Happy Spring my friends! Nothing says Springtime quite like these gorgeous little Lemon Meringue Cupcakes, don’t ya think? Add a little sunshine to your life with this cute lemony treat. These show stopping cupcakes are a fun spinoff on the classic and very delicious lemon meringue pie. The melt-in-your-mouth homemade meringue topping is piled high on this subtley sweet lemon flavored cupcake. But wait! There’s even a surprise lemon pie filling hidden inside. I know what you’re thinking, that sounds like a lot of steps. But our easy to follow recipe, and a few shortcuts, help to make this one a piece of cake! Or should I say cupcake?
Here’s all you’ll need: lemon cake mix, canola oil, eggs, lemon zest, lemon pie filling, egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar.
Let’s just jump right in with a shortcut right out of the gate…a boxed cake mix! Now I’m all about baking from scratch in most situations, but hey, life gets hectic and we can all use a little shortcut every once in awhile, right? Plus we’re going to dress this up a little bit, so I promise no one will know.
Combine the lemon cake mix, water, oil, eggs, and lemon zest in a large bowl. It’s simple to create lemon zest. Just run the peel of a lemon against a grater. Lemon zest helps to pump up that bright citrusy flavor. Beat with a hand mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Then kick it up to medium speed and continue to mix for another two minutes.
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes are most definitely that special occasion that you’ve been saving those pretty paper lined muffin cups for. So line a muffin pan with the cutest paper lined muffin cups you can find, then fill each cup two thirds of the way full with batter.
When baking muffins or cupcakes in paper cups, I always line the bottom of the each cavity in the pan with a little bit of rice. This prevents any residual oil that’s left in the baking pan from seeping up and ruining those beautiful, decorative paper lined muffin cups without interfering with the baking. Just enough rice to cover the bottom of the pan will do the trick! (but this step is not necessary to bake this recipe if you don’t have rice on hand, skip it).
Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 18-22 minutes. When you can insert a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean, no clumps or stickiness, then you know they’re done!
It doesn’t matter what I’m making, when I’m using two baking pans I ALWAYS use the top and middle racks of the oven. It also helps to switch the position of the pans halfway through baking. So the pan that’s on the middle rack gets moved to the top rack and vice versa. This helps to ensure that all the cupcakes bake evenly since the heat in most ovens isn’t consistent throughout. You’ll definitely see an improvement in your baking!
Meanwhile let’s whip up that lemon pie filling while the cupcakes are baking and cooling. Insert time saving shortcut here!! Store bought lemon pie filling helps to shave a little bit of time from this recipe and gives you more time to finish laundry, enjoy your coffee, and get outdoors and enjoy some of that sunshine. You’re welcome!
You can find lemon filling in the baking aisle. It may say lemon creme filling or just lemon filling on the label and it usually comes in a box or a can. Our box mix required a little bit of prep work, but I promise it was easy peasy (lemon squeezy).
Once the cupcakes are completely cool, we can add the lemon pie filling. I used a piping bag with a round piping tip, then inserted it into the middle of the cupcake and gently squeezed until the filling reached the top of the cupcake. You can also use a melon baller or a small pairing knife to scoop out the center of the cupcake and then spoon in the filling into the middle. Both methods work just fine, it’s all about what you have on hand.
Now it’s time for that soft and fluffy meringue topping! And this one’s all homemade, no shortcuts here. Add the egg whites and cream of tartar to a large bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Soft peaks will barely hold their shape. When the beaters are lifted the peaks will flop.
Gradually beat in the sugar, a little bit at a time, at a high speed until the sugar is is dissolved. Continue to beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. Stiff peaks will stand up straight when the beaters are lifted (see below picture).
Pipe the meringue topping over the tops of the cupcakes using the piping tip of your choice. You can get fancy with a star tip or keep it simple with a round tip. Whatever tip you use, make sure your topping is piled sky high!
No piping tips, no problem. Spoon the meringue topping over the cupcakes to cover. Be sure to create a heaping mound of meringue deliciousness! The more meringue the better!! It’s easiest if you leave the cupcakes in the pan to complete this step because the topping can be a little sticky at this point.
Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 5-8 minutes or until the meringue is toasty and golden brown. You’ll want to stay close to the oven and keep an eagle eye watch while they’re baking. Meringue can turn from perfectly golden to completely scorched quicker than you’d think! So pay close attention to those tops.
Cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then remove to wire racks and finish cooling. Store Lemon Meringue Cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to eat. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready right NOW!!! If you’re all about timesaving recipes to impress, then you’ll wanna try our Chocolate Overload Cake next!
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
- 1 box lemon flavored cake mix
- 1-1/3 cups water
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1 cup lemon pie filling
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Step 1 Combine the lemon cake mix, water, oil, eggs, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Beat with a hand mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Switch to medium speed and continue to mix for another two minutes.
- Step 2 Line a muffin pan with paper lined muffin cups. Fill each cup two thirds of the way full with cake batter. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Step 3 Once cupcakes are cool, pipe filling into the center of each cupcake with a piping bag and a round tip. You can also use a melon baller or a pairing knife to cut a small hole in the center of the cupcake and spoon in the lemon pie filling by hand.
- Step 4 Add the egg whites and cream of tartar to a large bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar, a little bit at a time, at a high speed until the sugar is is dissolved. Continue to beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form.
- Step 5 Pipe the meringue topping over the tops of the cupcakes using the piping tip of your choice. Or use a spoon to mound up heaps of meringue topping to cover the cupcakes.
- Step 6 Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 5-8 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown. Keep a close, watchful eye on the topping. Meringue can burn quickly.
- Step 7 Cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then remove to wire racks and finish cooling. Store Lemon Meringue Cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Enjoy!
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