes completely on a wire rack.

For the lemon curd:

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

8 tablespoons butter, cubed

1 1/2 cup superfine sugar

4 eggs + 4 egg yolks

2 tablespoons grated lemon zest

In a heatproof bowl, whisk together all ingredients except butter. Place it over a small pot of simmering water, whisking constantly. When the mixture thickens to coat the back of a spoon, so that when you run your finger through it the finger stripe doesn’t disappear, take if off of the pot. Add the butter and whisk until it melts. Allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a clean glass jar, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

For the meringue: 

2 large egg white
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the meringue, put the sugar, cream of tartar, and egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water (the bowl should not be touching the water) and allow the sugar to melt into the eggs. Cook until the mixture has reached 160 degrees Fahrenheit, then remove the bowl from the pot of water, stir in the vanilla, and beat the mixture until stiff peaks form, about 3 – 5 minutes, set aside.
To assemble: 
Turn your oven on broil at 400 degrees. Cut a cone out of your cupcake with a small, sharp knife. Fill the opening with a spoonful of lemon curd. Either cut the very top off of the cone and cover the opening, or just leave it open- either will work. Once your cupcakes are filled, cover them with a generous heap of meringue. Use the back of a spoon to create stiff peaks in your meringue, and place the cupcakes on a baking sheet. Place them in the oven and watch very carefully until the tops are just golden brown, 2-4 minutes, depending on the strength of your broiler. Don’t look away for a second! (If you have a torch, congrats on your courage, and feel free to use that instead of the oven method. It’s probably much, much easier.) Let the meringue tops cool before serving. 

Cakes fail every now and then. That’s just life. 



Filed under Cake, Cupcakes, Lemon

10 responses to “Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

  1. Love your blog name…love this recipe. Cake is my thing and lemon meringue are my husband and son’s. This will almost make everyone happy (2 daughters have an aversion to fruited deserts…its chocolate or bust for them)

  2. Ona

    I dream of lemons and will put some in anything I can from soups to Sangrias. I am bringing your recipe for these cupcakes to a girlfriends reunion in Saratoga N.Y. next week. It will be so much easier than spending all day making 18 lemon meringue pies, trying to remedy failed curd fillings, and having weepy meringues…all in an attempt to use up 3 dozen lemons we bought bucause they were “such a deal”. Your desserts never fail , your blog is more than just recipes, it brings us into your kitchen and happy finales. I share your “cup half full” philosophy, keep up the great work.

  3. Great post today, and great cupcake recipe. I have sat and had a chuckle with your night of baking and can’t wait to try these cupcakes that just look so wonderful.

  4. deborah

    Oh!! I feel your pain of cakes gone wrong. I remember 1 bad holiday cake with a whip cream frosting where the top layer slid dramatically to the floor in front of 20 in-laws!!!
    LOVE lemon and hope to try these yummies soon!
    you really are a talent and I am in awe!! 🙂

  5. Alyssa kaplan

    They look soo good! did you come up with the recipe your self?????

  6. Zenelda

    Tried and tested!! Loved it ! I will definitely put this in my recipy book! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Denise Haase

    These cupcakes where a big hit with my coworker the star attraction at our Valentine Bake Sale. We sold them for 2.50 ea. And they were gone in 2 mins. Every one wanted the recipe. Some wanted to place orders with me to make them a dozen and I received many more positive comments. I loved them because the cake was not to sweet and they had great body. The lemon curd was wonerfully tart and the meringue put them over the top. The meringue recipe needs to be doubled, I did not have enogh maybe because I piped it on in a beautiful peak……Orgasmic cupcake!!!!!

  8. These look amazing! I’m making them for Easter!

  9. Pingback: what to bake? RSPCA cupcake day | adventures of the ordinary

  10. Virginia

    My husband was wanting filled cupcakes (after watching a few episodes of cupcake wars) so while I was looking, I came across this recipe. Lemon meringue pie is his favorite so I thought…Perfect!! I think since the meringue made it messier to eat, he wants regular icing next time. I have no idea what regular icing to use though. They tasted soooo good!

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