Crazy for Crust

Mar 27

Perfect Triple Lemon Cupcakes

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These lemon cupcakes are not for the lemon faint of heart. They’re the perfect lemon cupcake with triple the lemon flavor.

It’s like lemon smacks you in the face in every single bite!

These are the Perfect Triple Lemon Cupcakes; lemon flavor in every single bite!

It’s no secret that I love lemon. Sometimes I crave it so fiercely I find myself in the kitchen baking up a storm. This recipe? Is a product of that.

I think you’ll be glad for my fierce craving.

These lemon cupcakes are the best lemon dessert I’ve made. Ever.

They’re also the best lemon cupcakes I’ve ever had.

These are the Perfect Triple Lemon Cupcakes; lemon flavor in every single bite!

I’m still working myself through those bags of lemons my MIL gave me and after I made Glory’s lemon curd for my No-Bake Lemon Dessert last week, I made more.

Because you can never have enough lemon curd.

{Pssst. Buy Glory’s book. It’s amazing. Review and giveaway next week!}

So I had a jar of lemon curd in my refrigerator and was trying to decide how not to eat it with a spoon when I got an email from a reader. She’s local and used to be a neighbor of mine. Her elementary school was doing a fundraiser dinner and instead of buying dessert they were auctioning off table desserts. She asked if I’d donate two and of course, I said yes.

Hey, it’s an excuse to bake more. And, besides being a good cause, it gets the dessert out of my house.

Anyway, the lemon curd was calling my name and all of a sudden I needed a lemon cupcake.

So I made some.

These are the Perfect Triple Lemon Cupcakes; lemon flavor in every single bite!

Now, pretty much everyone I know has a lemon cupcake. Averie, Sally, Aimee, Christi, and Stephanie all have amazing recipes.

But I wanted to make my own. Because, well, I’m me.

I wanted the lemon in these cupcakes to punch you in the face with flavor. Every. Single. Bite. needed lemon.

So I made these triple lemon cupcakes. With three times the lemon!

These are the Perfect Triple Lemon Cupcakes; lemon flavor in every single bite!

The cake is based on my Perfect Vanilla Cupcake recipe (which later turned into my Perfect Funfetti Cupcake recipe). I substituted whole milk for the buttermilk and added fresh lemon juice and zest to the batter. You need about 1 large lemon (mine were pretty big and juicy, so depending on the haul at your grocery store, you might need two).

The cupcakes make the oven smell amazing, which is how you know you added enough lemon.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, you fill the center with lemon curd. I simply cut out a small section of the cupcake (a circle about the size of a dime) and spoon some curd in the hole. I used a from scratch lemon curd, but you can use jarred. They sell it near the jams and jellies at the grocery store.

Then you frost the cupcakes with lemon buttercream. Instead of vanilla, you add fresh lemon juice and lots of zest to the butter and powdered sugar. This lemon frosting is super lemony – perfect for an in-your-face lemon cupcake.

Note: you can make the frosting up to two days ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Just let it come to room temperature before frosting the cupcakes.

There you have them: triple lemon cupcakes.

These are the Perfect Triple Lemon Cupcakes; lemon flavor in every single bite!

They’re perfect. And they scream lemon…in every bite!

Perfect Triple Lemon Cupcakes

Yield: 15

These Lemon Cupcakes are perfect! They have triple the lemon flavor with lemon in the cupcake and the frosting, and they're filled with lemon curd. The perfect cupcake to bring sunshine to any day!



