Lemon cupcakes with lemon buttercream frosting will be your new favorite cupcake recipe! Made in less than 30 minutes, you'll love how fluffy, moist and fresh these lemon cupcakes are. Makes one dozen cupcakes.
Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream
I have a bit of an obsession with lemon desserts. I think it started when we went to a bakery in North Carolina that served a lemon layer cake. It was the most delicious dessert I had ever had.
Ever since, I have loved baking with lemon, from lemon bars to lemon blueberry scones. Even though we have a lemon tree in our backyard, I never get tired of lemon desserts.
Lemon cupcakes are at the top of the list. I first made them for our housewarming party years ago and they were such a hit that they have become my go-to cupcake recipe.
Zesty and sweet, these homemade lemon cupcakes have a double whammy of lemon, thanks to lemon cake and lemon buttercream.
Some lemon desserts have just a hint of lemon, but if I am going to make something lemony, I don't want it to be subtle. I want it to be obviously lemon! The lemon buttercream helps to bring it all together and balance the tart and sweetness.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Lemon cupcakes are the perfect summertime dessert. These cupcakes are so easy to make and are fluffy, sweet and bursting with fresh lemon flavor.
- Lemon lovers will adore this tart, zesty recipe.
- These easy lemon cupcakes come together in 30 minutes or less.
- Customize them with your favorite flavors (like lime or orange) or another fruity frosting.
These cupcakes are so good for a party. You could serve them for any summer get-together, a baby shower, a wedding shower or a birthday party for any lemon lover!
Here is what you will need to make these lemon cupcakes with lemon frosting:
- unsalted butter
- granulated sugar
- sour cream
- vanilla extract
- lemon zest - from one medium lemon
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
- baking soda
- unsalted butter
- vanilla extract
- powdered sugar
- heavy cream
- lemon zest
- fresh lemon juice
I recommend buying at least two lemons because you will need the zest from both and juice from one. You can use the leftover lemon to make strawberry lemonade.
This cupcake base is the base recipe I use to make any cupcake. I love switching out the icing for variations like strawberry vanilla cupcakes or orange cupcakes. Feel free to come up with your own variations!
You could even substitute orange, grapefruit, blood orange or lime to make a totally different flavor of cupcakes!
This cupcake base has sour cream in it, which keeps the cupcakes light and fluffy! It also helps cut a bit of the sweetness of the cupcakes with a bit of tanginess! You can use Greek yogurt in lieu of sour cream.
These double lemon cupcakes with buttercream frosting make the perfect party treat or summer dessert. If you want them to be less lemon-flavored, omit the lemon zest from either the batter or the icing and you'll have a more subtle lemon flavor. Or you could use another frosting flavor, like strawberry or whipped cream frosting.
If you don't have fresh lemons to make lemon zest, you can add ½ teaspoon of lemon extract to the cupcakes.
How to Make Lemon Cupcakes
Putting these from-scratch cupcakes is so simple. They take less than 30 minutes of hands-on time, which is excellent when you have other things to do!
Here's how to make this lemon cupcake recipe:
Add egg, sour cream and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and lemon zest in a medium bowl.
In the mixer, alternate between adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in a stand mixer and slowly whisking in the milk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and bottom of the bowl as needed.
Mix on medium speed until batter is smooth, but do not over-mix.
Pour batter into lined muffin tin, filling cupcake liners about halfway full.
Bake for 15-18 minutes until cupcake centers bounce back to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Allow cupcakes to cool on a cooling rack. Meanwhile, make the buttercream icing.
How to Make Lemon Buttercream Frosting
This lemon frosting is a buttercream frosting, which is delicious, creamy and fluffy. It has a strong lemony flavor, but the sweetness and creaminess bring balance to these cupcakes.
Here's how to make this homemade lemon frosting:
In a clean bowl or separate bowl, use a hand mixer to cream butter and vanilla.
Then add in lemon zest and juice.
Add ½ cup of powdered sugar.
Continue adding powdered sugar ½ cup at a time until the icing is thickened.
Lastly, mix in the heavy cream. Icing should be smooth but hold its shape fairly well.
Decorate the tops of the cupcakes with lemon slices, lemon zest, yellow sprinkles or pieces of candied lemon.
How to Store Cupcakes
Store cool, decorated cupcakes in a food-safe, airtight container. You can store uniced cupcakes similarly to storing muffins.
For transporting, you can use a cupcake carrier — so helpful for keeping them from toppling!
More Lemon Desserts
If you're looking for a perfect lemon dessert, these are the best lemon cupcakes! But you could also try one of these lemon recipes:
- Lemon poppy seed muffins are perfect for breakfast and brunch.
- These mini lemon cheesecakes will be gone before your party ends.
- A loaf of lemon blueberry bread is great for sharing with friends and neighbors.
- And this lemon and elderflower cake is a show-stopper!
More Cupcake Recipes
If cupcakes are one of your favorite desserts to bake, don't miss these recipes:
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from one medium lemon)
- 1 ⅔ cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- zest from one lemon
- juice from half a lemon
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Add egg, sour cream and vanilla extract.
- Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, lemon zest) in a separate medium bowl.
- Alternate between adding dry ingredients to wet ingredients in a stand mixer and whisking in milk slowly.
- Whisk until batter is smooth, but do not over-mix.
- Pour batter into lined muffin tin, filling cupcake liners about halfway full.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes until cupcake centers bounce back to the touch.
- Allow cupcakes to cool on a baking rack.
- Meanwhile, make the buttercream icing.
Lemon Buttercream Icing
- Use a hand mixer to cream butter and vanilla.
- Add ½ cup of powdered sugar.
- Then add in lemon zest and juice.
- Continue adding powdered sugar ½ cup at a time until the icing is thickened.
- Add heavy cream. Icing should be smooth but hold its shape fairly well.
- Pipe icing onto room-temperature cupcakes.
Make sure you bake cupcakes until they bounce back when gently touched or a toothpick comes out with cake crumbs on it. Batter on the toothpick means the cupcakes are under baked and a clean toothpick means the cupcake is too dry.
For the best, fluffiest cupcakes, cooling at room temperature is recommended.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 cupcake
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 416Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 167mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 1gSugar: 48gProtein: 3g