Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

In my backyard, rooted deep below the soil I tend and churn and adorn with fleeting flowers of all shapes and colors, stands an old silver maple tree. Its arms and fingers reach out in all directions hiding the ground from the harsh sun and even sometimes providing reprieve from a heavy rain. Leaves of dark green on one side and silver green on the other dance and shake about in light caressing winds, showing both sides of their manic personality.


Just for a second enough of the shimmering leaves part and let me peak through to the sky. My hazel eyes, mimicking the green in the leaves and the golden brown of the trunk, stare up and catch a hint of yellow and orange on a faraway limb. And just then I feel the cold breeze of a northern front reach down to the ground and wrap me up in a shivery burst of a hug.


The chilly air may only be a cursory taste of the coming season, but the gold, orange and red leaves of my proud maple are here to stay. This tall, majestic maple is a freak among the everlasting green giants of the south and the unimaginative deciduous monsters that somehow make the jump from bright green to ugly brown in a day and then bare branches in another day. But this maple, as strange as it is, is the most beautiful oddity on the street.


So as I watch my tree change colors and signal a season I wont feel for another month, I begin to wonder what autumn will have in store for me. I begin to crave those fall-time treats I rely on so much, those comestible beauties we all flood to when the weather chills. But then I begin to salivate for treats that, even though they may not symbolize fall or changing weather or any specific magical time to anyone else, mean the world to me.


For eighteen years, as I grew from a small 8 pound infant into a, still small for my age, 120 pound teenager, I could count on the famous van Kraayenburg lemon meringue pie to pop up around this time. My fathers favorite, he’d always clamor for it around his September birthday. And for us, a family of four, the tart, sweet, fruity pie was more than enough to signal a season of fall cravings. Now eight years later, nearly a decade after I left and went out on my own, I still find myself reaching for this lemony confection in early September.


I’m sure this tradition will last with me for decades more.


As with any filled cupcake, this one has three parts. Is it worth it? You bet! I honestly can’t decide if I like these lemon meringue cupcakes or the classic lemon meringue pie more. Give these a try and decide for yourself!



Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe by:
  • 4 ounces butter, at room temperature
  • 5 ounces sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 ounces flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Tart Lemon Filling (recipe below)
  • Italian Meringue (recipe below)
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a muffin pan with paper cups.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest. Set aside.
  3. Cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes on medium.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each to make sure it is blended in completely.
  5. Add half of the dry ingredient mix and blend in well on medium-low speed until just mixed. Add all of the buttermilk and mix until just blended. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until the batter just comes together.
  6. Evenly spoon the batter into the lined muffin pan. Each cup should only be filled about three-quarters.
  7. Bake the cupcakes for 18 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out just clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and lip the cupcakes on their side in the pan to let air circulate around them. Let them cool completely
  9. Using a cookie cutter or a paring knife, cut out a small portion of the center of the cupcake
  10. (make sure to leave enough around the edges to keep the cupcake structurally sound).
  11. Using a piping bag or spoon, fill the hole in the cupcake with the tart lemon filling so that it is level with top of the cupcake.
  12. Using an icing spatula, top each cupcake with a portion of the Italian meringue, styling it like you would a lemon meringue pie. Using a propane torch, fire the frosting to caramelize the outside, careful not to burn the tips.


Lemon Filling: This lemon filling is essentially identical to a lemon meringue pie filling. It is very easy to make and will store well in the fridge for about a week. As it has cornstarch, you can heat it directly over the heat and bring it to a boil without concern for cooking the eggs, just be sure to stir constantly. Take care not to boil the mixture longer than 30 seconds though or the cornstarch may break down

Lemon Curd
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe by:
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 ounces sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg  yolks
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a heavy bottomed pot. Heat over medium heat.
  2. Cook the mixture until it comes to a boil and is thick enough to coat a spoon, stirring constantly.
  3. Let the mixture cool completely.

Italian Meringue: While italian meringue is decidedly the most difficult of the meringue methods, it is the only one that doesn’t require cooking or baking after making. It is also the most sturdy of the meringues and will not deflate in a hurry. This is why it is almost exclusively the only meringue I make. Oh, and did I mention it tastes like delicious marshmallow cream?

