primrose lemon curd cupcakes recipe

My friend Sarah Wilkin, who is a cupcake queen, gave me this recipe. It makes fabulous cupcakes, with a gooey middle of sharp lemon curd.

In fact, the recipe makes plenty of lemon curd, so if you have any left over, pour it into dry, warm, sterilised jars (you can sterilise them in a very hot dishwasher, or boil them in a pan of water for 10 minutes). Seal and label with the date. The curd will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Makes 12-14 cupcakes

  • 40g butter, at room temperature
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1½ tsps baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 110ml milk
  • 2 tbsps grated lemon zest from unwaxed lemons

For the lemon curd:

  • juice and grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs, beaten

For the icing:

  • 175g icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • primroses and crocuses, to decorate (optional)


First make the lemon curd. Put the lemon juice and zest into a heavy-based saucepan, add the sugar and dissolve over a low heat. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the beaten eggs and stir until the mixture thickens. Spoon the mixture into a bowl and allow to cool (it will thicken further as it cools).

Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. Set out a couple of muffin trays and put a paper cupcake case in each hole.

Now make the cake mixture. Put the butter, sugar, flour and baking powder in the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor and mix until you get a consistency of breadcrumbs. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl beat together the egg, milk and lemon zest. Add bit by bit to the flour mixture until it's fully incorporated, but don't overmix.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until a third full. Put a teaspoonful of lemon curd on top, then cover with another dollop of cake mixture. The cases should be about two-thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cakes are golden and the tops spring back when touched. Take them out of the tray and leave to cool on a rack.

To make the icing, sift the sugar into a bowl. Add the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon warm water. You want a thick icing, so if it appears to be too runny, just add a bit more icing sugar.

Sarah W. says she likes a level cupcake, so if there's a small peak, she trims it off. Then spread a good spoonful of the icing all over the top. You can decorate these cakes with lemon rind, or primroses or crocuses, which are edible.

This recipe appears on p87 of Sarah's Food for Friends and Family Cookbook.

This recipe was reviewed on our blog Garlic & Sapphire, by the lovely Jude – see her delightful photos of these tasty cupcakes.

primrose lemon curd cupcakes