These Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes have tender yellow cake, zingy lemon curd, and sweet buttercream studded with poppy seeds. They are the perfect Springtime dessert!
What says “Springtime” more than lemon??
I know that Winter is citrus season, but I think that lemony desserts are pretty Springy. Especially these cupcakes. They get their lemony flavor from rich, tangy, homemade lemon curd. It’s the perfect complement to sweet cake and buttercream frosting.
These cupcakes may look complicated, but don’t be intimidated!
I know that there are quite a few steps involved assembling these cupcakes. But trust me, none of them are difficult. Plus, the payoff is more than worth it.
This recipe makes excellent use of the Homemade Lemon Curd that I shared with you earlier in the week. If you haven’t already eaten all of it with a spoon (no judgement), I highly recommend filling these cupcakes with it!
The yellow cake recipe comes directly from the cookbook Homemade Decadence, and the buttercream is a variation of the recipe in that book, too.
- 4 cups cake flour, see notes
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1.5 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 16 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tbs vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 recipe homemade lemon curd, see notes
- 32 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
- 5-6 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbs milk or heavy cream
- 2 tbs poppy seeds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 3 muffin tins with liners (or use fewer muffin tins and work in batches) and set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt together. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until it is light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to fully incorporate. Add the vanilla extract.
Add half of the flour mixture, and beat well. Add the buttermilk in a slow stream, and beat well. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just combined.
Divide the batter evenly between the 36 cups of the muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick, when inserted into the center, comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the muffin tins for 15 minutes before removing them to a wire rack and allowing them to cool completely.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for a couple of minutes, or until soft.
Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, along with the kosher salt and vanilla extract. Beat on low to combine. Add another 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat to combine along with 2 tbs of the milk/cream.
Add the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and 2 tbs of milk/cream to achieve the desired consistency of frosting.
Beat on medium speed for a few minutes until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
Insert a paring knife into the top of a cupcake at a 45 degree angle. Insert the knife only about 2/3 of the way into the cupcake, so that the filling won't leak out of the bottom.
Cut a cone out of the top of the cupcake. Keep the tip of the knife inside the center of the cupcake. Rotate the cupcake while cutting around the top of the cupcake in a circle. Aim to make the hole about 1 inch wide. Pull the cone of cake out of the cupcake.
Cut the cone in half and discard (or eat!) the pointed part. You will use the top, flat part to plug the hole at the end.
Spoon the prepared (or store bought) lemon curd into the holes in the cupcake, filling not quite the whole way. Top with the reserved flat part of the cored out cupcake.
Frost as desired.
- I've found that using cake flour (vs. all-purpose flour) really does make a difference here. When using all-purpose flour, the cupcakes can be a little dense.
- The recipe for homemade lemon curd can be found here. You could also substitute your favorite store bought lemon curd.
Looking for more lemony desserts?