Triple Threat Lemon Cupcakes

I’ve decided to call these ‘Triple Threat’ lemon cupcakes because as far as I’m concerned, they possess the three elements required to create the perfect cupcake. Beautiful spongey cake with flecks of fresh lemon zest dotted inside, filled with a tart lemon curd surprise, and topped with a sweet lemony cream cheese frosting…these cupcakes are a real game changer.

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The reason I decided to make these cupcakes today is because I still had some leftover lemon curd from a week or two ago from making a friend’s farewell cake. Incidentally, I still had some cream cheese leftover too, and had just spotted a new lemon hanging from the top of our tree outside. It was like fate really.

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And so, these lemon cupcakes were born, and I’m sure glad they were. Lemon is such a great flavour for summer, and the combination of the cake sponge, tart zesty lemon curd, and creamy frosting is a real treat for your taste buds. It got me all kinds of excited for summer get togethers to celebrate the end of the year – ’tis the season to eat cake!

In fact, the combination of textures and tastes got me thinking of other summery flavours to throw into the mix…Granadilla? Gin and tonic? Raspberry? Let me know what you think. Two more weeks of exams and then I’m free to experiment in the kitchen as much as I like!

YOU’LL NEED

Cupcakes

120g flour

160g sugar

60g butter

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

120ml milk

1 egg

Generous dash of vanilla essence (roughly 2 tsps)

Pinch of salt

1 lemon for zest

Lemon curd (for a surprise filling)

Frosting

400g icing sugar

80g butter

130g cream cheese

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Dash of vanilla essence (about 1 tsp this time)

25ml milk

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 170C. Line a muffin/cupcake tin with cupcake holders.

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and butter in a mixing bowl. Grate some lemon zest into the bowl, about a tablespoon or so (I had to grate around the rough parts of my lemon). Beat the ingredients together on a low-medium speed until the mixture resembles fine crumbs, kind of like sand.

Slowly pour in the milk while the mixer is on a low speed and mix until just combined. Add the egg and a generous dash of vanilla essence to the mixture, followed with a tiny pinch of salt. Mix on a medium-high speed until well combined and smooth. Do not over mix.

Spoon the mixture into the cupcake holders, about two thirds fill, and then place in the oven for 20-25 minutes. (I had mine in for 25mins). Once baked, the tops of the cupcakes should be golden and a skewer should come out clean when inserted. Place on a cooling rack for at least 15-20 minutes.

For the frosting, add the icing sugar, butter, cream cheese, and vanilla essence in a mixing bowl and mix until well combined and thick. Scrape down the bowl and add a squeeze (1 tbsp) of fresh lemon juice to the frosting, and mix again on medium speed until combined.

Scrape down the bowl. Place the mixer on a low speed and gradually add the milk. Turn the mixer up to high and mix until the frosting is smooth and creamy. If you find that your frosting is too runny, just add a little more icing sugar to get it to the consistency you prefer. (Mine was quite soft and smooth. So I put it in the fridge for a bit while I waited for the cupcakes to cool).

ASSEMBLING THE CUPCAKES

Once the cupcakes are cool, use a butter knife or a teaspoon to hollow out a little hole in the middle of the cake and reserve the bit you take out on a side plate. You shouldn’t break the bottom of the cupcake as this will cause it to fall apart. Try aim for somewhere in the middle.

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Fill each cupcake with a little lemon curd. Mine was homemade lemon curd, however you can use the store bought version too. Once your cupcakes are filled, place the little bit you took out back in the cake to cover the curd.

Next, frost each cupcake with the cream cheese icing to your liking. I simply used a knife to frost each of mine.

Your cupcakes are now ready to enjoy! You can eat them right away, but if you’re serving them for a special occasion I think they would look so pretty with some wild flowers on top or a little extra lemon zest. You have options!

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As always, if you do end up making these cupcakes please let me know what you think – I’d really appreciate any feedback and/or pictures! Also feel free to like, comment, follow or share…A lot of love goes into these posts and I’d be thrilled for you to join me on my food blogging journey.

This cupcake recipe was adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

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