  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 a large lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 1 large lemon)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

Filling & Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup lemon curd (jarred or from scratch) for the filling
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (1 large lemon)
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice (1 large lemon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, for desired consistency


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with liners (makes 15-16).
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Add melted butter to a large bowl and mix in sugar with a hand mixer for 30 seconds, until thick and yellow. Add eggs one at at time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract, lemon juice, and zest.
  4. Add the flour mixture and milk alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Don’t over mix! Divide batter among liners, filling 2/3 full (about 1/4 cup of batter per cupcake). Bake for 13-18 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. (Mine took about 14 minutes.) Cool completely before frosting.
  5. To fill: cut out a small bit of the top/center of the cupcake. (Cut a hole that’s about the size of a dime and the amount of cupcake you take out is a little larger than a marble.) Fill each hole with about 1/2 - 1 tablespoon of lemon curd.
  6. To make the frosting: Beat butter until creamy. Beat in salt and 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time until it’s all added.
  7. Beat in lemon juice and zest. Add 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream and mix until smooth. Add more cream as needed for desired consistency. Frosting can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Make sure to let it come to room temperature before using.
  8. Frost cupcakes by placing frosting in a pastry bag. I like the 1M tip, it gives pretty swirls. Add extra lemon zest for decoration, if desired.


Lemon curd can be found in the jam/jelly section of most grocery stores. Or make your own.

Perfect Funfetti Cupcakes

Perfect Funfetti Cupcakes (7 of 10)w

Lemon Gooey Bars

Lemon Gooey Bars (3 of 3)w

White Chocolate Lemon Bars

White Chocolate Lemon Bars (11 of 11)w

Easy Lemon Donut Holes

Easy Lemon Donut Holes (2 of 4)w

Check out my collection of over 140 lemon recipes for more lemon ideas!

Or visit my Crazy for Lemon pinboard!

Sweets from friends:
Lemon Meringue Pudding Krispie Treats by Cookies and Cups
Lemon Raspberry Angel Food Cake by Lauren’s Latest
Lemon Poppyseed Banana Bread by Something Swanky

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90 Responses to “Perfect Triple Lemon Cupcakes”

  1. Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent posted on March 27, 2014 at 3:46 am (#)

    Love when lemon desserts are packed full of lemon. These look absolutely amazing!


  2. Chloe @ foodlikecake posted on March 27, 2014 at 4:44 am (#)

    I love very lemony desserts :-) These cupcakes look delicious!


  3. hasrie posted on March 27, 2014 at 4:55 am (#)

    hi dorothy, omg..i just love your site..i have tried your cookies,cakes and bars recepies…and it is terrific..please…do more and share more about food that high in sugar..i have a sweet tooth and i preety sure that you also have a sweet tooth…but before i end this “conversation’ would you mind to share what font are you using for your site..bcause it such a lovely font..thanks :)


  4. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel posted on March 27, 2014 at 5:36 am (#)

    LOVE the surprise filling! Such a perfect spring cupcake :)


  5. Millie posted on March 27, 2014 at 7:13 am (#)

    Mmm, there is something about lemon is cakes that makes them hard to stop eating! I think it’s the whole sweet/sour thing, because once I start eating I can’t stop hahaha! Oh I made some vegan lemon sauce that you might like the other day, it’s perfect for drizzling over cakes or pancakes :) x


  6. Chelsea @chelseasmessyapron posted on March 27, 2014 at 7:24 am (#)

    TRIPLE lemon?! This is the best lemon cupcake ever! I love that lemon filling in the inside of these cupcakes – you made it look so pretty! And if you can smell lemon you know it’s definitely a winner recipe! Pinned :)


  7. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet posted on March 27, 2014 at 7:34 am (#)

    I am all about triple lemon! Love these cupcakes!!


  8. Layla @ Brunch Time Baker posted on March 27, 2014 at 7:59 am (#)

    I can imagine biting into these cupcakes and tasting all the lemon flavor! They look amazing!


  9. Leslie posted on March 27, 2014 at 8:09 am (#)

    Ummmmmm. Why have I not found your adorable site sooner!!!!?!?!?!?!


  10. Holly @ Life in the Lofthouse posted on March 27, 2014 at 8:13 am (#)

    Oh. My. Lemon Heaven! These look sooo yummy, and your pics are to die for, Dorothy! :)


  11. Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures posted on March 27, 2014 at 8:15 am (#)

    If I can’t have spring weather, at least I can eat a delicious, tart lemon cupcake!


  12. Aimee @ Like Mother Like Daughter posted on March 27, 2014 at 8:43 am (#)

    Mmm Dorothy, these look divine! Plus lemoncurd in the middle? I want!!


