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Lemon Filled Yellow Cupcakes

May 14, 2010

Call me a child but whenever I even think of these cupcakes I really get a big smile, as they make me happy the way they look, the way they taste and more than that, the way I remember two wonderful aunts in my life.  I never had them anywhere except at my home or my Aunt Louise and Aunt Mary’s home in Boston.  I was finally allowed to visit my aunts  when I was about 12 years old.  My Father drove me there on a Saturday and he was coming back to pick me up the following Saturday and I was thrilled.  I thought I was “grown up”.  (I think my dear Mother needed a break with two younger sisters at home and two teenage brothers at home as well).  At that time they had a three-story house with the most amazing wrap-around veranda (my favorite place) and beautiful gardens of flowers and vegetables.  When my Father and I arrived they had set a table on the veranda with lemonade and “Top Hat Cupcakes” (that is what they called them).  My Mother and her two sisters, Louis and Mary made beautiful desserts, mine do not compare.  I use the same ingredients and they are delicious but it was something about how they made them that they were so beautiful.  I confess they tried to teach me time and time again, but it was not important to me,  just the taste was important to me.  Occasionally I tell myself to take the time and do it the way they taught me, never happens.  But I am so happy to have the memories of how to do it right, maybe I will one day. 

Yellow Cake, one layer or 10-12 Cupcakes


  • 4 oz. (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter
  • 1 1/2 C. Sifted Cake Flour
  • 1/2 t. Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 C. Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 3/4 C. Milk
  • 1 t. Vanilla Extract
  • Confectioners Sugar (for assembly)



  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees (line cupcake pan with paper liners)
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time
  4. Mix the milk and vanilla together and add it alternately in thirds with the flour mixture, mixing just enough to blend the ingredients without overbeating
  5. Pour into the prepared cupcake pan, place in the oven and bake about 25 minutes, until the cake is lightly browned and a cake tester comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool on a rack until completely cool.


Lemon Filling


  •  3/4 C. Sugar
  • 2 T. Cornstarch
  • 1/8 t. salt
  • Grated zest of 1/2 Lemon
  • 1/2 C. Orange Juice or Water
  • 1/4 C. Fresh Lemon Juice (strained)
  • 3 Large Egg Yolks (or 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk)
  • 1 T. Unsalted Butter


  1.   Whisk together all ingredients except the butter in a saucepan
  2. Add the butter and cook, whisking constantly, scraping the bottom and corners of the pan to prevent scorching over medium heat until the mixture comes to a simmer thickens dramatically.
  3. Continue to cook, whisking briskly for about  30 seconds.
  4. Using a spatula, scrape the filling into a medium mesh sieve set over a bowl and strain the filling into the bowl
  5. Cover the surface of the filling with a piece of wax or parchment paper and refrigerate to thicken
  6. Stir gently if necessary before using, do not beat (This keeps refrigerated up to 2 days)

Yield/ 1 1/3 Cup /filling for 10-12 cupcakes)

Adapted from “The New York Times Dessert Cookbook” by Florence Fabricant

How to Assemble

  1. When cupcakes are cool cut a top off the top of the cupcake and scoop out a little of the cake
  2. Fill with the Lemon Filling
  3. Put top (hat) back on top of the Lemon Filling
  4. Sprinkle with Confectioners Sugar


  (Serves 1-10)

 From “Joy of Cooking” by Irma S. Rombauer


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