Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

A few weeks ago I made a lemon meringue cake, I loved that cake but I thought it would be so much cuter in cupcake formation. So I decided to make lemon meringue cupcakes.

I’ve still never even tried a lemon meringue pie, I don’t really eat that many pies. But I love lemon meringue so the though of these had me excited.

THESE CUPCAKES ARE SO GOOD. You got a vanilla cupcake that has been flavoured with some lemon zest. Then I stuffed some lemon curd into them and topped them with a toasted Swiss meringue. If you like lemon meringue desserts, you need to try these!

1 lemon meringue cupcake being held up.

Video Tutorial

The lemon curd

The first thing we are going to make for these cupcakes is the lemon curd. 

The reason why you want to make this first is because it takes the longest to cool down and thicken up. So making it first is better.

I wanted to mention that you absolutely can just buy the lemon curd, it will save you some time. No one has to know.

But if you are making it, all you need to do is heat some egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and salt together. Then once this thickens, add in some butter.

It does take some time for the mixture to thicken, but apart from that, making lemon curd is super easy.

A few tips

Keep your heat on medium

When heating your mixture, you don’t want it to get too hot, otherwise the egg yolks will cook. 

So keep the heat on medium.

It does take some time, but don’t be tempted to increase the heat in order to speed up the process. It’s better to heat it slowly.

Constantly stir

Again we don’t want the mixture to get too hot, so whiles it is heating, don’t walk away.

You want to keep stirring it.

Ingredients for the cupcakes

Here are the ingredients you are going to need to make the cupcake batter:

  • Granulated sugar – caster sugar works too.
  • Lemon zest – for some lemony flavour. The lemon curd does add a lot of lemon flavour though, so if you didn’t want to add lemon zest to the batter, you could leave it out.
  • Unsalted butter – we are using self-raising flour, a lot of self-raising flours already have salt in them. So make sure to use unsalted butter, otherwise the cupcakes will end up too salty.
  • Oil – any flavourless oil works. I like to use vegetable.
  • Vanilla extract – for flavour.
  • Eggs
  • Self-raising flour – I will go into how to substitute this with plain/all-purpose flour in the next section.
  • Milk – whole milk is always best to use.
The top of 6 of the lemon meringue cupcakes.

Ingredient substitutions

The oil

I like to use a mixture of both butter and oil in these cupcakes. The butter adds a nice buttery flavour, and the oil adds a lot of moisture.

Any flavourless oil works, but I always use vegetable oil, rapeseed to be more specific.

If you didn’t want to use oil, you don’t need too. You can just use butter.

Instead of using 125g of butter, use 250g.

The self-raising flour

I use self-raising flour for these cupcakes, it’s just easier because then I don’t need to add my own raising agents, they’re already in there. 

But if you don’t have self-raising flour, or live in a place where it’s hard to find, you can use plain/all purpose flour instead.

All you need to do is use the same amount, but add 2.5 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to it!

Why did you rub the sugar and lemon zest together?

The first step in making the cupcakes is to rub the sugar and the lemon zest together.

If you watched my video, you might have seen that I didn’t do this. I didn’t have any lemon zest in the moment but let’s just pretend like I did.

Essentially, rubbing the sugar and lemon zest together makes the zest release its oil. Which infuses the sugar with a nice lemony flavour.

So if you want a stronger lemon flavour in your cupcakes, do this! 

The cupcake batter in the cases, before being baked.
The cupcakes after being baked.

The meringue

You can’t have lemon meringue cupcakes without….meringue.

So the last thing you need to make is a Swiss meringue.

Making this is very easy, here are the ingredients you are going to need:

  • Egg whites – make sure to use fresh egg whites, not the ones from a bottle. You will already have these leftover from when you made the lemon curd, so use these.
  • Granulated sugar – caster sugar works too.
  • Salt – to enhance the flavours.
  • Vanilla – for flavour.

Only make this before you need it

You don’t want to make this meringue in advance. It will start to deflate and then it will be difficult to whip it back into stiff peaks.

Once it has been piped onto the cupcakes and toasted, it won’t deflated then. It will actually last at room temperature for a few days. But whiles it is in the bowl un-toasted, it can delate.

So only make it once your cupcakes have baked and cooled, just before you’re about to decorate them.

How to toast the meringue without a blow torch

I know not everyone has a blow torch, NOT TO WORRY, you can toast the meringue without one. 

You can just use your grill/broiler.

All you need to do is put your grill/broiler onto low heat, then place the cupcakes under this.

Don’t walk away from these though, the meringue will toast quickly, so keep an eye on them.

WARNING if you are doing it this way, I highly recommend taking your cupcake wrappers off.

There is a risk of them setting on fire, fire is not fun, so it is better to take the wrappers off.

These are a few other cupcake recipes you might also like:

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

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Makes: 12-15 Cupcakes

  • For the lemon curd:
  • 6 egg yolks (save the egg whites for the meringue)

  • 200g granulated sugar

  • 120ml lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 150g unsalted butter

  • For the cupcakes:
  • 250g granulated sugar

  • The zest from 2 lemons

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened

  • 125ml vegetable oil

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 4 eggs

  • 250g self-raising flour

  • 60ml whole milk

  • For the meringue:
  • 6 egg whites

  • 300g granulated sugar

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Making the lemon curd:
  • Add some water into a pot and place this onto medium heat, let this come to a simmer.
  • In a bowl, add the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Mix these together, then place this bowl on top of the pot. Make sure that the simmering water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. If it is, just pour some of the water out.
  • Heat this mixture, whiles constantly stirring, until the mixture thickens. It won't become super thick but it will be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. This might take a while, it took about 10 minutes for me.
  • Once it has thickened, take it off the heat and add the butter. Mix until all the butter has melted.
  • At this point push the mixture through a sieve just to get out any lumps. Cover with cling film, make sure that the cling film is touching the surface of the lemon curd, then leave in the fridge to cool completely.
  • Making the cupcake batter:
  • Start by pre-heating your oven to 180c/350f. Also add your cupcake cases into your cupcake tin.
  • In a large bowl, add the sugar and lemon zest. Rub these together using your fingers for about 2 minutes.
  • Add the butter, oil and vanilla into this and beat on high speed for 5 minutes. If you are making this by hand, just aggressively whisk for as long as you can.
  • Add 2 of the eggs into this and whisk until combined, then whisk in the remaining 2 eggs.
  • Now add the self-raising flour and milk. Mix just until you get a smooth batter.
  • Fill your cupcake cases with this batter until they are around 3/4 of the way full, then bake for around 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into them comes out clean. Leave these to cool completely.
  • Making the meringue:
  • Once the cupcakes have cooled, make the meringue.
  • In a pot, add some water and place this onto medium heat. Let this come to a simmer.
  • In a bowl, mix together the egg whites, sugar and salt. Place this on top of the pot with the simmering water. Again, make sure that the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl.
  • Keep heating this, whiles stirring, until all the sugar has dissolved. To check this, just rub some of the mixture between your fingers. If you can no longer feel any grains of sugar, it is ready.
  • Take this off the simmering water, then whip it until you get stiff peaks.
  • Putting everything together:
  • Cut a small hole in the centre of your cupcakes, make sure not to cut right through to the bottom of the cupcakes.
  • Add some of the lemon curd into this hole, then pipe the meringue on top. I used a large star tip, but any works.
  • Now just gently toast the meringue with a blow torch, then enjoy!