Lemon Curd Muffins

If there’s anything I’m a true sucker for, it’s lemon anything. No really. I love chocolate and a lot of other sweet things, but when it comes to citrus-based desserts, my salivary glands go haywire and my head fills with buttercups and sunshine.

Fluffy, white lemon muffins with a lemon curd belly, topped with a lemon curd-sugar coating

What do I like about these muffins? Well. You mix the wet ingredients together, you mix the dry ingredients together, pour one into the other and voila, you have perfect golden muffins in a matter of 15 minutes or less. I mean it’s really not any harder than perusing the morning paper or making a cup of coffee. If you can tie your shoelaces, these are a piece of cake (got that). Wake up, make your coffee, work, take a half-hour break, and maybe during that time you can make these without breaking a sweat. There is just no excuse now.

I had to satisfy the lemon fiend in me a couple of days ago, and did so well with these muffins. I had an incredibly hard time labelling this either a muffin or cupcake, because although this one ticks the boxes for all things which make a muffin, well, a muffin, the insides reminded me more of a cupcake than anything– light as air, pale, tender and not as dense as any muffin you might come across. It’s 80% muffin and 20% cupcake in technique, but 100% cupcake in texture. The crumb is neither robust or rigid, but holds up enough to provide the perfect amount of bite. Add this to the mix of half-molten lemon curd centre and sugar-crusted, sharp-tongued top and you’ve got yourself a winner.

Just for general info, muffins generally:

  • have a domed top (as is evident above)
  • a denser crumb
  • little if any frosting (usually a sugar coating such as this one)
  • require the wet and dry ingredients to be mixed separately before one is added to the other, instead of the typical creaming method utilised in the making of cupcakes.

Therefore, I present to you the cuffin.

Delight is a synonym for that wonderful lemon curd-sugar topping, which once again couldn’t be easier. Delight is also a synonym for the feeling you get when you bite into a soft, white, lemony bit of cake, rounded off with the sharp notes of homemade (or store-bought, that’s good too) lemon curd. Sharp on soft. White and black. It’s meant to be.

Lemon Curd Cupcakes (makes 10-12 cupcakes, adapted from here)


For the cupcakes:

200g self-raising flour

100g white castor sugar

pinch salt

1 egg

75ml vegetable oil (canola/sunflower is good here)

zest of one lemon

juice of half a lemon

120ml whole milk

60ml (1/4 cup) lemon curd, homemade or store-bought

For the lemon curd topping:

60ml (1/4 cup) lemon curd

70g white sugar (granulated/castor)


Preheat your oven to 190C (375F) and grease a cupcake or muffin tin. In a large bowl  whisk together the whole milk, egg, oil, lemon zest and lemon juice. In a medium bowl, briefly whisk together the self-raising flour, sugar and salt. Pour the dry into the wet mix and mix everything together until just combined with a wooden spoon. Using a tablespoon, half fill a mould in the tin with some batter, then use 2 teaspoons to put a small dollop of lemon curd in the centre, then fill to the 3/4-mark of the mould or case with more batter. Repeat for the rest of the cupcake moulds. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes (mine took 13 minutes exactly). Check at the 12-minute mark; a wooden skewer inserted into the side (because the centre has lemon curd) of one should emerge clean. They should be nicely domed with a golden top, and no cracking on the surface.

Whilst these are baking, make the topping (YUM). In a small bowl, microwave the lemon curd until warm but not totally liquidy. Put the white sugar in a shallow dish and set these two aside until the cupcakes are done baking. Once they are fully baked, leave to cool for 5 minutes before rolling the tops in the lemon curd, then rolling again in sugar.

Devour, and know that life is good.

Mini Lemon Bundts

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Lemon’s taking up all the oxygen in the room. It’s a good thing. If you’re as obsessed with the ingredient as me, that is.

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FYI, I cut the tops off the guys before removing them from the pan just for the picture; it’s twice as efficient to remove them with their domes first (I may be dim but not toooo dim)!

There’s something so endearing about each mini bundt I popped out of the pan. This recipe yields exactly 12 light, springy, lemon-filled balls of sponge. Sponge of medium density, of average sophistication, of half-cake-half-gooey-sponge pleasure. The secret lies in the use of plain yoghurt, which made the little cakes moist but not doughy, and sufficiently dense but well-risen. I adapted the recipe from Nigella’s cookbook, and it’s my personal go-to for something simple, light, lemony, and pleasing. See the tops I cut off? Oh goodness, please save those. The tops boast the sugary, browned crusts, sharp and bit stiff when bitten into, giving way to the most pleasurable, mildly sweet and lemony bite. Coo for crust. These have it all.

Mini Lemon Bundts (makes 12 4-inch wide mini bundts)

150g all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

75g melted, unsalted butter, cooled slightly

zest of one lemon

juice of half a lemon

2 eggs

110ml natural yoghurt or sour cream

large pinch of salt

125g white caster sugar

For the icing: 170g icing sugar, one teaspoon vanilla extract and the juice of one lemon (do this to taste)

Preheat the oven to 170C. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. In a measuring jug or smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, melted butter, lemon zest, juice and yoghurt. Pour the wet into the dry mix and slowly mix everything together, transferring from a wooden spoon to a spatula. the batter should a little thick, of spoon-dropping consistency. Make sure that there are no lumps or streaks of flour at the bottom. Grease your mini bundt tin and pour the batter into the molds. Bake in the preheated oven for 23-25 minutes.

Whilst waiting for the buns in the oven, make the icing. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. The mix should be thick and runny, not too opaque, and  won’t harden after a few seconds of stirring in the bowl. If you need more liquid, add more water, drop by drop. Once the bundts are done, remove from the oven and let cool on a cooling rack. Pour the icing on once they’re cool; it’s actually fine to do so when they’re still a little warm because the heat will help the icing along down the sides.