Lemon Cupcakes with Limoncello-Cream Cheese Frosting

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!

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Lemon Cupcakes with Limoncello-Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: Makes 14 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 ounces (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 ounces cream cheese, at 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, at room temperature

1 tablespoon limoncello

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Directions:

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!

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker