Lemon Cupcakes with Limoncello-Cream Cheese Frosting

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Limoncello Cupcakes

When it comes to cupcakes, I’m a vanilla kind of girl. I usually just like the basic stuff –  yellow cake, white frosting, sometimes sprinkles. But, after making a bottle of homemade limoncello, I started envisioning ways I could use it in my baking and kick things up a notch. After all, a girl’s gotta branch out beyond vanilla!

Lemon Curd Cupcakes

These soft, spongey cream cheese and lemon cupcakes pumped full of fresh lemon curd were just the zip of fresh spring flavor I needed! They were also surprisingly simple, though at first the recipe from The Brown Eyed Baker seemed time consuming and like something that I (not the world’s best baker) could easily mess up.

I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that these cupcakes, and their gooey lemon curd center, were easy to get right! And thankfully, I did get them right in time to send off to my husband’s potluck lunch at work a few weeks ago. Which brings up another point… Wouldn’t weekday lunches be so much more exciting with an afternoon cupcake? I think yes.

Limoncello Cupcakes Recipe

Try these little lemony delights for your family, friends or coworkers and you’ll understand what I mean! The lemon flavor is vibrant, the lemon curd a slightly tart surprise in the center, and the cream cheese frosting combines to create a heavenly flavor with the soft, sweet cake. Top it with a berry or other fun garnish, and you’ve got yourself a tasty, pretty springtime dessert that everyone will love!

Lemon Cupcakes with Limoncello-Cream Cheese Frosting

Servings 14 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ounces ½ stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons limoncello
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon

For the lemon curd:

  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk

For the cream cheese limoncello frosting:

  • 2 ounces ½ stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon limoncello
  • 2 cups powdered sugar sifted

Instructions

  • Prepare the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the center. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the limoncello and beat an additional minute. On low speed, add flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the lemon juice and zest and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Divide the batter between 12 muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  • Prepare the lemon curd. In a heavy medium saucepan, stir together the lemon zest, juice and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolk. Whisk the lemon mixture into the eggs to temper them. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat, whisking constantly until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and let cool completely.
  • Prepare the cream cheese limoncello frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the limoncello and beat for an additional minute. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat until fully incorporated and smooth.
  • Assemble the cupcakes. Cut a hole into each cupcake with the large end of a melon baller or the back end of a large pastry tip. Fill each cavity with the lemon curd. Fill a pastry bag with a star tip (I used Wilton 1M) with the cream cheese limoncello frosting and pipe onto each cupcake. Decorate with lemon and berries, if desired.
  • Enjoy!

Join the Conversation

  1. Georgia: I like everything about these cupcakes and that it yields 14. Delicate, pretty little cakes. ;)

    At our local airport, there’s a Starbucks that sells the most amazing limoncello muffins. I can’t find them anywhere else and look fwd to them as a treat when I’m flying outta town. I luv your adaption and will add these to the list of must-makes!

  2. Yum! I love lemon cake, these look divine!

  3. These look so wonderful and decadent, I just love lemon and I can guarantee you that I’ll be making these soon. PS – my wedding colors are black and yellow, these would fit right in, great pictures! :)

    Congrats on your house too!

  4. These look so bright and cheery! I saw your limoncello post, but I have never ever made it. These cupcakes are even more of a reason. They look so elegant. :)

  5. wow Those cupcakes look so fresh, pretty and seasonal!

  6. These are what I would call “couture cupcakes” – beautiful and elegant!

  7. Oh my….yes, I would like a dozen. Are you taking orders? I’ll pay for the shipping, of course :)
    Georgia, those look absolutely incredible! I can only imagine how wonderful they taste!

  8. these look beautiful!!! i LOVE lemon anything :)

  9. Wow! These are just absolutely beautiful. I have been really on a citrus kick lately and want to try and make lemon curd for the first time. Now I’m super inspired!

  10. These cupcakes look wonderful. I am sure your husband made a hit at the office with these cupcakes! They look delish! The look all about spring. Blessings, Catherine
    I am now following your blog and I hope that you will visit my blog and do the same. Thank you, Catherine
    http//www.LivingtheGourmet.blogspot.com

  11. I do enjoy limoncello– never thought to put it in cupcakes, this sounds like a winning combo :)

  12. Yes, please! These came out lovely, Georgia. I don’t feel like a pastry chef most days, but I do try since I want to improve. Love the raspberry on top of these cupcakes — nice little pop of color!!!

  13. Wow do those look so delicious and absolutely beautiful too! Yum!!!

  14. Georgia, these look beautiful and scrumptious…a perfect combination. The photos are stunning as well. My husband adores lemon anything so I think these will be on my short list of things to bake.

  15. These sound lemony perfect! Love the liners too.

  16. Those cupcakes look delicious! I love how you use natural decorations on top!

  17. Oh my goodness…I want that frosting! I could lick the screen!

  18. You impressed me with the lemoncello recipe and now this! I think I love you, lol.

  19. Oh! These lemon cupcakes look fabulous, specially with lemoncello filling…love how you decorated…so pretty and elegant. Hope you are having a great week :-)

  20. Georgia – These look amazing! I bet everyone at your husband’s work loves you! I have been dying to try a lemon curd recipe, it looks so good.

