Lemon Meringue Cupcakes Recipe

As much as cooking is an art, baking is definitely a science. When it comes to creating deliciously moist and soft cupcakes, the correct balance of ingredients is essential. These lemon meringue cupcakes, created by Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Rye, are delightfully light and absolutely packed full of zingy lemon flavor. Filled with homemade lemon curd and finished off with a toasted meringue frosting, these cupcakes are definitely a close cousin to the ever-popular lemon meringue pie.

Although lemons are a staple at grocery stores today, this hasn't always been the case. In fact, this common ingredient was once considered to be a rare delicacy with a price tag to match. Thankfully this flavorful citrus fruit is much more affordable in the present day and is the perfect addition to baked goods like this cupcake recipe. 

Perfect enjoyed on a summer's day or as a sweet treat for a party, read on to find out how you can make these lemon meringue cupcakes at home.

Gather the ingredients for these lemon meringue cupcakes

To make this recipe for lemon meringue cupcakes, first, you will need to gather the ingredients. If you enjoy home baking, you'll likely already have most of these items in your kitchen cupboards. You will need flour, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar, unsalted butter, vanilla extract, milk, and eggs. You can also opt to use cream of tartar in the meringue if you prefer. 

Additionally, you will need plenty of lemons to give these cupcakes their delicious and zingy flavor. To make the most of this popular citrus ingredient, it's important to select the freshest produce from the store; the skin of a ripe lemon should be shiny and firm to the touch.

Make the cupcakes

To begin this recipe you start by making the cupcakes themselves. While the oven preheats, add butter and granulated sugar to a mixing bowl. Beat the ingredients together until they are creamed; this stage is particularly important for creating light and fluffy cupcakes as it introduces air into the batter. Next, add eggs and vanilla extract and mix everything together. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour with the baking powder and salt, and then add this to the main mixture and combine. Finally, add lemon juice, lemon zest, and whole milk, to create a smooth, lemony batter. Fill cupcake cases with the batter and bake until the cupcakes are risen and spring back to the touch, then set them aside to cool.

Make the lemon curd

Lemon curd is a delicious addition to these cupcakes, and adds a powerful hit of citrus flavor that is reminiscent of lemon meringue pie filling. To make it, add whisked eggs to a Bain Marie, along with sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Then keep gently whisking the mixture until it begins to thicken. This should take between 5 and 10 minutes, so patience is key here. However once the mixture begins to thicken, it will happen quickly so you'll want to keep a close eye on it. When the lemon curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove it from the heat and whisk in some butter until it is lovely and glossy, then set it aside to cool.

Create the meringue frosting

Once the cupcakes and the curd have been made, it's time to make the meringue frosting; after all, a cupcake isn't really a cupcake without frosting. To do this, beat egg whites until they are foamy, and then add granulated sugar to the mixture, a little at a time. You'll know that the meringue is ready when it no longer feels grainy between the fingertips. If you prefer to make meringue with cream of tartar, you can add it here. At this stage, you can decide whether you would like to apply the frosting with a spoon, or whether you'd like to pipe it on in swirls. If you prefer piped frosting, transfer the mixture to a piping bag.

Assemble the cupcakes

To assemble your cupcakes, use a sharp knife to cut a circle into the top of each cupcake. Scoop roughly a tablespoon of the sponge out from the center of each cake, carefully reserving the tops of each. Use a teaspoon or a piping bag to fill the holes with the cooled lemon curd, and then replace the tops of the cupcakes to complete your filled cupcakes. Frost your cupcakes with the meringue topping, and then it's time to reach for the kitchen blowtorch to give them that golden brown finish. Alternatively, if you don't own a kitchen blowtorch, it is possible to use the oven grill to complete this stage. Simply turn the grill onto medium-low heat and place the cupcakes underneath until they reach the desired color.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes Recipe
5 from 57 ratings
These lemon meringue cupcakes are decadent and delicious are filled with homemade lemon curd and finished off with a toasted meringue frosting.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Lemon meringue cupcake
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • 4 large lemons
  • 1¾ + ⅔ cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened, divided
  • 4 large eggs + 3 egg whites, room temperature, divided
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1½ cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
Optional Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a cupcake tray with 12 cupcake liners.
  2. Zest and juice the four lemons, and then place to one side.
  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together 1 cup of granulated sugar with ½ cup softened unsalted butter until it is creamed. This should take 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Then, beat in 2 large eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour with the baking powder and the salt. Add this to the bowl containing the sugar, butter, and eggs, and mix until just combined.
  6. Carefully fold in ⅓ cup of fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of lemon zest, and the whole milk, to create a smooth batter.
  7. Transfer the batter to the prepared cupcake cases, filling each one amount ⅔ full, then bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes, until risen and springy. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  8. To make the lemon curd, add 2 large eggs to a bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water. Whisk the eggs thoroughly and then add 2 tablespoons lemon zest and the remaining lemon juice, and ⅔ cup of sugar, and then whisk continually for 7 to 8 minutes, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. At this point, remove the bowl from the heat and immediately whisk in ½ cup of cubed unsalted butter, until the mixture is thick and glossy. Set to one side to cool.
  9. To make the meringue topping, add the three egg whites to a large clean bowl or stand mixer, and cream of tartar, if using. Beat the egg whites until they are foamy, and then slowly add ¾ cup of granulated sugar to the bowl, one tablespoon at a time, leaving roughly 30 second increments between each addition. The meringue frosting will be ready when it forms stiff peaks, and no longer feels grainy when rubbed between your finger and thumb. Once the meringue topping reaches this stage, mix in the remaining vanilla extract and then transfer it to a piping bag.
  10. To assemble the cupcakes, first cut a small hole in the top of each cupcake, about an inch wide, and scoop out some of the inside of the cupcake. Add a tablespoon of the cooled lemon curd to the hole, and top with the reserved cupcake top. Repeat this for all of the cupcakes.
  11. Pipe swirls of meringue on top of each of the cupcakes, and then place them under a preheated grill for a minute or two, to give them a lovely browned top. Alternatively, you can brown the meringue topping using a handheld kitchen blowtorch.
Calories per Serving 319
Total Fat 10.4 g
Saturated Fat 6.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 61.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 56.1 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Total Sugars 47.3 g
Sodium 111.7 mg
Protein 2.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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