Double Chocolate Lemon Surprise Cupcakes

Double Chocolate Lemon Surprise CupcakesA rich, moist buttermilk chocolate cake is paired with a silky bittersweet chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream and filled with an easy homemade lemon curd in these fabulously addictive Double Chocolate Lemon Surprise Cupcakes!

Double Chocolate Lemon Surprise Cupcakes

The Chocolate SMB is creamy and smooth with a delicate chocolate flavor. Unlike the American Buttercream, this frosting isn’t overly sweet – a perfect pairing with this intense chocolate cake! The tart lemon curd surprise in the middle elevates these cupcakes above the quotidian!

Of course, this double chocolate cupcake could stand alone with no filling and a chocolate ganache or caramel filling is never remiss, but the slightly tart lemon curd tantalizes the tastebuds!

Double Chocolate Lemon Surprise Cupcakes

I was experimenting with how buttermilk vs sour cream tasted in chocolate cake, but I loved both so much that I had to use them both. The sour cream variety was a bit lighter and more springy, while these buttermilk chocolate cupcakes are a bit denser and more like pound cake. I love pound cake.

Double Chocolate Lemon Surprise Cupcakes

The cake almost seems to melt in your mouth while the chocolate flavor intensifies.

Double Chocolate Lemon Surprise Cupcakes

Because of the SMB debacle, during which I learned the hard way what not to do with SMB, these poor little cupcakes sat, un-iced, for 3 days. So, if you would indulge me please, imagine these cupcakes in their original glory! They were even more moist with a small, delicate crumb. I was amazed with how well they stood the test of time in the dry air! Even on day three they were delicious!

Double Chocolate Lemon Surprise Cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 18 Cupcakes

Double Chocolate Lemon Surprise Cupcakes

A rich, moist buttermilk chocolate cake is paired with a silky bittersweet chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream and filled with an easy homemade lemon curd in these fabulously addictive Double Chocolate Lemon Surprise Cupcakes!


    For the Cupcakes:
  • 1 cup +2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder (the highest quality possible)
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted (I used Ghirardelli 60%)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • Follow the recipe for Swiss Meringue Buttercream here but omit the vanilla bean paste and add 75 grams bittersweet chocolate (melted and cooled) after adding vanilla extract and salt.


    To make the Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two muffin tins with 18 cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar together on high until thick. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla with the last egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the melted chocolate and mix to incorporate.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk beginning and ending with flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. I did three additions. You want to stop mixing as soon as the last of the flour has been incorporated.
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins. The batter should almost reach the top of the liner. Bake in preheated oven 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few clinging crumbs.
  6. After 2 minutes, remove to a wire rack and let cool completely before filling or frosting.


Even though these were still relatively moist on day 3 with no icing, I would not recommend serving them that way. They are best when filled and iced as soon as possible and eaten on day 1 or 2.


  1. says

    These cupcakes are gorgeous Lindsey and I bet they taste great too. Have you ever thought of opening a cupcake company? Because I think you’d rock it! And, there’s no way these cupcakes would’ve sat 3 days at my house – hello!!! Eat them unfrosted! 🙂
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    • AmericanCooking22 says

      There have been numerous requests/suggestions to open a bakery by family member and random people that I feed! I feel exhausted just thinking about it! 🙂

      ps- there were numerous “taste tests” done prior to frosting but, alas, photographing them unfrosted was not an option!

  2. says

    I am SO impressed with how perfectly you frost your cupcakes—mine look like a cupcake train-wreck compared to your little beauties! I am loving the lemon “surprise” in these fun cupcakes!
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    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Thanks for the pin, love! I do love cupcakes because they are pretty. I’m so easy to please! {Actually that’s a lie – I am super difficult to please when it comes to food…} I hope you do make them!

  3. says

    You always have the best cupcake recipes Lindsey! And these pictures are so good I had to pin 2 different pictures because I couldn’t do just one!
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    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Right you are! And I’m flattered bc Michelle is obviously way cooler than me. BTW – my middle name is Michelle. Just thought you should know. 😉

      There is no bakery, so you’ll just have to settle with free cupcakes in my kitchen. #gettotheeastcoast

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Whhaat?! It is surprisingly good! I don’t think every combination would work like it does with some classic combos like peanut butter and chocolate, for example. 🙂

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Thanks, Thalia! I hope you do make them! Patience is my main secret. Apparently decorating cupcakes is the only time I do have patience! I also have some tricks for certain shots. I’ve thought about doing a post on it but I didn’t really know if anyone would read it 🙂

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Hahah! Thanks, David! I’ll show fluffy and airy the back door whenever pound cake shows up. I’ve grown rather fond of you but I’m just not sure I can comply with your request! I LOVE cupcakes! And they have the added bonus that I don’t eat an entire cake.

        • AmericanCooking22 says

          Want to know a secret? I always bake a half recipe of cupcakes. That way I only have 6 – 8 cupcakes to eat and pass off to taste-testers! If I made them ugly, then no one would want to eat them and I’d be sad. You don’t want to make me sad, do you, David? 😉

  4. Melissa says

    Hi I have tried rereading your recipe but don’t see the quantity required for buttermilk, can you please advice? Am going to bake it for my baby girl’s party this weekend. Really excited to try the chocolate-lemon combination thanks!

    • Lindsey says

      Hi Melissa! Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for the comment. It is the last ingredient in the recipe but I typed “buttercream” instead of “buttermilk”. I will change the recipe immediately! Thank you again for asking. Happy baking! And let me know how you like them 🙂


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