Italian Meringue
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe by:
  • 8 ounces sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup egg whites
  1. Place the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Bring the sugar to 240°F.
  2. While the sugar is heating, begin whipping the egg whites until the are fluffy and have expanded 2 to 3 times in volume.
  3. Once the sugar is at 240°F and the egg whites are foamy, immediately begin slowly adding the hot sugar into the egg whites while whipping at medium-high speed. Be sure to add the sugar very in a needle thin stream in between the whisk attachment and the side of the mixer bowl.
  4. Once the sugar is added, whip the mixture at high speed until it is completely cooled and the egg whites form stiff peaks, about 20 minutes.



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AUTHOR - Russell van Kraayenburg

Food nerd. Cookbook author. Founder of Chasing Delicious. Pastry cook at Fluff Bake Bar. Lover of hot dogs. Russell van Kraayenburg founded Chasing Delicious in 2010 and has been chasing delicious recipes ever since. Russell is author of the cookbooks Haute Dogs and Making Dough.


  • Maria

    WOW! Gorgeous cupcakes!

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food

    Look at that filling ooze out of there. Hot!

  • Marcello Arena

    OMG i love tihis cupcakes
    and you are a poet ♥

  • RavieNomNoms

    Wow, aren’t these just he most gorgeous cupcakes you have ever seen??

  • Melissa {Being a Bear}

    Love that shot with the lemon filling oozing out! Fairly desperate for something lemony now. :)

  • Karen

    I don’t know which I adore more – your incredibly talented writing, your beautiful photography or your mouth-watering recipes! I love getting one of your posts in my inbox, and I always take the time to slow down and read the whole thing top to bottom. And it’s always worth it. Thanks!

  • French spoon

    These are going to be my next cupcakes! thank you!

  • Riley

    These are so beautiful! I love lemon anything!

  • for the love of the south

    I too have a fair maple burning with various degrees of amber that I gander at through my window. There is something comforting about fall, like what you described in above, for comfort foods that are not technically “fall” foods. Anywho,the smell of slightly burnt meringues remind me of a bonfire, in the fall! Therefore, I pronounce this recipe autumnal!

  • Erika

    Such vivid imagery in each of your stories.. I can picture the scene in my mind.. and there are just no words to describe that last picture.. Gorgeous.. !

  • Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic

    I love your September tradition. This lemon meringue cupcake definitely looks like it’s worth the time and effort!

  • Caramel et Fleur de Sel

    Today, It’s been a little chilly here a well. I love this change of season … Fall is my favorite and the most beautiful time of the year. Your lemon meringue cupcakes look so delicious! Wish I had one right now to enjoy with my cup of coffee!

  • thelittleloaf

    Gorgeous cupcakes! I love the crispy top and oozing middle. Lemon meringue pie is heaven but these look just as delicious.

  • Jenn Baker (@jbakernyc)

    The filling is the money shot.

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    Beautifully written post! I love these cupcakes, they are just gorgeous!

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    These are stunning! I absolutely adore these cupcakes!!

  • wendy


  • Natasha

    The photos, and the cupcakes, are stunning! Love all that lemon curd oozing out! Yum!

  • Jen @ Juanita's Cocina

    Dear lord, my lemon-loving heart is swooning! Gorg!

  • Ilan (IronWhisk Blog)

    I love lemon meringue cupcakes! In fact I made my own with strawberry curd. These look amazing! :)

  • Joanna @ Chic & Gorgeous Treats

    Look at the glorious lemon curd filling oozing out and those luscious Italian meringue frosting sitting on the cuppie, all so rustic and classy. Boy! you sure have a way to a girl’s heart too. I am melting here.. but you won’t be able to see it ;). Great presentation and I do always treasure traditions in family. Cheerios~

  • Kankana

    I have love for anything citric and lemon for one never runs out in my kitchen. Loved the article, as always .. beautiful memories and the cup cake looks stunning!

  • Jeanette

    I love reading your posts Russell – so poetic! So fun to carry on family traditions, and I love your version in cupcake form. I’ve never tried making meringue pie before, but have always been intrigued by the mile high fluffiness.

