These cupcakes are springy soft, fluffy, and full of flavor, making them a perfect spring time dessert. They’re a hit at parties, and also serve as the ideal after dinner treat for me, myself, and I, since you know, quarantine life means I may never have a party again. Or, if I’m having a virtual party, I might have to eat all 12 cupcakes myself in the name of social distancing. You can never be too safe.
I’m all about these cupcakes because they’re pretty easy to make, and also give you an excuse to have a great big pile of lemon curd on hand to drizzle on pancakes, french toast, and even in other desserts (wait for that lemon curd crumb cake post, it’s coming soon, my friends).
I usually make the lemon curd first so it can chill in the fridge while you are preparing and baking you cupcakes. I included the recipe for the lemon curd in the recipe card below, but if you’d like further instructions, substitutions, or details, I suggest checking out my post about how to make the perfect vegan lemon curd. It’s broken down a little more easily, and even offers a few more fun suggestions for how to serve the lemon curd if you have extra left over.
Prepare a flax eggs or vegan egg replacer and set aside. To make a single flax egg, add 1 tsp flax seed to 2 tsp water and let sit 5 minutes or until thickened. You can also use a chia egg or vegan egg replacer like Bob’s Red Mill.
In a food processor or large bowl, mix 2 cups flour with 1 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Blend in applesauce, which is my new favorite thing to put in allll of my baked goods because it adds extra moisture and saves calories from butter or oil. If you don’t have apple sauce, you can sub in vegan butter or oil.
Mix in the apple cider vinegar, then cut a lemon in half and juice, carefully removing the lemon seeds. Stir in the lemon juice followed by the vanilla extract. Blend until smooth and pour into baking molds. I use silicon baking molds because they’re zero waste (meaning no cupcake wrappers needed) and have a pretty dang easy clean up process. Bake at 350° for about 15 minutes or until slightly browned.
A good trick to know when your cupcakes are done, is to stick a toothpick or fork in the middle of the thickest part. You can remove from oven when the toothpick can be inserted into the cupcake and removed cleanly with no batter residue. If any batter is stuck to it, this means you will get a soupy messy cupcake rather than a the fluffy glorious cupcake you deserve, so be sure to pop those babies back in to bake another few minutes.
As the cupcakes are cooling, use the handle of a large wooden spoon to push an indent into the middle. I push all the way to the bottom to make sure to leave lots of room for that gooey delicious lemon curd.
When both cupcakes and lemon curd are cool, spoon about a tablespoon of curd into the hole in the center of each cupcake and dust with powdered sugar to finish.
Rather than a lemon curd, you can add a jam or jelly to the center of the cupcake if you have that on hand, since the cupcakes are lemony in their own right.
In place of applesauce, sub in equal parts oil, banana, butter, or even cooked and pureed cauliflower (ya, that one’s real).
Swap in monk fruit or stevia powder for sugar if you’d like to keep these lemon cupcakes sugar free.
The cupcakes are super moist so be careful to let them completely cool before storing them, since extra moisture can cause anything in an airtight space to get moldy. I actually stored them with the lid on, but not sealed for the first day or two since they were so moist and delicious. You can keep them in an airtight container on the counter for about 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week. Honestly though, I don’t anticipate anyone keeping these tangy, sweet little lemon curd cupcakes around that long though.
As always, if you make this recipe, tag me on Facebook or Instagram, and let me know how it goes! You can also check out my Pinterest page for more dessert inspiration! If you liked this recipe, you might also enjoy some of my other favorite dessert recipes: