The mild and sweet flavor of Meyer lemon is one of Martha’s favorites; these zest-flecked cupcakes are filled with Meyer lemon curd, which peeks out from the tops. The fruit, which is actually a lemon-orange hybrid, is generally available at specialty stores in winter and early spring. If you can’t find Meyer lemons, use regular lemons instead. The recipe yields a lot of cupcakes, so you may want to consider these for a bake sale or large gathering, such as a shower or special birthday celebration.

Meyer Lemon Cupcakes
Yield: 42 Servings

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons finely grated Meyer lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice (from 1 to 2 Meyer lemons)
7 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
lemon curd (see link below for recipe)
3 cups granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, zest, baking powder, and salt.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in cream cheese. Reduce speed to low. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, beating until just combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

To finish, dust cupcakes with confectioners’ sugar. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a coupler and a medium round tip (#8) with curd. Insert tip into top of each cupcake, and squeeze some curd below top to fill the inside, then lift the tip and squeeze more curd in a pool on top. Filled cupcakes can be kept at room temperature up to 1 hour (or refrigerated a few hours more) before serving.

Recipe excerpted from: Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone’s Favorite Treat by the Editors of Martha Stewart Living; photos by Con Poulos and others 2009 Clarkson Potter.


“Koi made from circus peanuts transform a simple platter of cupcakes into a golden pond. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make the bodies and fins. The fish float on overlapping blue and white paper bubbles.” – Karen Tack

Hello, Cupcake! cookbook

Playing Koi Cupcakes
Makes 1 pond: 24 koi cupcakes

24 vanilla cupcakes baked in blue paper liners
1 can (16 ounces) plus 1/2 cup vanilla frosting
Blue food coloring
48 orange circus peanuts
48 orange peanut-butter-filled candy-coated chocolates(peanut butter M&M’s)
24 orange cereal O’s (Froot Loops, Apple Jacks)
48 brown mini chocolates (M&M’s Minis)
White and light blue candy-coated chocolates (M&M’s) for serving (optional)
White and light blue paper circles (optional)

Spoon 1/2 cup of the vanilla frosting into a small ziplock bag, press out the air, seal, and set aside.

Tint the remaining can of vanilla frosting pale blue with a few drops of the blue food coloring. Cover and set aside.

Place 24 of the circus peanuts on their sides and cut lengthwise into 2 slices, to make 48 slices for the fins. Lay each slice flat and cut each in half on the diagonal to make 96 pieces.

For the bodies, place the remaining 24 circus peanuts flat side down and make a diagonal cut from one short end, removing no more than 1/4 inch.

Spread the tops of the cupcakes with the light blue frosting and smooth. Place 1 of the circus-peanut bodies on top of each of the frosted cupcakes. Arrange the fins, pointed ends up, placing 2 at the uncut end of the circus-peanut body and 2 on either side in the middle.

Snip a small corner from the bag with the vanilla frosting. Pipe a large dot of frosting at the cut end of the circus peanut body. Press 2 orange candies into the dot of frosting for the eyes and the cereal O for the mouth. Pipe small dots of vanilla frosting on the orange candies and add the brown candies for the pupils. Repeat on all of the koi bodies with the remaining frosting and candies.

If you like, arrange the cupcakes on a surface with circles cut from white and blue paper and sprinkle the platter with white and light blue candies.

Adapted from the book Hello, Cupcake! by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Copyright © 2008 by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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