September 04, 2010

Lemon Curd Layered Cupcakes

Have you ever dreamed about eating an entire cake? Yes, an entire cake. Being able to taste two layers, the filling, and the frosting ALL around the cake? Now you can! Yes, I’m serious! You just have to make tiny individual cakes instead of a big one. That’s what I did last Wednesday.

I knew I was going to have the last entire free day from school and I decided I wanted to entertain myself (and my kitties…under the counter waiting for something yummy to fall) with a baking marathon - well the difference with a real marathon is that with this one you gain weight instead of losing it.

Two facts brought me to bake these layered cupcakes:

FACT #1: I always want to bake cakes…I mean serious cakes…layered cakes with a yummy filling and a frosting. However, we are only two in this household…no way we can finish a cake before the icing goes bad and carrying around or giving away slices of cakes sometimes is complicated. (Many people also complain they are on a diet and want “light” desserts!). So unless there is a celebration or a party I never get to make a layered cake!

FACT #2: For the first time in my life that morning I made lemon curd. I never thought it could be sooo easy to make and yet come out so delicious. Now I understand why people obsess about homemade lemon curd. Few ingredients, one pot, one spoon, 4-6 minutes of your time and you have an amazing lemon curd that lasts up to two months in the refrigerator if properly sealed (according to Dorie Greenspan…and I totally trust her!)

Put the two facts together and you get these sponge cake cupcakes filled with lemon curd and topped with strawberry frosting. One note about the frosting: I had a very bad frosting moment that day. I threw away two batches of frosting. I used two different recipes and both were terrible! The third one was good but not good looking….I used it because I was getting very frustrated but I’m not giving you the recipe because it was definitely NOT  a keeper! You can use any frosting, really…just make it better than mine…it won’t take much!

Sponge Cake Cupcakes
Yields 12 cupcakes

170 gr (6 oz or 1 1/3 cups) all purpose flour
7 gr (1 1/4 tsp) baking powder
1 gr (1/4 tsp) salt
120 ml (4 fl oz or 1/2 cup) whole milk
57 gr (2 oz or 4 tbsp) unsalted butter
3 eggs
150 gr (5.3 oz or 3/4 cup) granulated sugar
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325F degrees and fit the molds with paper muffin cups.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, the baking powder and the salt. Then set aside.

Combine butter and milk in a saucepan, heat on medium until the butter has just about melted. Remove from heat and set aside.

Using the whisk attachment beat your eggs on high until blended, about 1 minute.

Add the vanilla extract and the sugar gradually and beat until pale and tripled in volume. This is the most important step. Don’t stop until the mixture is pale and much more voluminous! It should take 5-8 minutes. Some recipes say even 10 minutes.

Fold one third of the flour mixture into the egg mixture with a rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture in 2 more additions. It is very important to incorporate the four mixture well but without over mixing otherwise the final mixture will lose its fluffiness.

Reheat the milk mixture until just under a boil. Then add the hot milk mixture into the batter and fold it in.

Pour the batter into the muffin pan. Bake for about 20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool down completely before filling and frosting.

Source: of course, there are many many many sponge cake recipes and they are all pretty much similar or identical. However, the one that inspired me to make cupcakes out of it is the one I found at The Little Teochew

Lemon curd

1 1/4 cup sugar

3/4 stick or 6 tbsp) butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 large egg
6 large egg yolks
freshly squeezed juice of 4 lemons

*Yields double of what I needed to fill in the cupcakes but, as I said above, you can store the remaining for up to two months!

Put all the ingredients in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir with a heatproof spatula to moisten the sugar. Put the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring without stopping, until the butter melts and the mixture thickens like custard, 4 to 6 minutes.

Keep your eyes on the pan, because the curd can curdle quickly. It is cooked enough when you can run your finger along the spatula and the curd doesn’t run into the track you’ve created (btw, I loved this tip. It totally helped me in stopping to cook the curd on time!) Don’t worry if the curd looks thin at this point – it will thicken more as it cools.

Remove the pan from the heat and scrape the curd into a heatproof jar or a bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the curd to create an airtight seal and cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator.

Source: also for the case of the lemon curd there are many recipes around, pretty similar and all valid. As other times, I relied on Dorie Greenspan!

To assemble:

Once the cupcakes and the curd have completely cooled down, cut the cupcakes horizontally and spread the lemon curd as filling. Cover them with the frosting and keep in the fridge for at least one hour before serving so that the lemon curd can reach the right consistency.

Have a sweet day!

Lemon Curd Layered Cupcakes With Strawberry Frosting on Foodista


  1. Wow!! Your photos are absolutely stunning!!! My neighbor always makes lemon curd and always tells me it's easy as well... with both of your comments I must throw away the jar from the store and try it! I love the small desserts too. Nicely done!!

