Sometimes I like to start with a cake mix for cakes and cupcakes that are easy to whip up AND taste delicious. For this recipe, I start with a Duncan Hines Lemon cake mix, add flour, sugar, eggs, sour cream, water, and lemon extract then I fill them with a store-bought lemon curd and top with a delicious homemade cream cheese icing that is brightened up with both fresh squeezed lemon juice and lemon extract to give it a citrusy flavor.
Semi-Homemade Lemon Cupcakes
1 Duncan Hines Lemon Cake Mix
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon extract
Line enough cupcake pans with cupcake papers to make 36 cupcakes (I used three 12-cup pans) and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, sour cream, water and lemon flavoring. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and beat with an electric mixer for 30 seconds on low, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then continue to mix on high for 2 minutes. Using an ice cream scoop, distribute the batter into the prepared cupcake pans and bake for 15 minutes or until done, rotating halfway through to ensure they are done evenly.
Cool on wire racks until they are room temperature. Using a cupcake corer (pictured below) or the wider end of an icing piping tip, remove the centers from each of the cupcakes. Snip the tip off of a plastic piping bag and fill with lemon curd. Squeeze a small amount into the center of each cake (about a teaspoon each). Top each cupcake with prepared Lemony Cream Cheese Icing (recipe below).
Lemony Cream Cheese Icing
1 – 8 oz. block of cream cheese at room temperature
2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
1 – 2 lb. bag of powdered sugar
juice of two lemons, strained to remove pulp and seeds
2 teaspoons lemon extract
Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Turn off the mixer, add half of the powdered sugar and beat on low to incorporate. Add the rest of the powdered sugar, and half of the lemon juice, beating on high until smooth, adding more lemon juice if the icing seems dry. Beat in the lemon extract for another minute. Pipe onto the cooled and filled cupcakes.