Gluten-free lemon meringue cupcakes recipe – filled with homemade lemon curd and topped with lovely, whipped Italian meringue. You’d never know it was Coeliac-friendly and wheat-free!
Gluten-free lemon meringue cupcakes recipe, anyone? These are the ULTIMATE treat for any fan of lemon cake and that meringue just finishes it all off perfectly. Believe it or not, this recipe is low FODMAP and super easy to make dairy-free or vegan too – see the FAQ section to find out how.
These beauties have been way overdue on my blog. I mean, how long would you have to hold your breath for before you found a gluten-free lemon meringue cupcake out in the wild?
(please don’t try to unless you can hold your breath for several decades)
But the main point I’m getting at here is… muggles can always enjoy these, so why not us gluten-free folks too? I’m sure you agree with me on that point!
So that’s when it’s time to get your apron on and make your own instead!
Why make my gluten-free lemon meringue cupcakes?
- You wouldn’t believe how simple it is to whip these up – optionally fill with my homemade lemon curd, or shop-bought.
- Learn how to whip up an Italian meringue – it’s super easy to make.
- You’d never know this recipe was gluten-free AT ALL – yes, even muggles will eat these, so watch out!
- This one is easy to make dairy-free with one simple swap.
- Believe it or not, you can also easily make this vegan too – see the FAQ section to find out how.
And don’t be afraid if you’ve never made meringue OR Italian meringue, which is what we’ll be making here. It’s easy!
(especially if you have a stand mixer or an electric hand whisk – it’s no harder than making buttercream)
The lemon sponge in the cupcakes is lovely, soft and moist (NOT crumbly or dry) and filled with a lovely, thick, homemade lemon curd.
Then, you’ve got that fluffy, light-as-a-feather Italian meringue on top which is sweet, sticky and marshmallow-y on top. It’s a match made in gluten-free heaven!
Here’s everything you’ll need for this recipe – consider it your shopping list! Keep scrolling until you see the recipe card for the measurements and method ??
Gluten-free lemon meringue cupcakes recipe: Ingredients
For the cupcakes
- gluten-free self-raising flour
- bicarbonate of soda
- xanthan gum
- butter (or dairy free hard margarine)
- caster sugar
- large eggs
- lemon zest
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- egg whites
That’s all you’ll need!
So I thought I’d kick things off with a little frequently asked questions section – if you just want the recipe, then keep scrolling ??
But I’ve thrown in some tips here that will be really helpful if this is your first time making this, or you want to adapt it. So here they are!
Gluten-free lemon meringue cupcakes recipe: Frequently asked questions
Can I make this recipe gluten-free? Is it suitable for Coeliacs?
Yes to both. It is gluten-free, though nobody would know just by tasting it – trust me!
Bear in mind that minimising cross-contamination is hugely important if you’re Coeliac or making this for someone who is. Here’s some tips from Coeliac UK on minimising the risk of cross contamination.
Also, make sure that all ingredients used don’t have any gluten-containing ingredients. Then make that that they also don’t have a ‘may contain’ warning for gluten, wheat, rye, barley, oats (which aren’t gf), spelt and khorasan wheat (aka Kamut).
Here’s some more info from Coeliac UK on identifying safe gluten-free products.
Can I make your gluten-free lemon meringue recipe dairy free?
Yep and you only need to make one simple swap: use a dairy-free hard margarine for the cupcakes and lemon curd.
Can I make your gluten-free lemon meringue recipe vegan?
Yes, firstly, use a dairy-free hard margarine for the cupcakes and lemon curd. Instead of using 3 large eggs in the cupcakes, use 9 tbsp of aquafaba whisked until frothy.
Make your own vegan lemon curd using the following ingredients:
- 150ml dairy-free milk
- 125g caster sugar
- juice and zest of 2 lemons
- 1 heaped tbsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp of water
Simply add your milk, sugar, lemon juice/zest to a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer and add in your cornflour mixture. Whisk until it thickens for 5-8 minutes.
Then all you’ll need to make is a vegan Italian meringue. It’s actually easier than you’d think!
Simply use a 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar and 165ml of aquafaba instead of using the egg whites. Treat this combo as the egg whites whenever they are referred to in the recipe and proceed with the recipe as instructed.
Is your gluten-free lemon meringue recipe nut-free?
