The summer season is fast approaching which means it’s time to start whipping up some summery dessert flavours like these utterly delicious lemon poppy seed cupcakes. The fluffy lemon and poppy seed sponge hides a hidden zesty lemon curd centre and is topped with a light and creamy lemon buttercream. These little bites of sunshine are refreshingly sweet and fruity which pairs perfectly with the sweet silky smooth buttercream swirl on top! Take a look at my super simple coeliac-friendly recipe below for cupcakes that you won’t believe are gluten-free!
If you’re a fan of lemon, then you’ll love these cupcakes. Not only are they ridiculously simple to whip up, they taste utterly delicious and look divine! You don’t need to be an expert for these, as I’ll explain in the recipe below.
How do you make these cupcakes?
So, how are easy are these cupcakes to whip up. Well, we start off by rubbing the lemon zest into the sugar with fingertips to release the natural oils found in the zest. This will not only smell incredible due to the aromatic properties of the zest, but add a more intense flavour to the cupcakes!
Next, it’s time to cream the margarine and sugar together in a mixer in what is known as the creaming method. Once thoroughly combined, a light and fluffy texture will have been achieved. It is imperative that the margarine, even though always softer than butter to start off with, is at room temperature for this so that the ingredients can be incorporated into the mixture correctly.
Once finished with the creaming method, the eggs are whisked in one at a time until a gloopy mixture forms. Be careful not to overmix here but we do want them to be whisked in completely!
The poppy seeds are added next and mixed in too.
In a separate bowl, the flour, salt, Xanthan Gum and baking powder is sifted together and then slowly added to the wet ingredients and mixed in until just incorporated. We don’t want to overmix and lose those nice air bubbles that we achieved already, but we do want to make sure that there are no pockets of flour left in the mixture.
The mixture is then scooped into 12 cupcake cases (or 6 if you’ve chosen to do a small batch) and baked at 160 degrees in a fan assisted oven for around 20-25 minutes, until slightly golden and springy to the touch.
After cooling, a hole is created in the centre and a dollop of tart lemon meringue is spooned in.
The buttercream topping is whipped up, piped on in a beautiful swirl and then sprinkled with more poppy seeds and zest to finish!
What equipment do I need for these cupcakess?
- 12-hole cupcake baking tray
- 12 (or 6 large cupcake cases)- I actually use muffin cases (50 x 44mm) because you can really fill them up and have some decent sized cupcakes at the end
- Piping bag fitted with a large open-star tip (Wilton 1M)
What ingredients do I need?
Sugar – White caster sugar adds structure and sweetness to these cupcakes
Eggs – Eggs are needed to add structure to the cupcakes and to help them to rise in the baking process, room temperature is essential for all eggs in this recipe.
Margarine – Margarine works wonders in cupcakes, hence why I’d recommend sticking to a margarine spread like Stork rather than a butter. Unsalted butter can be used at room temperature but you won’t get a super light and fluffy cupcake like you would with margarine
Gluten-free flour – A gluten-free flour blend which contains a variety of flours is perfect for gluten-free baking. This ensures the cupcakes contain all of the necessary components needed to create the perfect crumb which a gluten-containing flour would naturally contain. For these cupcakes I like to use a self-raising flour such as Dove’s Farm or Schär- Cake and Cookie Mix C
Xanthan gum – Xanthan gum is essential for most gluten free recipes and there’s no exceptions here. Doves Farm is my preferred choice but you can use any brand. Xanthan Gum is a gluten replacement for gluten-free baking and helps to replace the lost elasticity that gluten provides, keeping your cupcakes together and stopping them from crumbling into dry pieces later on
Baking powder – Baking powder acts as a leavening agent, helping the cupcakes to rise. Any baking powder will work, just again, check that it is definitely gluten-free as not all brands are.
Salt – A pinch of salt in a recipe enhances the flavours of the other ingredients and offsets the sweetness of the cupcakes
Lemon zest – The zest of two lemons will give the cupcakes an intense flavour
Lemon curd – Homemade or shop-bought lemon curd can be used to fill the cupcakes
Poppy seeds – Poppy seeds are stirred into the wet mixture and sprinkled on top of the buttercream
Tips & Tricks
Room temperature ingredients are essential for this recipe to work. Room temperature ingredients ensures that they all can be mixed together thoroughly. If you forget to take your eggs out of the fridge beforehand, place them in a bowl of lukewarm, not hot, water 15 minutes prior to baking to bring them to room temperature quickly.
Uniform-sized cupcakes – I like to use an ice cream scoop to spoon my mixture into the cases. This way the cupcakes are likely to have a more uniform size after baking.
The toothpick test is a great way to check whether your cupcakes are done. As all ovens are calibrated differently, the baking times stated are always suggested a a rough guide. To check if the cupcakes are done, insert a toothpick into the middle of a cupcake and if it comes out with no crumbs stuck to it, you can assume that the cupcakes are baked through and ready to come out.
Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes
For the cupcakes
- 230 g gluten-free self-raising flour blend
- 230 g margarine softened, room temperature
- 230 g caster sugar
- 4 medium free-range eggs room temperature
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- zest of 2 lemons
- ¼ tsp Xanthan Gum
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1½ tsp baking powder
For the filling
- 12 tsp lemon curd
For the buttercream
- 250 g unsalted butter softened, room temperature
- 400 g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp heavy double cream
- 1 tsp poppy seeds
- juice of 1 lemon
For the cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 160° C Fan and line a 12-hole muffin tray with 12 cupcake cases.
- Using fingertips, rub the lemon zest and sugar together to release the zesty oils.230 g caster sugar, zest of 2 lemons
- Combine the margarine and lemon zest sugar in a mixer and cream together until paler in colour and light and fluffy in texture.230 g margarine, zest of 2 lemons, 230 g caster sugar
- Whisk in the eggs one at a time until completely combined.4 medium free-range eggs
- Stir in the poppy seeds.1 tbsp poppy seeds
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, Xanthan Gum and baking powder. Add to the wet ingredients and fold in gently until no pockets of flour remain.230 g gluten-free self-raising flour blend, ¼ tsp Xanthan Gum, 1½ tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt
- Using an ice cream scoop, divide the mixture evenly between the 12 cupcake cases, filling them ¾ full.
- Bake on the middle shelf for around 20-25 minutes or until springy to the touch and an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.
- Once baked, set aside to cool on a cooling rack before preparing the buttercream.
For the filling
- Create a hole in the centre of each cupcake using a round piping nozzle or a knife. Carefully spoon a teaspoon of lemon curd into each hole and pop the top back on to cover.12 tsp lemon curd
For the buttercream
- Cream the butter in a mixer on the highest setting for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.250 g unsalted butter
- Add the icing sugar in batches and mix in until no pockets of sugar remain.400 g icing sugar
- Add the lemon juice, cream and poppy seeds and mix on the mixer's highest setting until a light and fluffy texture forms.1 tbsp heavy double cream, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp poppy seeds
- Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with an open-star nozzle, and pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake as desired.
- Sprinkle with extra lemon zest and poppy seeds to finish.
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