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Playing Lemon-Poppy Pudding Cupcakes

These sweet-tart Lemon-Poppy Pudding Cupcakes from former staffer Grant Melton are full of surprises.

For more lemon-poppy recipes, try this No-Measure Yogurt Cake With Lemon-Poppy Seed Glaze, or—for something savory—this Lemon-Poppy Pasta Salad.


For the cupcakes
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 3.9-ounce box instant lemon pudding mix
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, plus more for garnish
  • 1 12-ounce jar store-bought lemon curd
For the frosting
  • 2 8-ounce bricks cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract


Serves: 18 cupcakes


Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line 18 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Add the sugar, eggs and oil to a mixing bowl and beat with hand mixer until smooth. Turn to the lowest speed and add the flour one cup at a time. Once well incorporated, slowly pour in the milk. Once all the milk is incorporated, add in the pudding mix and poppy seeds, and mix until well-combined.
Using a batter scoop, fill each muffin tin 3/4 of the way to the top with batter. Place the muffin tins into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cupcakes begin to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool.
While they’re cooling, make the cream cheese frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together to cream cheese and butter. Once smooth and fluffy, add the confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time. Add the salt and the almond extract, and mix to combine.
Once the cupcakes are cool, it’s time to fill them! Place the lemon curd into a baggy or pastry bag and cut off the tip. Using a paring knife, cut a cone shape out of the top of the cupcakes to make a big hole in the center. Fill each cupcake with lemon curd up to the top. Using a batter scoop or kitchen spoon, dollop a big helping of the cream cheese frosting on top. Spread the frosting just slightly using an offset spatula or butter knife then sprinkle the tops with poppy seeds.