  13. Rebecca Cooper posted on March 27, 2014 at 8:55 am (#)



  14. Averie @ Averie Cooks posted on March 27, 2014 at 10:36 am (#)

    I love that you took the time to FILL them. Now that is dedication that I don’t have…LOL :) They are beautiful, Dorothy!


  15. Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen posted on March 27, 2014 at 11:35 am (#)

    Dorothy these look amazingly good and so lemon-y! I can relate to your lemon cravings – I had a huge lemon dessert craving the other day and made a lemon loaf 😀 I will definitively be coming back to this recipe next time I make lemon cupcakes!


  16. Wendy posted on March 27, 2014 at 1:01 pm (#)

    There is no such thing as too much lemon flavor as far as I am concerned and anything filled with lemon curd is an instant favorite with me! ( Long, long ago even my wedding cake layered with lemon curd!) what pretty and lemony delicious spring cupcakes, Dorothy!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 27th, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      What’s funny is they wanted to add a lemon layer to our wedding cake and I was so against it because I thought lemon was horrible. I was so wrong!


  17. Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking posted on March 27, 2014 at 2:06 pm (#)

    lol I actually pinned these earlier on Pinterest because they looked soooo good! I’ve been craving lemon desserts recently and I think these are just the ticket! I’ve also had this really strange urge to make homemade lemon curd. Don’t ask. I don’t know. Can’t wait to try these out!!!1


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 27th, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      I squirted the frosting straight into my mouth, that’s how lemony good it is. :) Thanks Lindsey!


      • Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking replied on March 27th, 2014 at 7:05 pm

        Lol! I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who does that! Sometimes it’s just a finger straight to the bowl…my bad! Super excited to make these!

  18. Rhonda posted on March 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm (#)

    Saw this on G+, I am the worlds biggest lemon lover! Got em pinned and will be making these toot sweet. Love your site.


  19. Karen @ The Food Charlatan posted on March 27, 2014 at 5:32 pm (#)

    You’re speaking my language Dorothy. Lemon should always be a punch in the face. I love the curd added to the frosting!


  20. Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking posted on March 27, 2014 at 5:44 pm (#)

    I bet your tables are going to have the highest bids of the night! How could people not fall in love with bright, cheerful, sunshiny lemon cupcakes?? I’ve made lemon frosting a few years ago, but never since then… It actually never made it onto the cupcakes I was supposed to be frosting, and I ate it all with a spoon instead. Straight from the bowl. No shame — it was WAY too addictive!


  21. cheri savory spoon posted on March 27, 2014 at 5:49 pm (#)

    Wow! These look good, love lemon.


  22. Laurie F. posted on March 27, 2014 at 7:00 pm (#)

    You can never have too much lemon in a cupcake! These look like the best lemon cupcakes ever! I recently made your perfect vanilla cupcakes, and they really were perfect! Thanks for all the best-ever recipes!!!


  23. Mariah posted on March 27, 2014 at 7:17 pm (#)

    These look amazing- reminds me of summer! I must try these asap!


  24. Joanna @ the knitlit twit posted on March 27, 2014 at 7:30 pm (#)

    Oooh, maybe these will be lemony enough for my mom – she’s definitely in the eating-lemon-curd-out-of-the-jar-with-a-spoon camp!


  25. Tieghan posted on March 27, 2014 at 8:39 pm (#)

    I need to get on the lemon train. Chocolate is always good, but I need to switch it up a bit! These look amazing!


  26. Kelly - Life made Sweeter posted on March 28, 2014 at 12:43 am (#)

    I love non-wimpy lemon desserts and these look like the best lemon cupcakes ever! Triple lemon with a punch you in the face full of flavor?? I’m in love – especially with the gorgeous lemon curd filling! Can’t wait to make these – pinned.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 28th, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      Thanks for the pin Kelly!


  27. Megan - The Emotional Baker posted on March 28, 2014 at 3:56 am (#)

    Gorgeous Dorothy! You can never have too much lemon. Can’t wait to try these exciting cupcakes :)


  28. Shawn @ I Wash You Dry posted on March 28, 2014 at 7:54 am (#)

    Oh my gosh these look amazing! I love lemon so much. These would definitely brighten up my day!


  29. Joy @ Baking-Joy posted on March 28, 2014 at 10:53 am (#)

    Delicious Dorothy! I go through phases…sometimes I think I love lemon more than peanut butter, then peanut butter takes over again. At the moment, I love lemon the best :-)


  30. Tonia posted on March 28, 2014 at 8:35 pm (#)

    I LOVE lemon so these are perfect for me! Pinned!


  31. Roxy | Roxy's Kitchen posted on March 28, 2014 at 10:36 pm (#)

    I love citrus desserts and these cupcakes look amazing… triple lemon YUM!! Pinned!


  32. Mary Frances @ The Sweet Tooth Life posted on March 29, 2014 at 6:03 am (#)

    I’m a ok with being smacked by lemons haha! Especially in adorable cupcake form!


  33. Deb@CookingOnTheFrontBurner posted on March 29, 2014 at 5:57 pm (#)

    I’m a lemon lover too Dorothy! I love this recipe!! Pinning and making soon :-)


  34. Jennie @themessybakerblog posted on March 30, 2014 at 4:15 pm (#)

    These are so pretty! Love that beautiful yellow filling. Pinning.


  35. Lisa @ Wine & Glue posted on March 30, 2014 at 6:39 pm (#)

    So, I made homemade lemon curd the other day, and ever since then I have NEEEEEEDED to make more lemony desserts. I have one coming this week that is pretty much the definition of awesome lemon, but now I can just make these with the rest of my lemon curd. These look FANTASTIC!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on April 1st, 2014 at 6:52 am

      Right? It’s like kryptonite.


  36. Jocelyn@Brucrewlife posted on April 3, 2014 at 11:13 pm (#)

    Anything that has triple lemon in the title has got to be good! And sure enough your cupcakes are lemony perfection! :) Pinned!


  37. Natalie posted on April 14, 2014 at 3:53 am (#)

    5 cups in the frosting?!…. Isn’t that a lot?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on April 14th, 2014 at 7:01 am

      I know, it seems like a lot, but it’s not. It makes a lot of frosting. I never like to run out. (I hate it when I’m getting to those last few cupcakes and start sweating I’ll have to make more.)


  38. Pingback: Perfect Triple Lemon Cupcakes

  39. Laura posted on May 12, 2014 at 2:30 pm (#)

    I made this yesterday for a birthday party, they were amazing! I did alter the frosting some because I don’t like super sweet icing (used only 3 cups of powdered sugar and added 4oz of cream cheese). Everyone at the party loved them and the intense lemon flavor! Thank you for sharing and I’m very excited to have stumbled upon your site :)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 12th, 2014 at 7:08 pm

      Awesome! Thanks so much – I’m so glad you liked them Laura!


  40. Jennifer posted on May 31, 2014 at 6:05 pm (#)

    My husband is crazy for lime, so I tried these with lime instead. The were delicious, but a few things were odd. I think I added the lime juice to the batter too soon and it fizzed out with the baking powder before I could get it in the oven. (A hungry baby woke early from his nap, causing me to leave the kitchen…) The cupcakes were extremely dense. Also, the lime juice seemed to do something funny to the butter in the frosting. Totally yummy, but a very strange, grainy texture. I do love lime or lemon curd smeared on before frosting a cupcake and I will continue that practice for sure!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 31st, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      Hm, I’m sorry that happened! I’m not sure why lime would make a difference in the frosting. Possibly it reacted with the sugar or the cream? Did you use heavy cream in the frosting or make any changes to it?


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  42. Jessica posted on June 28, 2014 at 8:53 am (#)

    Would these be able to sit out at room temp without spoiling, since there is lemon curd in them? Have a wedding that wants something like this but wasnt sure if it would work. Thanks!