  2. Hah! You had me at the lemon curd. I don't care about cupcakes or frosting, but that lemon curd; I could eat all day. I love this too: "Many people also complain they are on a diet and want “light” desserts!" People who eat at my house aren't allowed to say that!

    You need to have friends over for buffet dinners and say you'll make the dessert. That way you get to do your layer cakes, taste some new foods and not make everything yourself.

    Please pass the curd? :)

  3. I adore lemon curd - always such a treat with scones. This is a wonderful way to use. What pretty little cupcakes!

  4. Lemon curd has been on my list to make for quite sometime - you have inspired me. Nice job!

  5. hello great idea! I am going to make some mini cakes

  6. I love lemon curd, and it looks great in your cupcakes! Lemon and strawberry make a good combination.

  7. What an ingenious idea to turn these cupcakes into mini-cakes! And the lemon curd filling just looks so delicious. Will try making these for my next dinner with guests.

  8. layered cupcakes....what a great concept!! I love that lovely lemon curd, what a wonderful addition to the gorgeous sponge....and your topping just makes it even more delicious!! Now I just need a few of them to enjoy!

  9. I'm happy you guys like these cupcakes. I'm even more happy if I can inspire at least one person to make lemon curd. I wish somebody had convinced me earlier to give it a try. And if I can make it, all you guys can! @Chef Dennis: I really thought the topping was terrible but people loved it so I guess it's just the appearance. I did make it with real strawberries and I guess you can never go wrong with them :)

  10. They're like little pieces of awesome! I love anything lemon so you know I would have gobbled these up. I'm considering making cake as well this weekend, but it's even hard with 4 people!

  11. Wow! Those look great! I'm not even a lemon fan and I'm sucked in by those vivid colors. Lovely photography.

  12. These look so yummy! I love the colors too, with the pink and yellow. It makes the cakes look so summery and cute!

  13. I love lemon curd, and these look like the perfect way to use it:)

  14. These are delicious, fancy little cupcakes! I've never made lemon curd either, but it's definitely worthwhile for making these cupcakes I'd say :)

  15. these look so cute and tasty! they would be perfect for a tea party :)

  16. Cake AND lemon curd?!? I am in. I've also never made lemon curd because I'm enamored by those fancy jars in the store but you've inspired me to try making my own. Oh, and a giant congrats on Top 9! :)

  17. LOVE a good baking marathon!!! They look fabulous, I love how the icing is gently dribbling down the side - well done :)

  18. Congrats on Top 9! After all the talk of lemon curd recently on twitter I was excited to see the final creation :) These cupcakes look divine!!

  19. WOW! these baby cakes looks so beautiful..and they must be delicius! They are delicious for the tea time..and even for dessert at the end of the dinner! Congrats!

  20. @BakingBarrister: 4 people would already be enough...I would have the excuse to eat 2-3 portions to avoid wasting food! but yeah, I do feel I have very rare occasions to make a big, yummy cake
    @BakingWithoutABox @Koci @Sprinkled with flou: I'm glad you like the colors because they are not fake! I was impressed myself but there is little postproductions in these pics. All the merit goes to the cupcakes themselves
    @Sarah @Lynn @Cath: you should really try to make these! Above all the goes well with anything! Even just on a slice of bread for breakfast!
    @Lawyer Loves Lunch: you should see the collection of jars I have....I totally understand you! Sometimes I buy jams, curds or other things just to get the jar! But this curd was worth the loss of a jar :)

  21. @Evan:I know, right? we were talking and talking about the lemon curd and I needed to find a great way to use it...this was pretty good I feel!
    @Mirtilla: they were super yummy. We finished them just as an afternoon snack...they didn't ever reach dinner :)

  22. I luv, luv these cupcakes with the delicate cake, deliciousness of lemon curd (lotsa lemon curd!), and most of all...the portion-controlled size!

  23. I love the pictures! I always assumed lemon curd would be very time consuming to make.

  24. I love lemon curd but haven't tried to make it yet. Thanks.

    Plan B

  25. I think I will do without the frosting, so I'll feel less guilty on finishing the entire tray. :P
    I love lemon curd with sponge cakes....they are absolutely a beautiful combination. :)

  26. Hi Sara! - Absolutely agree with you on your two facts! Homemade lemon curd is the best! Dreamy and delicious.... and so mouth puckering - These little cakes are adorable - beautiful job -

  27. What glorious little cakes! I love the drizzle frosting!

  28. Ooo, what an excellent idea! I just made lemon curd myself...delicious stuff, isn't it? I love the little cakes...

  29. I'm a big time lemon lover that has never made lemon curd, but you're inspiring us all! And, I think your strawberry frosting has artistic credibility in a Dali sort of way :)

  30. Yum! I wish my baking creations looked that pretty! You should try these banana chocolate chunk cupcakes. They are incredible!


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