Yep, this is a nut-free recipe as far as ingredients go, BUT make sure you check the ingredients label on ALL the products you use to bake this cake just to be safe.
Even if the products don’t contain nuts, they may have a ‘may contain nuts’ warning due to being produced in a factory that handles nuts.
You can never be too careful so always read the labels on everything first.
Is this recipe low FODMAP?
Yes! One cupcake is a safe serving size during the elimination phase of the diet.
Can I use shop-bought lemon curd instead of making my own?
Of course – though bear in mind that shop-bought meringue is usually much runnier, so it can be a bit messier to eat.
Also, not all shop-bought lemon curd is dairy-free, so bear that in mind if you need to.
Since we’re not baking the meringue, isn’t that technically like eating raw egg? I don’t fancy that!
No! When you pour in the hot sugar mixture and whisk it in, it actually cooks the egg whites completely. So no need to worry!
Can I make your gluten-free lemon meringue cupcakes in a food processor or standing mixer?
I wouldn’t recommend using a food processor for anything other than mixing up the cake batter. You really need a whisk attachment on your mixer to make meringue.
That’s why I use both a stand mixer and an electric whisk for this recipe. Here’s a link to the electric whisk I use.
I use an electric whisk to make the cake batter as you only need quick blasts of mixing. As the meringue requires longer periods of whisking, I let the stand mixer do the hard work for me to save on getting arm ache!
You can of course, use either for both tasks too, just make sure you clean your bowl/beaters in between of course.
Can I make this recipe completely by hand?
Of course! Just a good ol’ fashioned balloon whisk and silicone spatula will do. Just make sure you give it a lot of welly, otherwise your mixture won’t be consistent!
Making the meringue especially, requires a lot of elbow grease, so ensure you get those soft peaks when whisking the egg whites and a lovely, thick, pipeable meringue consistency at the end.
Do I need any special equipment to bake your gluten-free lemon meringue cupcakes?
Certainly not! You will need a good quality muffin tray, so here’s a link to the one I use.
Of course, you will need a piping nozzle and piping bags to pipe on the meringue. I used a simple, wide circular piping nozzle and piping bags like these.
Do I need weighing scales to bake your gluten-free lemon meringue cupcakes?
In short… yes, yes and yes! And I wouldn’t advise attempting any of my recipes without them.
A lot of work went into fine tuning ratios and quantities and for me, baking is all about consistency and precision. I want you to make this recipe and for it to turn out EXACTLY like mine did.
I’d recommending using digital cooking scales like these so you know you’re getting an accurate measurement and replicating my recipe as accurately as poss.
Can I bake your gluten-free lemon meringue cupcakes with less sugar?
I can definitely understand the need to reduce sugar in our foods, but this is one of the recipes where I wouldn’t advise removing it.
Of course, the sugar isn’t just for sweetness. It’s integral to the structure of the cake and meringue, making it sooo important.
PSA: meringue just won’t work without sugar! If you want to cut down on sugar, you can always skip filling the cupcakes with lemon curd.
Can I make this recipe without xanthan gum?
In some of my recipes, yes, but I wouldn’t recommend leaving xanthan gum out of this one. You’ll see xanthan gum in a lot of my recipes as it’s an essential ingredient in gluten-free baking.
Without gluten to bind the cake batter together, you can be left with a very loose and crumbly sponge texture.
Some people have asked if they can use psyllium husk powder instead of xanthan gum, but I’ve found that it definitely results in a denser sponge so I wouldn’t overly recommend it.
If you simply don’t have any, you can omit it if pushed. There’s a little in gluten-free self-raising flour anyway, so they should still turn out fine.
Can I make this recipe using other gluten-free flours like buckwheat flour or coconut flour?
There’s a big difference between ‘gluten-free plain/self-raising flour’ and a *singular* type gluten-free flour. When I say ‘gluten-free plain or self-raising flour’ in a recipe, I mean a BLEND of gluten-free flours, not just one, singular flour.
Most gluten-free flour you buy in the supermarket typically contains a blend of rice flour, potato flour, maize flour, tapioca flour AND buckwheat flour. That’s a lot of different flours!
In gluten-free self-raising flour, there’s usually even a little baking powder and xanthan gum in it too which always helps.
So to replace it with just one specific type of flour… that’s not going to cut it at all. Definitely go for a gluten-free flour blend.
