Fluffy and moist lemon cupcakes with a creamy mascarpone buttercream and homemade lemon curd swirl
- 1/2 cup (110g) unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- Zest of 2 lemons (1 tbsp)
- 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk, room temp
- 1/4 cup (60ml) fresh squeezed lemon juice (3–4 lemons)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (195g) all purpose flour *see notes for GF option
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream**, room temp
- 3/4 cup (185g) unsalted butter, room temp
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese***, chilled
- Zest of 1 lemon (1-2 tsp)
- 4 cups (480g) powdered sugar
- 2–3 tbsp heavy whipping cream, chilled
- Lemon curd recipe found here – but leave out the butter
- *If you’d like to add lemon curd on top, make that first thing. Then, pour it into a counter and let it cool at room temperature while you make the cupcakes. By the time you’re ready to frost, the curd will be thickened but still drippy – perfect for swirling.
- Preheat your oven to 350F and line cupcake tins with 16 paper liners.
- In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the sugar and lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar using your fingers which will release even more lemon flavor.
- Add the butter and mix on high speed for 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- Mix in the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the bowl and mix in the lemon juice and vanilla.
- Pour in half of the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Scoop in the sour cream and mix again.
- Scrape down the bowl and add in the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix on medium-low speed and stop right when the dry ingredients are fully blended into the batter. The batter should be thick.
- Evenly distribute the batter into each cupcake liner, filling each about half way full. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let the cupcakes cool completely before making the buttercream.
- When ready, mix together the room temperature butter and chilled mascarpone using a hand or stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
- Once combined, mix in the lemon zest.
- Then mix in the powdered sugar one cup at a time until smooth. In between cups of powdered sugar, add in the heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time. Start with just 2, and decided if you need the third by the end.
- When everything is mixed in, kick the speed up the high and let it mix for about 1-2 minutes. The frosting should be smooth and creamy. If it’s too thin, chill the frosting for about 30 minutes.
- Frost your cupcakes either with just the mascarpone frosting, or with the addition of a lemon curd swirl. Pop them in the fridge for 20 minutes to set. Enjoy!
*GLUTEN FREE – I haven’t tested it, but I believe gluten free flour would work for this recipe. Substitute the flour with a good quality gluten free baking flour. I like Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour. I also suggest weighing the flour rather than measuring by cups, to ensure accuracy.
**SOUR CREAM – You can also use full fat Greek yogurt.
***MASCARPONE – If you can’t find mascarpone cheese, sub with room temperature full fat cream cheese.
STORAGE – Keep the cupcakes in an air tight container in the refrigerator where they will keep for up to 5 days. The frosting softens quickly, so always keep the cupcakes chilled. Serve either cold or at room temp.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: lemon cupcakes, cupcake recipes, lemon recipes, lemon cupcake recipe, lemon curd