These lemon meringue cupcakes are so lemony and fresh! Like the pie, the cupcakes are piled high with meringue frosting. You’ll want to make these lemon meringue cupcakes all spring and summer long!
How to Make Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
If you are new to making cupcakes, read my post all about cupcakes before getting started.
These cupcakes begin with my vanilla cupcake batter.
Then, each filled cupcake liner gets a dollop of lemon meringue filling before baking. (For the filling in these cupcakes, I use Noble Pig’s mom’s mile-high lemon meringue pie filling recipe made with fresh lemon zest. I’ve rewritten that recipe below to make things easy for you.)
In the oven, the two combine to create a dense, custard-like cupcake.
Top the cupcakes with a huge a pile of meringue and use a culinary torch to create a fun toasted marshmallow effect. (Tip: Instead of tossing your leftover egg yolks from making the meringue, freeze them!)
Because these cupcakes are heavy and very moist, they work best when baked in very sturdy baking cups. Although you can use traditional cupcake liners, you will likely find that the moisture in the cake causes the liners to get wet and not look as pretty.
Store the cupcakes in the refrigerator up to three days and bring to room temperature before eating.
If you don’t want to mess with making the filling, you can make an easier version of this my making my lemon cupcake recipe instead of this one and topping it with the meringue frosting. It will still be absolutely delicious! Those cupcakes are also great with lemon buttercream (shown below) and lemon cream cheese frosting.
Another shortcut you can take (instead of baking the filling into the cupcakes) is to make filled cupcakes after the cupcakes have baked using store-bought lemon curd (like I do in my lemon curd cupcakes).
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
Vanilla Cupcake Ingredients
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 14 tablespoons cake flour 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons; do not use self-rising flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 3 tablespoons full-fat sour cream
- 2 tablespoons canola oil or vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup whole milk
Lemon Filling Ingredients
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- pinch salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 large egg yolks slightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Toasted Meringue Topping Ingredients
- 7 large egg whites
- 2 cups sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vanilla Cupcake Instructions
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together sugar, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. Because there is so little butter, you'll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
- Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined. The batter will be liquid. (Don't worry, you didn't do anything wrong. It's supposed to be that way.)
- Divide batter evenly between 12 baking cups. They should be about 1/3 full.
Lemon Filling Instructions
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, flour, and salt.
- Slowly add water, stirring until mixed well.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, and cook for 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and slowly pour half of the hot mixture into the egg yolks, stirring constantly. If you pour too much too quickly you can accidentally cook the eggs - bad news.
- Stirring constantly, pour the eggs back into the pot, return to a boil, and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the zest, lemon juice, and butter.
- Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring to ensure that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
- Divide filling evenly between the baking cups on top of the cupcake batter. After adding the lemon filling, the cups should be just over halfway filled.
- Bake for 18 minutes or until the cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched. They may have divots from the weight of the lemon filling and that's OK. You will be covering the surfaces up.
Toasted Meringue Topping Instructions
- Set a metal mixing bowl (I suggest using the one from your stand-mixer if you own one) over a pot of boiling water and fill with egg whites, sugar, and salt.
- Stir the mixture constantly for about 3 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved and the eggs reach 110 F. If you don't have a candy thermometer, don't sweat the exact temperature. The whole point is to heat the eggs a little so that they are safe to eat.
- Place the bowl on a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or use a hand-held electric mixer and mix on high speed for 8 minutes.
- Add the vanilla.
- Mix for another 5 minutes or until the mixture forms shiny, stiff peaks.
- Use a spoon to pile high onto cooled cupcakes. Have fun pulling up different sections of the meringue to sculpt peaks.
- Use a culinary torch to toast the frosting - be careful not to burn the baking cups or yourself.