  21. Oh my goodness…these sound so wonderful. LOVE the use of the limoncello. It must taste so bright and refreshing. Yum!

  22. These look INCREDIBLE!!

  23. These cupcakes look fantastic. It’s hard for me to believe you’re not a baker since they look perfect!

  24. I love the black and white liners with the raspberry on top. Amazing! These look fantastic with the lemon curd tucked inside. I’ve always wanted to make lemon curd. :)

  25. Incredible! I love lemon desserts. I have a bottle of limoncello that we brought back from Italy that I think I need to crack open. Yummy! :)

  26. Wow!!! Your cupcakes sound amazing!! BEAUTIFUL pictures!!

  27. Gorgeous. I’m bookmarking this one. And I love your cupcake wrappers!

  28. Whoa… so pretty. Please don’t laugh, but I have never tried making cupcakes with frosting and all. How long does it take to make something like this? I’m so sorry for asking such an elementary question… But it looks like it requires so much detail work… I’d love to make them for my kids, but I’m usually too busy just making dinner everyday…

  29. I totally agree, these would make any afternoon better. I love the three layers of lemon from the cupcake to the filling and the frosting!

  30. Look at that beautiful center! These are amazing, Georgia! Great work!

  31. Georgia, These are absolutely adorable! I love the little raspberry on top. I’m thinking Mother’s Day will be a perfect time to bake a batch of these sunny, pretty cupcakes!

  32. These sound wonderful…so refreshing and perfect for springtime!

  33. Lemony creamy dreamy… right up my alley! Hello spring!

  34. Oh my God!
    these pictures are absolutely spot on!!!
    Love them!
    Barbara

  35. Thanks so much everyone!

    Nami – Start to finish, these took about 45 minutes, not including baking time.

  36. Charming cupcakes! I would be in lemon heaven. There is just something about so much luscious lemon that hits the spot for me. :)

  37. Those cupcakes are calling my name!!!

    I received one more tag game and it is about Easter Menu..I tagged you and I hope that you will find time to participate!
    Visit my blog for more info!! thanks!

  38. What pretty cupcakes! :)

  39. You officially stole my heart with this recipe!!! AMAZING

  40. Wow, these are gorgeous Georgia! I love the contrasting color of the raspberry on top. Lemon desserts are one of my favorites, can’t wait to try these.

  41. mmmm….I am totally in love with your cupcakes!
    Beautifully done and gorgeous photos!!!

  42. Your cupcakes are stunning! Gorgeous photography and great color contrast. Congratulations on Top 9 you certainly deserve it! =]

  43. beautiful cupcakes & fantastic photography! you deserve a spot in the Top 9 for sure! Congrats :) I am following you now… :) Can’t wait to see what else you’re going to cook up! :)

  44. These cupcakes look deliciously stunning! I wish I had one right now! :)

  45. Very pretty Georgia and Congrats on making Top 9 and finding such a goregous house!

  46. These sounds absolutely AMAZING. I am craving anything lemon these days now that spring has officially settled in. Gorgeous photos too!

  47. These cupcakes are stunning in your photos and I can only imagine how delicious they tasted;-)

  48. Nice! I made these exact same cupcakes except yours turned out way prettier than mine! I was surprised at how easy lemon curd is to make.

  49. These look wonderful,and I can almost taste the lemony combinations!

  50. Afternoons would definitely be better with a cupcake, or two. These look absolutely delicious and I love that they have multiple sources of lemon combining to make one yummy cupcake.

  51. These look absolutely delicious and SO pretty. I can’t wait to try them out!
    Mary

  52. I am a sucker for lemon- anything, and these cupcakes sound fantastic!

  53. They look so cute and perfect! I like them a lot! Thanks for this cool recipe!

  54. These cupcakes were perfect!!! I made them for an Anniversary party and they were a huge hit. Not too sweet and just the perfect amount of lemon. The frosting was to die for!

  55. Looks awesome. I love lemon. Will be following you now. I dont often cook cakes and sweet things but love to look at the wonderful pictures. This inspires me to try a few though, its certainly not for the like of cake but of a matter of weight……….so I dont indulge often.
    Janice

  56. Perfect job! Gorgeous cupcakes with great images! I would like to showcase this recipe on my cupcake recipes & ideas blog if you agree. Best regards

  57. AWESOME and so beautiful!!! I got rave reviews on these beautiful cupcakes. I topped with a blueberry. Several people asked for the recipe and I let them know that they are on my pintrest board. Will make again and again…

  58. Can these cupcakes be baked, filled , iced and then frozen…if carefully boxed & wrapped? Thank you!
    ,

  59. Hi Carol – You can certainly try it, though I cannot attest to how these would do if thawed from frozen, since I have never frozen them before. I think your best bet would be to make them 1-2 days ahead of serving, if possible.

  60. You created some decent points there. I looked on the web for the issue and identified most people will go together with along with your site.

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