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vanilla bean cupcakes filled with lemon topped with buttercream frosting

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes filled with Lemon and topped with Buttercream Frosting

A delicious vanilla bean cupcake filled with lemon.

Course Dessert
Cuisine cupcakes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes
Servings 18 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk

For the lemon filling:

  • 1 can lemon pie filling and topping (I like the Duncan Hines Comstock Lemon Pie Filling and Topping)

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar sifted


Make the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cupcake tins with wrappers.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time then add the scraped vanilla bean seeds and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  4. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and beat just until the batter is combined.
  5. Fill each cupcake cup 2/3 full with batter then bake the cupcakes for 15 to 18 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and transfer them to a rack to cool completely while you make the frosting.

Make the frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the scraped vanilla bean seeds and vanilla extract until it is light and fluffy. Add half of the confectioners' sugar and beat until combined, then add the heavy cream and remaining confectioners' sugar and continue beating until the frosting is thick and creamy. (See Tana's Notes.)

Fill the cupcakes with filling:

  1. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, cut out a small hole in the center of each cupcake with a knife – or I like to use a melon baller to carve out a hole. Make sure to not make a hole all the way down to the bottom of the cupcake.
  2. Fill the hole with about a teaspoon of the lemon pie filling and then place a small portion of the cut out cupcake back on the top to cover the filling hole like a hat. This way filling is not spilling out all over the top of the cupcake and it’s easier to frost.
  3. Frost the cupcakes
  4. Once the cupcakes have all been filled with the lemon pie filling and hat covers, top them with the frosting and serve.

Recipe Notes

• Beating the frosting in between each addition of the confectioners' sugar lightens the color of the frosting and will make it more white in color.

• If the frosting is too thin, add additional sifted confectioners' sugar 1/4 cup at a time, or if it’s too thick, add additional heavy cream 1 teaspoon at a time until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.

• If you prefer a very generous amount of frosting that can be piped into tall swirls atop the cupcakes (as shown), double the frosting recipe and refrigerate it for 20 minutes before transferring it to a piping bag and decorating the cupcakes.