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  45. Sierra posted on July 19, 2014 at 9:26 am (#)

    Love these mine came put great !! How long can they last tho? Should I store on fridge to make them last longer ?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 19th, 2014 at 5:37 pm

      You can store them in the fridge for sure (once they are frosted you should, so it doesn’t get melty). They’ll last a few days. They’re best room temperature for eating. You can also freeze the cupcakes (unfrosted) for up to a month! :) Glad you liked them!


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  47. Beth posted on August 18, 2014 at 10:27 am (#)

    Could this recipe be used for a layer cake? If so, how many batches would you think for 5-6 layers? Double or triple the recipe?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on August 18th, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      My goal for the next month or so is to turn my cupcakes into layer cakes! I’m not sure how many layers a batch would make, since I’ve never done it. I think if you double it you should get 3-4 8″ layer cakes you could torte! Let me know if it works.


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  49. Jen Papaya posted on September 15, 2014 at 8:29 am (#)

    I did a test batch of these for a wedding I am baking for in a few weeks.  I absolutely LOVED the taste, but they were a bit heavier than I was hoping for.  Do you think subbing cake flour would help make them a bit softer?  Thanks!


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  51. Stacy Martin posted on January 5, 2015 at 9:58 pm (#)

    If I double this recipe to 3 cups flour, do I really need 6 eggs? Seems like a lot…


    • Dorothy Kern replied on January 6th, 2015 at 7:01 am

      If you’re doubling the recipe to get twice as many cupcakes, then yes!


  52. Vicky posted on January 22, 2015 at 1:31 am (#)


    Can you pls inform the 1 stick unsalted butter, melted, in grammars? And more thing, is it possible to replace the vannilla extract with stick or chemical powder vanilla (vanillin)?
    Thank you in advance for your response!


  53. I posted on February 19, 2015 at 2:31 pm (#)

    These are so yummy! Best cupcakes I’ve EVER MADE!!!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on February 19th, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed them! :)


  54. GlitchShampoo posted on February 21, 2015 at 4:55 am (#)

    one cup=how much ounces??
    one teaspoon=how much ounces??


  55. Denise posted on February 27, 2015 at 3:17 pm (#)

    Can you use 1% milk instead of whole milk in cupcake recipe?


  56. Maddie posted on March 1, 2015 at 6:04 am (#)

    Does the melted butter need to be cooled or still warm ?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 1st, 2015 at 11:18 am

      I just melt and go, so no need to wait!


  57. Pingback: These are the Perfect Triple Lemon Cupcakes; lemon flavor in every single bite! - My Pinterest Cookbook

  58. Pingback: These are the Perfect Triple Lemon Cupcakes; lemon flavor in every single bite! - My Pinterest Cookbook

  59. Samra Thompson posted on March 21, 2015 at 5:08 pm (#)

    I’m SO looking forward to this recipe! Thank you! it looks beyond delicious!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 23rd, 2015 at 6:51 am

      Thanks Samra! I hope you enjoyed them as much as we did!


  60. Allison posted on April 14, 2015 at 1:52 pm (#)

    I made these for a friend’s birthday who loves Lemon cake, and they tasted delicious! The frosting was especially lemony. However, my cupcakes came out so dense that even the cupcake box seemed unusually heavy. Any ideas on why this might have happened?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on April 14th, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      I’m glad you liked them! They are a dense cupcake; it’s from using all-purpose flour. I like my cupcakes more dense, especially when I fill them!


  61. Isha posted on May 31, 2015 at 3:41 pm (#)

    Hi, I’m wondering if I could reduce the vanilla in half? And also if I skip the lemon filling will they be dense? Thanks!!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 31st, 2015 at 4:45 pm

      These are dense cupcakes. If you want airier ones, try using cake flour. And yes, you can reduce the vanilla!


  62. i posted on June 7, 2015 at 9:32 am (#)

    Should the baking time/oven temperature for the cupcakes be changed if I make them mini? Is a 1/2 teaspoon too less of vanilla?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on June 7th, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      Just cut the amount of vanilla in half from what the recipe calls for, and yes be sure and check the baking time. If you’re making mini cupcakes it will not take that much time. Start checking at 8 minutes and go from there!


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