I love lemon desserts. They’re easily one of my favorites in anything – cakes, cookies, bars, you name it. And lemon totally reminds me of springtime, but without the allergies, sinus infections, pollen everywhere, and random days of hot weather that spring usually brings.
All that I can do without.
And one of the first things I baked when I first started baking was lemon bars. Well… my version of lemon bars. It was simply lemon cake mix, baked into a bar recipe, and studded with white chocolate chips. They were so simple but so delicious, and to this day they’re still one of my family’s favorite recipes.
These Lemon Bar Cupcakes get their name because they have lemon bar filling inside the cupcake and in the luscious frosting. They’re sweet, tart, and bursting with lemon flavor from that irresistible lemon bar filling, and they have just the right hint of crunch and sparkle from the yellow sugar sprinkled on top.
Springtime in a cupcake – with no traces of allergies? Sign me up!
- 1 box lemon cake mix, plus ingredients on back of box
- 1 small box lemon pudding mix (just the dry mix - I used sugar free, but you can use any kind)
- 1 can Duncan Hines Lemon Pie Filling
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- About 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- Yellow sanding sugar, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350* degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 18 paper liners. Set aside. Meanwhile, prepare the cake mix according to package directions on back of box. Stir in the lemon dry pudding mix to incorporate.
- Fill each muffin tin about ¾ of the way full with the batter. Bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool the cupcakes completely.
- Using a small paring knife or a cupcake corer, core the cupcakes and discard centers, being careful not to puncture through the cupcake's bottom. You only want to core about halfway through the cupcake. Fill with some of the lemon pie filling.
- Now, to make your frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, vanilla extract, and ⅓ cup of the lemon pie filling until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy. You may not need all of the powdered sugar. If frosting becomes too thick, add in a little more lemon pie filling.
- Spoon the frosting into a piping bag attached with a large open-star tip. Begin piping the frosting onto the cupcakes, taking care to cover the lemon filling in the center. Sprinkle immediately with the yellow sanding sugar. Serve immediately, or store cupcakes airtight at room temperature for up to a day, or airtight in the fridge for up to 3 days.
You guys – I cannot emphasize enough at how marvelous these cupcakes are! So light and fluffy, with that creamy lemon bar frosting and the gooey lemon bar filling. These are the ultimate springtime lemon cupcakes for a lemon dessert lover!