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Moist Lemon Cupcake Hack (Meringue)

5 from 7 votes

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This moist lemon cupcake hack with meringue will have you so excited to make desserts! When it comes to cupcakes, moisture is key! This has the perfect amount of tartness and sweetness that keep you coming back for more bites.

Lemon cupcake with a bite taken out of side. showing filling of custard inside

Look, everybody who knows me, knows that I’m in the kitchen throwing down some savory and delicious meals. But if I’m going to make a dessert I want it to be quick, fun and delicious. I love a dessert that is sweet and equally tart and this moist lemon cupcake recipe is the one! There’s a quick hack for making that curd filling and a simple way to create those fluffy white peaks that go on top of that lemon cake. And let’s not forget the cake mix. I’ll so you a hack to elevate the box cake mix. Yes, I said it is box cake mix and we’re going to elevate it with sour cream, milk instead of water and a few extra egg yolks so that it’s super moist and it feels like it came fresh from the bakery. These cupcakes last about 4 hours in my house.

Meringue and curd is simple, really!

Don’t be intimidated by the looks of this recipe because each step and component is very easy to execute. We’re going to be making the curd filling in the microwave which cuts down a lot of the time and mess. The meringue frosting is quick to make on the countertop and you can prepare it ahead of time.

Top view of cupcakes  with lemons on top.

FOR THE CAKE MIX

  • Betty Crocker Super Moist Lemon Cake mix; we are keeping it simple and starting with a base and we’re going to elevate it.
  • Eggs; three full eggs and two extra egg yolks for moisture.
  • Whole milk; use whole milk instead of water.
  • Sour cream (full fat); The addition of sour cream will add a creamy and rich texture.
  • Sugar; granulated
  • Flour; all purpose or cake flour will work.
  • Lemon zest; This provides an extra pop of lemon flavor.

INSIDE THE CURD

  • Eggs; whole, large.
  • Sugar; granulated white sugar.
  • Butter; unsalted.
  • Lemon juice; Fresh is best for the optimum level of tartness.

TO MAKE THE MERINGUE FROSTING

  • Eggs; the whites only
  • Sugar; granulated white
  • Cream of tartar
  • Fine sea salt; table salt will work as well
Close up view of toasted meringue top.

HOW TO MAKE THE CURD FILLING

Traditionally making curd takes a little time and it’s a little stressful because you want to make sure the temperature is perfect and that you don’t cook the eggs and you temper it perfectly. I have a simple hack for you. We’re going to use the microwave.

  1. In a medium sized bowl, add eggs, sugar and lemon juice.
  2. Whisk this well till the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Slowly add in your melted butter and whisk for another 30 seconds.
  4. Place a plate underneath your bowl in the microwave and microwave for 1 minute.
  5. After 1 minute remove the bowl. Whisk ingredients for 30 seconds and then place back in the microwave for 1 minute.
  6. You will repeat this process a total of 4 times and at the end you will have a gel curd that is sweet and tart. Use a spoon to check the thickness of the curd.
  7. Pour your curd into a jar and place in the refrigerator to cool while your cupcakes are cooking.

Tips

  • Be careful because the curd is extremely hot each time you remove it from the microwave.
  • Make sure you vigorously whisk in between each minute increment.
  • Taste your curd and make sure that it’s the texture and consistency that you want.
Over head view of Custard ingredients.
Butter, eggs, sugar and fresh lemons.
Squeezing a fresh lemon.
Use fresh lemon juice.
Showing eggs, sugar, and lemon mixing
Blend eggs, sugar and lemon juice first.
adding butter
Add melted butter. and whisk
After 1 minute of microwave.
Make sure to use a plate. Curd should start to look like gel.
Check the thickness with a spoon.
Finished product of custard.
Put in a jar and cool in refrigerator.

TO MAKE THE CAKE

  1. Preheat your oven to 375° F.
  2. In a large bowl, add Betty Crocker lemon cake mix, sugar and flour. Whisk together.
  3. Add whole milk( instead of water), eggs and sour cream. Mix until everything is incorporated.
  4. Zest a half of a lemon into the mixture and fold into the mixture.
  5. Line your muffin pan with paper cupcake cups.
  6. Fill each cup till about halfway.
  7. This will make about 24 cupcakes. 
  8. Cook your cupcakes for 12 to 17 minutes. 
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool before putting the custard filling inside.

Tips

Use a toothpick to check if the cupcakes are finished cooking. If the toothpick comes out clean, they are ready.

MERINGUE FORSTING

  1. In a large bowl add egg whites, and cream of tartar.
  2. Using an electric mixer or your stand mixer, begin mixing on medium high speed until a thick froth appears.
  3. Add salt and continue mixing for another 30 seconds.
  4. Slowly begin to add in sugar.
  5. Continue mixing for about 5 to 8 minutes. Until white, fluffy peaks appear. You will know that it’s ready once you remove your electric mixer whisk and the meringue creates a peak.
  6. Add the meringue frosting to a piping bag or Ziploc bag with a star tip.

Tip

You can re-whip your meringue before piping them on to your cupcakes. This will just add more air back into that meringue frosting.

Egg whites and Cream of Tarter in a large bowl.
Blend in Cream of tarter first.
Mix until frothy.
Add salt and continue to mix.
Slowly add in sugar.
Keep mixing for 5-7 minutes.
Check to see the thickness.
Remove mixer and look for peaks.
See if it stays on a spoon.

