Lemon cheesecake cupcakes recipe

(11 ratings)

These lemon cheesecake cupcakes have a light fluffy sponge, indulgent cream cheese frosting and some zesty lemon curd.

Lemon cheesecake cupcakes
(Image credit: Tara Fisher/HarperCollins)
Preparation Time40 mins
Cooking Time20 mins
Total Time1 hours
Cost RangeMid
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories405 Kcal20%
Sugar50.2 g56%
Fat15.6 g22%
Saturated Fat7.5 g38%
Protein3.9 g8%
Carbohydrates62.8 g24%

Lemon cheesecake cupcakes are the perfect hybrid of a classic bake and an indulgent dessert.

This cupcake recipe comes from Great British Bake Off legend Martha Collison. The cakes take 20 minutes to bake and are just over 400 calories per cake. They can be served as an afternoon treat or an easy prep ahead dessert. 


For the cupcakes:

  • 175g plain flour
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 75g butter
  • 1½tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 90ml whole milk, at room temperature
  • Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 1tsp vanilla bean paste

For the filling:

  • 12 tsp lemon curd

For the icing:

  • 100g full-fat cream cheese
  • 350g icing sugar
  • 150ml double cream

For the topping:

  • 50g digestive biscuits
  • 1 tsp butter, melted




  • Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan, Gas 4). Line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake cases.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, butter and baking powder using the paddle attachment. Mix on a low speed until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. You shouldn't see any large lumps of butter. Alternatively, use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour and sugar.
  • In a small jug, use a fork to blend the eggs, milk, lemon zest and vanilla bean paste together. Add the mixture a little at a time to the bowl, beating until it is all combined. Keep beating for a few minutes more, until the mixture is uniform and smooth with no lumps.
  • Divide the mixture between the cases evenly, filling each one no more than two-thirds full. Bake in the oven for 16-18 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean and the cakes are a pale golden brown.
  • Leave to cool for five minutes in the tin, then remove and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack. Do not attempt to decorate them until they are cold.
  • To make the icing, put the cream cheese into a large bowl, and use an electric hand-held whisk to beat it until smooth. Add the icing sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, until it is all incorporated. Mix in the double cream and whisk until the mixture thickens. You can whisk this by hand, but it will take a few more minutes to thicken. It won’t hold its shape yet, so it is important to chill it in the fridge for at least an hour so that it firms up.
  • Put the biscuits for the topping in a sealable plastic bag, seal it and then, using a rolling pin, lightly bash the bag to crush the biscuits into small pieces.
  • Add the biscuit crumbs to the melted butter and stir until the mixture starts to clump together.
  • To assemble, use a sharp knife or specialist cupcake corer to make a circular incision in the centre of each cupcake. Take out the middle and fill each cavity with ½ teaspoon of lemon curd.
  • When the icing has set, put it into a disposable piping bag. Cut the end off the bag, making a medium-sized circular hole, then pipe a double ring around the edge of the lemon curd, and fill the gap with the remaining lemon curd.
  • Sprinkle the biscuit topping around the icing ring, trying to avoid the lemon curd centre.

Top tips for making lemon cheesecake cupcakes

‘With their unusual cheesecake topping, which works really well with the tangy lemon curd, these cupcakes make a great dessert’, says Martha. You could also finish the cupcakes with a fresh raspberry or a small mint leaf for a pop of colour. Both compliment the flavours of the cakes and will look attractive too. 

These cupcakes need to be stored in the fridge, where they will keep for up to three days. It’s best to keep them in an airtight container. For more tips, including an explanation on the reverse creaming method used by Martha, continue reading below. 

What is the reverse creaming method?

Martha uses this method to make her vanilla cupcakes and these lemon cheesecake cupcakes. She explains: ‘Instead of beating air into the sugar and butter, adding the eggs then stirring in the dry ingredients, the reverse creaming method requires the butter to be rubbed into the dry ingredients, followed by the milk and eggs. As well as being simpler, with fewer stages, I think this method produced a better textured, more even sponge.’

Martha continues: ‘When you rub the butter into the flour and sugar, the flour particles get coated in fat, which minimises gluten formation in the cake. Gluten is the essential component in bread, but in cakes too much can produce a tough and chewy sponge.’

How do you keep cheesecake cupcakes from falling down?

The important thing to remember is waiting for the cupcakes to cool completely before you attempt to decorate them, as the topping will become very runny and they won’t be able to hold the lemon curd if you add these elements while the sponge is still warm.

Why are my cupcakes dry?

It’s likely you’ve baked the cupcakes too long. Martha says: ‘Don't be tempted to over-bake; get [the cupcakes] out as soon as the skewer is clean. The last thing you want is dry cakes!’

We recommend checking the cakes at the 16 minute mark and then bake for a couple more minutes if needed. Remember they will continue to cook a little once out of the oven due to the residual heat in the tin.

Twist: Creative Ideas to Reinvent your BakingView at Amazon

Twist: Creative Ideas to Reinvent your Baking by Martha Collison (HarperCollins, £16.99) - View at Amazon

If you’d like more delicious and easy bakes from Martha, you’ll find plenty of inspiration in this cookbook. Some of the tempting options include a ginger and rhubarb bake, cosmopolitan macarons and a show stopping malted milk pinata cake! 

You might also like our lemon cupcakes if you enjoy the flavours of this recipe. Alternatively, have a look at our cheesecake recipes for dessert inspiration or bake our lemon drizzle cake for an easy, popular bake.

Jessica Ransom
Senior Food Writer

Jessica is a freelance food writer, stylist and recipe tester. She previously worked as Senior Food Writer at Future. While at Future Jessica wrote food and drink-related news stories and features, curated product pages, reviewed equipment, and developed recipes that she then styled on food shoots. She is an enthusiastic, self-taught cook who adores eating out and sharing great food and drink with friends and family. She has completed the Level 1 Associate course at the Academy of Cheese and is continually building on her knowledge of beers, wines, and spirits.