  • Sommer@ASpicyPerspective

    Russell when I got to the photo with the lemon filling oozing out, I died! Lovely story too. :)

  • Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

    Funny, lemon meringue is a favorite of my dad, too. These look so delicious! It’s so refreshing to have a cupcake frosted with something different than the usual buttercream. Gorgeous post, Russel!

  • Kathryn

    Love that last picture. Serious citrus craving right now.

  • Martina C.

    Oh, wow, Russell, these cupcakes look so beautiful and delicious.. The picture are wonderful, as usual, Love them <3

  • joey @ 80 Breakfasts

    Lovely cupcake and lovely post…you have a way with words and sweets!

  • Joanne

    Such a gorgeously written post. Even though the weather has not quite changed here yet, the plants seem to know that it is coming. Strange.

    I’ve never really associated lemon meringue with any season, but I could be made to do so…I just need to get these cuties made. They look delicious!

  • Anina @ Aninas Recipes

    Hi Russell! How I LOVE lemon meringue pie! For me it also brings back great memories of working in my very own busy bakery – whipping out about 8 pies at a time. I absolutely adore your blog, such creative and inspiring writing! Beautiful pics and recipe – will be sure to try this soon!

  • shelly (cookies and cups)

    I’m not sure I have ever wanted a cupcake as badly as I do right now. Love lemon meringue!

  • Diane {Created by Diane}

    Just beautiful! I could see these disappearing REALLY fast.

  • TidyMom

    My dad would have loved these! Lemon Meringue pie was one of his favorites!! Beautiful pictures, as always!

  • Lisa | With Style and Grace

    I wouldn’t mind doing a face plant in this little piece of heaven!

  • Trish

    I have GOT to get myself a torch. I keep seeing all of these fabulous recipes that really shine because of them!
    Next on the wishlist..


  • Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies

    I bought myself a lemon cupcake from a fancypants bakery today, but I think you have theirs beat. While I love pumpkin and apple recipes, it’s nice to have a lemon one to break things up a bit!

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    I vote for cupcakes, a pretty presentation in a portable form.

  • Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

    wow my mouth is watering!

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    I need to get a blowtorch! and that delicious cupcakes :)

  • Roxana | Roxana's Home Baking

    Oh my! Just look at the filling oozing out! And the meringue? Oh, i’m so craving one right now!

  • Laura Dembowski

    These cupcakes look mouth wateringly good! That lemon filling seals the deal for me. Italian meringue is one of my favorite things to eat and make. What a great story behind the cupcakes too!

  • JulieD

    Ooh I love this!! What a wonderful lemon meringue pie – I think you give us the best of both worlds with the traditionally pie flavor in a cupcake!

  • Kathy - Panini Happy

    Well, don’t these look just AMAZING!

  • Tina @ More Please Recipes

    These cupcakes look amazing! My dad loves everything lemon meringue, so I’m sure he’d love these. But I’ve never used a blow torch before . . . too ambitious?!

    • Russell

      You can pop the cupcakes under the broiler for just a little bit to get a similar effect. I just happen to like using a torch in the kitchen!

      Thank you for the kind words too!

  • Stephanie

    Autumn is coming! I think I’d perfect the cupcakes so I can eat in moderation. =)

  • Carla

    Humm! Delicious! Please check out this t-shirt I designed for serious cooks and chefs! :) Thanks

  • Katie (A Fork in Hand)

    So nice to see that I’m not the only one feeling nostalgic this time of year. Your prose is lovely and the cupcakes look nothing short of divine!

  • Rebecca Elliott

    Wow! These are absolutely gorgeous. Truly show stoppers. Can’t wait to try them!

  • Kristi @ My San Francisco Kitchen

    Wow, your cupcakes are beautiful. They remind me of my grandma because she always makes meringues =)

  • Julia

    Wow, your photos are as light and crisp as those lemon meringue cupcakes must taste like!

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  • Maria

    Gorgeous. Couldn’t I add the lemon zest to my go-to yellow cake recipe? I want to stay loyal to that cake recipe but would like to introduce the zest and filling for a change as we welcome spring.

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  • Joy Betonio-Rooney


    How many cupcakes are made with this recipe?

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