Poppy seed has a special place in my heart, it reminds me of my childhood in Hungary having plenty of desserts with ground poppy seed. Actually I met the lemon poppy seed flavour combination in this format quite late as an adult, when I moved to London. I immediately fell in love with it, the tangy lemon and the deep, nutty poppy seed are match made in heaven! This lemon poppy seed cupcake recipe is one of the most delicious cupcakes I can imagine.
It´s moist, fluffy, tender with incredible aromatic lemon flavour, packed with poppy seed, filled with tangy lemon curd, covered with my favourite super light mascarpone-cream frosting.
First let’s start with some important notes regarding the ingredients of this lemon poppy seed cupcake recipe
- read the recipe carefully
- avoid using substitutes unless aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavours
- measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale
For the cupcake
- Butter: Use always unsalted as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using 82% fat content butter in all my recipes. In this recipe butter needs to be at room temperature which technically means soft enough to be able to cream but not too soft or runny so avoid last minute microwaving
- Granulated Sugar: Standard, all purpose granulated or white sugar is perfectly fine in this recipe, nothing fancy. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
- Egg: Room temperature as always
- Flour: All purpose flour or pastry flour makes the best cupcakes. They are so called “soft flour” which are low on protein resulting in delicate, tender texture. It is always a good idea to sift your flour as it tends to form lumps. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what type of flour to use in your baking, please read my article in here
- Salt: An essential ingredient in most of the dessert recipes. Balances flavour and enhances other ingredients
- Baking powder: Has two functions: increase the volume and lighten the texture
- Milk: Room temperature whole milk is the best
- Lemon zest: Using lemon or lime zest is my favourite flavouring to spice up my recipes, it makes the desserts wonderfully flavourful and aromatic. Make sure you use organic lemon (or one which has no chemicals on the skin) and only grate the yellowpart of the skin, but not the white
- White vinegar+baking soda: The SECRET ingredients to make cupcakes which stay super moist and tender even after days, the exact opposite of those sad looking dry ones from the supermarkets
For the lemon curd
I have a whole detailed Guide about making the perfect lemon curd. It´s incredible creamy, tangy, buttery and the perfect filling for poppy seed cupcake. Please make sure you read my instructions in this post carefully. It’s only a 10 minutes work, once you try it, you will never buy it from store ever again!
For the frosting
- Mascarpone: Very rich Italian cream cheese, exceptionally smooth and easily to spread or whip. The flavor is milky and slightly sweet. Use at room temperature.
- Heavy cream: Also known as whipping cream has a fat content between 36% and 40% . Use it very cold and do not substitute with vegetable based “whipping cream”
- Icing sugar: Icing sugar is the first choice when it comes to whipping up frosting. Question I often get is whether the quantity is a typo. NO, it´s not! You do not actually need a lot of sugar when you are using mascarpone! Instead, let the mascarpone and cream shine
Now let’s continue with some further important notes regarding the technique of making this lemon poppy seed cupcake recipe
1. Mixing dry and wet ingredients for the cupcake
Once you beat up butter and sugar and mix the egg in, I suggest to add the remaining dry (flour+baking powder) and wet (milk) ingredients in 4 steps: wet, dry, wet, dry, that keeps the mixture well blended. Do not overmix, instead fold with Rubber spatula just until combined
2. Do not overfill your cupcake tin
For this recipe I recommend to fill your cupcake tin until 3/4. The cupcakes will beautifully rise but won´t explore as there is not too much baking powder in the recipe
3. Be Patient
There is some waiting time involved in making this recipe, it´s important not to rush these steps for the best results. Start with making the lemon curd as it needs to set few hours in fridge before using it. At later stage, once cupcakes are baked, let them completely cool down before filling with lemon curd es piping frosting on them. And lastly before making the frosting make sure you bring mascarpone to room temperature while cream should be very cold. Other important note regarding the frosting is to stop whipping when it’s reached a fluffy consistency or it might get runny.
Now let´s see the lemon poppy seed cupcake recipe!
Lemon & Poppy seed cupcake
- 65 ml lemon juice approx. 2 lemons
- 2 Egg yolks
- 90 g Granulated sugar
- 1 Lemon zest
- 65 g Unsalted butter room temperature
- 150 g Mascarpone at room temperature
- 35 g Icing sugar
- 120 g Heavy Cream
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Start with making the lemon curd as per instructions in this post
- Heat oven to 175 C / 347°F
- With an Electric hand mixer beat room temperature butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy then beat the egg in. Do not overbeat
- Sift flour, salt and baking powder together, this is the “dry ingredients”, while the milk is your wet ingredient
- Start adding the dry and wet ingredients into the batter in the following 4 steps: wet, dry, wet, dry. With a Rubber spatula fold each time
- Fold in poppy seed and lemon zest
- Mix vinegar and baking soda together in a small bowl, it will be super bubbly. Immediately fold the mixture into the cupcake batter. This is the secret ingredient to keep the cupcakes soft for days without the taste of vinegar of course!
- Spoon the mixture into Cupcake pan till approx. 3/4
- Bake for 25 min or until a skewer inserted comes out clean then let them cool on Cooling rack
- Once cupcake cool down to room temperature as well as lemon curd set, make a small hole on each of the cupcakes and fill it with lemon curd (approx. one table spoon per cupcake)
- For the frosting beat mascarpone, heavy cream and powder sugar until smooth and fluffy, about one minute with Electric hand mixer. Once it has reached the right consistency, do not overbeat as it can become runny.
- Pipe the frosting onto the room temperature cupcakes, I am using Wilton 1M piping nozzle tip
- Dust with some more poppy seed