Lemon Filled Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Curd
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
  • 2 tbsps grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (1 stick butter), cut into 1/8-in slices

Directions:
  1. Add 1-inch of water to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. In a medium metal bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar for about 2 minutes until smooth. Whisk in the lemon juice and zest until combined. 
  2. Place the mixing bowl on top of saucepan (the bowl should be wide enough to fit on top of the saucepan, but shouldn't be touching the simmering water). Stir the mixture constantly with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as you stir, until it begins to thicken, and will coat the back of a spoon. This will take approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. 

  3. Whisk in the butter, one slice at a time. Wait until each piece almost disappears before adding the next. Spoon into clean glass containers and allow to cool with a piece of plastic wrap laid on the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
  4. Refrigerate until needed. This lemon curd will keep for 2 to 3 weeks.

Best Yellow Layer Cake
Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake (I have yet to audition the cupcakes, shame on me)
  • 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising)

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake tins with papers.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla and lemon zest. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. 
  3. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.
  4. Scoop batter into cupcake tins. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then take out and cool on racks for 1 hour.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
  • ½ block cream cheese (i.e. 4 ounces)
  • ¼ cup butter (i.e. ½ stick)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons milk, as needed
Directions:
  1. Start with your ingredients at room temperature.
  2. Beat the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat in powdered sugar, adding milk as needed to reach a spreadable consistency.

Assembly:
To fill the cupcakes, use a small knife to cut a hole in the middle of the cupcake. Pop out the cone-shaped cake piece (go ahead and eat them all! I won't tell anyone!), and fill with lemon curd. 
Then frost. Enjoy!