How To Make Lemon Cream Pie Cupcakes

updated Jan 21, 2020
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

As much as we love chocolate, there comes a time when we find our pantry to be without. So when a hankering for Boston Cream Pie comes around, you make do and twist a tried and true recipe upside down and thrown in a dash of sunshine to boot. Lemon Cream Pie Cupcakes are as tasty as they are easy to assemble and we’ll show you how — we promise you won’t even miss the chocolate!

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What You Need

1 recipe Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes
2 recipes Pastry Cream
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups confectioners sugar
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Sauce Pan
Wooden Spoon
Muffin Tins
Cooling Racks


1. Make The Pastry Cream: Although it seems weird not to start with the cake base first, pastry cream requires a few hours in the fridge to set before being able to use. You can place it in the freezer, but for no longer than 20 minutes at a time, otherwise you’ll have pastry brick instead of pastry cream. You’ll want to double this recipe. A single batch doesn’t quite make enough and having a little left over from a double batch never hurt anyone!

2. Make The Cake You can find the recipe for Boston Cream Pie cake from Martha Stewart. The cakes don’t raise exceptionally high, but their texture is spot on. It makes 20 cupcakes, though we usually make 12 and then toss the rest of the batter into a small pan due to lack of patience.

3. Cut The Cakes & Cool: Using a serrated knife, slice each cake in half, making sure to leave enough of the bottom to hold without sticking your fingers in pastry cream when the time comes to consume. Allow to cool completely before continuing.

4. Make Lemon Glaze: Lemon glazes by nature are super sweet and usually fairly drippy. We were looking for something that was slightly thicker, but not too thick. We wanted it to stay on top of the cupcake without running down your fingers, but wanted to make sure it was thin enough that it didn’t become too sweet. Here’s how:

• Melt 2 3/4 tablespoons butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.
• Stir in 4 tablespoons lemon juice + 2 tablespoons lemon zest
• Add 2 cups confectioner’s sugar and stir to combine

The glaze will harden on top or form a skin within the first 10 minutes after the mixture comes off the heat. Make sure your cakes are cut and your pastry cream is made before making the glaze!

5. Add Pastry Cream: Using a tablespoon, layer in a heaping spoonful of pastry cream and spread it gently on the bottom layer. Add the top of the cupcake and set aside. Repeat until all cupcakes have been filled with pastry cream.

6. Glaze Baby Glaze: Spoon a tablespoon(ish) of glaze on top of each cake. You will have several seconds to push the glaze around the top of the cupcake to make it look just right. Just remember, every cupcakes gets eaten eventually — even the ugly ones!

Additional Notes:
Cupcakes are best with eaten within the hour, though they can be refrigerated for up to 3 hours with excellent results. The bottom layer of cake will get a little mushy if left longer, so if you are getting ready for a party a day early, bake the cupcakes, make the pastry cream and wait to assemble until just before guests arrive!

Additionally, if your glaze hardens while you’re still working, simply return pan to medium heat and add a teaspoon of lemon juice or small bit of butter to the mixture and stir. Allow to sit until desired consistency is achieved.