These white cupcakes with lemon frosting are filled with lemon curd and topped with candied lemon peel. They’re the perfect sweet treat!
One of my favorite desserts is cupcakes. They’re hand-held little treats and I always want to go back for more. Sometimes I even let myself eat that second cupcake.
When I’m making cupcakes, I like to draw inspiration from some of my favorite Chicago cupcakeries. Their cupcakes are usually filled with some kind of frosting or curd and are topped with delicious frosting and a decoration or two.
These white cupcakes with lemon frosting are filled with lemon curd and topped with candied lemon peel. How’s that for special?!
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White Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting
Before you get all fancy, you need to make your cupcakes. White cake and cupcakes are different because they are made with egg whites instead of entire eggs.
While my cupcakes are baking, I make the candied lemon peel.
To cut the peel off the lemons, I cut off both ends so I can set a lemon upright. Using a sharp knife, I cut the peel off, making sure to leave as much of the white pith as possible on the lemon.
Then I cook the peels several times in boiling water before cooking them again in simple syrup. I spoon them out when you can no longer see the white portion and dry them out. Then cover them in sugar (voila!)
Wondering what to do with the peeled lemons? Squeeze the juice and save it for your frosting!
Before I frost the cupcakes, I use a knife to cut out the center of each cooled cupcake. Be careful not to cut all of the way down to the bottom. Then I fill the holes with lemon curd.
I used store-bought curd for these cupcakes but you could also make it from scratch. My grapefruit curd recipe can be made with lemons instead if you want to go that route.
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- 1 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 1/2 cups white sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 5 large egg whites (10 tablespoons liquid egg whites)
- 2 3/4 cups cake flour
- 1 cup milk (at room temperature)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 (32 ounce) package powdered sugar
- 8 tablespoons lemon juice
Candied Lemon Peel
- 3 medium lemons
- 8 cups cold water
- 2 cups white sugar plus extra for tossing
- lemon curd
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in muffin tins - 24-28 liners.
- In the bowl of stand mixer, cream together the butter, baking powder, sugar, salt and vanilla extract on medium until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape sides as needed.
- Decrease speed to low and add the egg whites, one at a time, beating well with each addition.
- Add in 1/3 of the flour, then half the milk, another 1/3 of flour, the remaining milk, and then the remaining flour. Scrape sides as needed.
- Fill the cupcake liners with 1/4 cup of batter.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the cupcakes start to brown and a toothpick poked through the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven, cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Then remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Frost when the cupcakes have completely cooled.
- Beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy (1-2 minutes.) Gradually add the powdered sugar, alternating with lemon juice, beating at low speed until blended.
Candied Lemon Peel
- Cut both ends off of each lemon. Use a sharp knife to remove just the peel, leaving as much of the white pith on the lemon as possible.
- Bring 2 cups water and the lemon peel to a boil in a small pot. Drain the water and repeat with fresh cold water 2 more times. Drain the water and set the peels aside.
- Combine the remaining 2 cups of water and the sugar in the pot. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat to low and stir in the lemon peels. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the peels are translucent and soft. Remove the peels and allow to completely dry. Toss the dried peels in the extra sugar.
- To prepare your cupcakes, use a sharp knife to carve out the centers of each cupcake. Fill each cavity with lemon curd, then frost the cupcakes. Top the frosting with candied lemon peel.
Cupcake recipe slightly adapted from I Am Baker