I have been making a version of Olive Garden's lemon cream cake for years and it has always been one of my most popular cakes. Over the last few years though I have made a shift from making whole cakes to cupcakes more frequently, so I knew I had to turn the lemon cake into cupcakes. I started out just using the lemon cream filling to also frost the cupcakes, but I quickly discovered that the filling was just too soft and wouldn't hold it's shape when piped onto the cupcakes, so I quickly abandoned that and instead started frosting the cupcakes with a lemon cream cheese frosting.
I actually think the cupcakes are better than the original whole lemon cream cake, which can be quite messy, the lemon cream cheese frosting really adds an extra flavour to these cupcakes, and everyone seems to love them!
1 (18 1/4 ounce) white cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup oil
3 egg whites
Lemon cream filling:
8 ounces cream cheese
2 cups icing sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup cold butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream cheese frosting:
1 stick unsalted butter
1 8oz. package cream cheese
Seeds from 1 plumped vanilla bean (vanilla beans plumped in rum for at least 2 weeks)
2 cups icing sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
Make white cake following directions on box. Pour batter into paper lined cupcake pans, filling each liner 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes.
Make lemon cream filling by mixing cream cheese and icing sugar in a
medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Mix in lemon juice.
Whip cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until it
forms stiff peaks. Combine cream cheese mixture with whipped cream.
Make crumb topping by combining flour and powdered sugar in a medium
bowl. Add butter and dribble in the vanilla extract. Use your hands to
mix cold butter into flour and sugar. Break butter into smaller and
smaller pieces as you incorporate it into the dry ingredients. Be sure
not to press the mixture together. You want to end up with a very
crumbly consistency with pieces no bigger than a pea.
To make the cream cheese frosting in the bowl of an electric mixer beat
the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla, lemon juice and zest and icing
sugar and beat for 3 minutes, until thick and fluffy.
To assemble the lemon cream cupcakes, using the cone method fill the center of each
cupcake with the lemon cream. Frost with the cream cheese frosting, sprinkle with the crumb topping and a lemon slice.