BUILDING YOUR MOIST LEMON CUPCAKE

  1. Remove your cupcakes from the baking tin.
  2. Using a straw or apple core, remove the center of the cupcake. Try not to push all the way down to the bottom.
  3. Put your curd into a Ziploc bag and squeeze it into the middle of the cupcake. 
  4. Add your meringue frosting to a Ziploc bag or a piping bag with a star tip, and pipe big swirls on top of each cupcake.
  5. Once you have frosted each cupcake use a kitchen torch to quickly brown the tops of the meringue frosting.
  6. Take a huge bite and enjoy! 

STORAGE

Just like lemon meringue pie, these cupcakes are best stored in the refrigerator. You can pull them out a few minutes before you are ready to enjoy them. I would not suggest having them in a hot place for too long or you will start to see the meringue melt.

Substitutions

  • Pudding instead of sour cream; this will make it a little sweeter, but will still help moisten the cake.
  • Unsweetened apple sauce instead of eggs; replace one egg with about 1/4 cup of apple sauce.
  • Whipped cream instead of meringue; you wont be able to brown the tops of the cupcakes if you use whipped cream, but it is a good substitutions if you don’t want to make meringue.

OTHER RECIPES YOU MIGHT ENJOY

Lemon meringue cupcake with a bit missing

Moist Lemon Cupcake Hack (Meringue)

This moist lemon cupcake hack with meringue will have you so excited to make desserts! When it comes to cupcakes, moisture is key! This has the perfect amount of tartness and sweetness that keep you coming back for more bites.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
For Custard 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 cupcakes
Calories 75 kcal

Equipment

  • Electric mixer or Stand Mixer
  • Muffin Tins
  • Oven
  • Whisk

Ingredients
  

For the curd

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 cup lemon juice fresh squeezed About 6 large lemons
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

For the cake

  • 1 box Betty crocker super moist lemon cake mix
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup whole sour cream
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

For the meringue frosting

  • 3 Egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp. Cream of tartar
  • 1/8 tsp. Fine sea salt
  • 6 tbsp. Granulated sugar

Instructions
 

For the Curd

  • In a medium sized bowl, add eggs, sugar and lemon juice.
  • Whisk this well till the sugar has dissolved.
  • Slowly add in your melted butter and whisk for another 30 seconds.
  • Place a plate underneath your bowl in the microwave and microwave for 1 minute.
  • After 1 minute remove the bowl. Whisk ingredients for 30 seconds and then place back in the microwave for 1 minute.
  • You will repeat this process four times and at the end you will have a gel custard that is sweet and tart. Use a spoon to check the thickness of the curd.
  • Pour your curd into a jar and place in the refrigerator to cool while your cupcakes are cooking.

For Cupcakes

  • Preheat your oven to 375° F.
  • In a large bowl, add Betty Crocker lemon cake mix, sugar and flour. Whisk together.
  • Add whole milk( instead of water), eggs and sour cream. Mix until everything is incorporated.
  • Zest a half of a lemon into the mixture and fold into the mixture.
  • Line your muffin pan with paper cupcake cups.
  • Fill each cup till about halfway.
  • This will make about 24 cupcakes.
  • Cook your cupcakes for 12 to 17 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool before putting the custard filling inside.

For the meringue frosting

  • In a large bowl add egg whites, and cream of tartar.
  • Using an electric mixer or your stand mixer, begin mixing on medium high speed until a thick froth appears.
  • Add salt and continue mixing for another 30 seconds.
  • Slowly begin to add in sugar.
  • Continue mixing for about 5 to 8 minutes. Until white, fluffy peaks appear. You will know that it’s ready once you remove your electric mixer whisk and the meringue creates a peak.
  • Add the meringue frosting to a piping bag or Ziploc bag with a star tip.

Building your cupcake

  • Remove your cupcakes from the baking tin.
  • Using a straw or apple core, remove the center of the cupcake. Try not to push all the way down to the bottom.
  • Put your curd into a Ziploc bag and squeeze it into the middle of the cupcake.
  • Add your meringue frosting to a Ziploc bag or a piping bag with a star tip, and pipe big swirls on top of each cupcake.
  • Once you have frosted each cupcake use a kitchen torch to quickly brown the tops of the meringue frosting.
  • Take a huge bite and enjoy!

Notes

Curd Notes
Be careful because the curd is extremely hot each time you remove it from the microwave.
Make sure you vigorously whisk in between each minute increment.
Taste your curd and make sure that it’s the texture and consistency that you want.
Cupcake Notes
Use a toothpick to check if the cupcakes are finished cooking. If the toothpick comes out clean, they are ready.
Meringue Notes
You can re-whip your meringue before piping them on to your cupcakes. This will just add more air back into that meringue frosting.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 75kcalCarbohydrates: 0.003gProtein: 0.04gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 10mgPotassium: 1mgSugar: 0.003gVitamin A: 123IUCalcium: 1mgIron: 0.002mg
Keyword Bakery
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
By on September 22nd, 2022

About thebuttababe

HI I'm Alex! Self-Taught Home Chef and Food Photographer. I am here to help you build confidence in the kitchen. We will always have laughs and fun along the way!

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7 thoughts on “Moist Lemon Cupcake Hack (Meringue)”

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve been seeing these toasted merengue desserts all over insta, but didn’t think I could pull it off. Your recipe and step by step photos made it super easy to follow. Thank you! I was finally able to make these cute meringue cupcakes to wow my bae!

    Reply

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