How long can I keep your gluten-free lemon meringue cupcakes for?
I usually find that my cupcakes last for around 3-5 days in an airtight container. It’s usually eaten by that point, but I wouldn’t recommend keeping it for longer than that.
If it’s any longer than that then I’d highly recommend reading the next question…
Can I freeze your gluten-free lemon meringue cupcakes?
Of course! I’ve frozen them for up to a month and after allowing them to fully thaw, you’d never know they were frozen.
Simply leave each cupcake out at room temperature for 4-5 hours to defrost.
How can I tell when my gluten-free lemon meringue cupcakes are done?
Grab a skewer and give one a poke in the centre. If it comes out clean, then it’s done!
But if the skewer comes out moist and cake-like, it’s best to pop them back in for a bit longer.
Gluten-free lemon meringue cupcakes recipe: Method
Oh and here’s a printable version of my gluten-free lemon meringue cupcakes recipe. Please remember to give it 5 stars if you tried it and enjoyed it as it helps people know it’s worth trying too! ⭐️ Feel free to leave your written reviews in the comments below this post.
Gluten-free Lemon Meringue Cupcakes Recipe (low FODMAP + dairy-free option)
- Here's the muffin/cupcake tray I use.
For the cupcakes
- 175 g gluten free self raising flour
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
- 175 g butter or dairy free hard margarine
- 175 g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 lemons zested
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
For the lemon curd (shop bought is fine too!)
- 2 lemons (zest and juice of both)
- 2 large eggs
- 110 g butter or dairy free hard margarine
- 160 g caster sugar
For the Italian meringue
- 120 g egg whites this is about 4 egg whites
- 320 g caster sugar
- 100 ml water
For the lemon curd
- Firstly (if making yourself) make your lemon curd (you might want to do this ahead of time so it has plenty of time to cool down). Add your eggs to a saucepan and whisk (hand whisk, not electric!) to combine.
- Add the rest of your ingredients and pop it on a medium heat. Whisk your mixture, allowing the butter to melt and then continue to mix for a further 10 minutes (approx) until the lemon curd starts to thicken slightly. (Don't let it boil)
- Leave to cool completely before popping it into a glass jar to thicken further in the fridge. It's then ready to use for the cakes!
For the cupcakes
- Preheat your oven to 160C Fan / 180C and place cupcake cases into your tin.
- Add all your ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat together with an electric hand whisk until smooth and combined.
- Spoon the mixture evenly between your cupcake cases, about 2/3rds full. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until a skewer comes out cleanly and they are golden on top.
- Allow them to completely cool on a cooling rack.
For the Italian meringue
- Place your water and sugar into a saucepan and heat them up until it reaches around 118C (no hotter than 120C). I'd recommend using a digital cooking thermometer for this - but if you don't have one, it's a little past boiling point.
- Whilst your sugar syrup is coming together, place your egg whites into a stand mixer (or use an electric hand mixer) and mix until they turn white, frothy and just past soft peaks.
- Once your sugar syrup has reached the right temperature, remove it from the heat and with the mixer still going, gradually and slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites. (If you are using an electric hand mixer you will need to mix at the same time as slowly pouring the syrup in... or ask a friend to help!!)
- Once the sugar syrup is all in, you can turn the mixer up and mix for just under 10 minutes. The mixture will be thicker, glossy, smooth and also should have cooled down in this time. It's now ready to use.
For assembling the cupcakes
- Once the cupcakes and lemon curd are cool, you need to make little holes in your cupcakes to fill with the lemon curd. I use one of my piping nozzles to gently push into the centre of the cupcake and remove a bit. You could use a knife and remove a little too. Just make sure you don't go too deep as you need some of the cake beneath to hold the filling!
- Spoon some lemon curd into the hole you've made in each cupcake.
- Spoon your meringue into a piping bag with a large nozzle, any shape will do. Pipe the meringue on top. You could just spoon it on top too if you prefer!
- Use a blow torch to get a little colour onto the meringue if you like.
Any questions about the recipe? Please do let me know by following me on Instagram and leaving me a comment on a recent photo.
If you want to send me a photo of how your bake turned out, you can request to join my Facebook group and post it there. Myself and everyone else would love to see it!
Thanks for reading,
Oh and don’t forget to pin this for later!