More lemons today for you, my dears! This recipe features the lightest and most perfect vanilla cupcake recipe I’ve ever tasted. Seriously. And they are so easy to make! No ‘room temperature eggs’ or fancy ingredients. They are my new favorite thing and I’m going to make them again and again.
This tasty morsel of a cupcake is stuffed with silky lemon curd and topped with a light and slightly tart lemon buttercream. The combination of the three components is absolute perfection.
A lot of my recipes tend to be packed with a lot of strong flavors like rich chocolate, cardamom, and booze. It’s not always terribly kid-friendly, so I also spend a lot of time off the blog making something special for my daughter that I know she will enjoy. I didn’t think it would be anything worth sharing because they are simpler recipes that are already all over the internet. But then I listened to something Sally said which encouraged bloggers to go ahead and post your simpler recipes because oftentimes, those are our best recipes since we use them so much. So that is what I am doing. I am sharing my favorite vanilla cupcakes recipe with smooth and creamy vanilla buttercream. Plus, a lemon curd I’ve made many times in the past on the blog that I just can’t get enough of.
If you’re wondering how I put lemon curd into cupcakes, it’s so easy! Just use an apple corer to gently twist out the center of the cupcake. Then add the filling of your choice and add frosting. This also works if you want to stuff the cupcakes with buttercream frosting.
I’ve used these vanilla cupcakes as a base for almost every non-chocolate cupcake I have on the blog, including my blackberry lime cupcakes and cookies and cream cupcakes. I will change one thing here or there, but it is this cupcake recipe that I am basing it on. It’s my workhorse and I know exactly how these cupcakes should turn out. If I am in a new kitchen, these will be the first thing I make to test out the oven. It’s one of the very few recipes I have memorized.
I was in the store the other day picking up chocolate and saw a picture of these adorable Easter cupcakes that I knew my daughter would love. They used this custard flavored white chocolate that had colored bits inside it. I decided to make my own version using regular white chocolate and adding her favorite sprinkles inside the bark for the same effect. And instead of the chocolate mini Easter eggs, she chose these really cute butterfly sprinkles. So cute!
FOR THE CUPCAKES:
- 2¼ cups cake flour, plus more for dusting the pans, 9 ounces
- 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 6 cup large egg whites, at room temperature, ¾
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1¾ cups granulated sugar, 12¼ ounces
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool, 1½ sticks
FOR THE FILLING:
- 1 cup lemon curd, homemade or store-bought
FOR THE FROSTING:
- 9 egg whites
- 2 ¼ cups sugar
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter, softened but still cool
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup lemon curd
- Make the cupcakes: Set oven racks in upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.
- Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.
- Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs.
- Add all but ½ cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1½ minutes. Add remaining ½ cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.
- Use a large scoop to portion batter evenly among paper liners. Arrange pans at least 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart. Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes.
- Let cupcakes rest in pans for 3 minutes, then remove the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once completely cooled, use a ¼-inch round cutter to remove the center of each cupcake (or, use a paring knife to cut a small cone-shaped hole in the center of each cupcake).
- Place 1-cup lemon curd in a large pastry bag. Snip off the tip, and pipe lemon curd into each cupcake. Refrigerate until ready to frost.
- Make the icing: Place the whites and the sugar in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer. Place the mixing bowl over the simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not sit in the water). Continually whip the egg whites and sugar until heated and the sugar dissolves.
- Remove bowl from the water and place on the mixer. Whip until meringue forms soft peaks.
- Switch to the paddle attachment. Add the butter, 1 tbsp at a time, whipping until fully incorporated before adding more. The time it takes to incorporate will get longer and longer as more butter is added.
- After all the butter is added, add vanilla and lemon curd and continue beating until the buttercream comes together and looks smooth and creamy.
- Use immediately, or refrigerate until ready to use. If using later, allow buttercream to come to room temperature, then beat again before using.