Lemon is one of my most favorite flavors of spring. The tangy and sweet combo of these cupcakes is amazing. The cupcake is super light and airy and the buttercream is smooth and creamy. So good!
Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Meringue Buttercream
- 3 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
Lemon Meringue Buttercream
- 1 1/2 cups sugar divided into 1 cup and 1/2 cup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 6 egg whites
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 cups unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp grated lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two 12-cup cupcake tins with liners.
- In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a different small bowl, mix together the egg whites, buttermilk, and lemon juice. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar and lemon zest for about 1 minute. Then add the flour mixture on low speed and mix for about 1 minute.
- Add butter and mix on low speed until if forms a very crumbly mixture, about 2-3 minutes.
- Still on low speed, pour in the egg white mixture and mix for about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl down halfway through.
- Pour the cupcake mixture into the cupcake liners, filling about 3/4 full. (You can use a 1/4 measuring cup also.)
- Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cupcakes cool for about 30 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
Lemon Meringue Buttercream
- In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the sugar, water, and cream of tartar. Stir to make sure all the sugar is covered. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. (do not stir)
- While the sugar mixture comes to a boil, in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg white on low speed.
- Once the sugar mixture comes to a boil, increase the stand mixer speed to medium. Then attach a candy thermometer to the inside of the saucepan. (still do not stir the sugar mixture)
- When the egg whites start to froth, add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, one tablespoon at a time, keeping the speed at medium.
- When the sugar mixture reaches 235 degrees increase the mixer speed to high. The egg whites should reach soft peaks before the next step.
- Make sure to keep an eye on the sugar temperature. When it reaches 240 degrees remove the syrup from the heat and slowly pour it into the egg white in a slow steady speed along the side of the inside of the mixer bowl, not into the whisk as this will whip the hot syrup onto the sides of the bowl. Leaving the speed on high during this step.
- Once all the syrup is added lower the speed to medium, add the salt and then let the mixture whip until it cools to room temperature. This typically takes about 10 minutes.
- Once cooled, turn the speed up to high and add the butter one tablespoon at a time making sure it is mixed in before adding the next. (The buttercream can start to look curdled but just continue mixing and you will see it come together.)
- Once all the butter has been added, mix in the lemon juice and zest on high speed.
- Buttercream can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days. (Do not put in fridge, it changes the texture of the icing.)