This Lemon Cupcakes Recipe is the perfect light and fresh summer dessert. A tender lemon cupcake with sweet & creamy lemon buttercream frosting.
We love a good fresh dessert, especially in the spring and summer, and this Lemon Cupcakes Recipe is about as fresh and citrusy as it gets! A tender lemon-infused cupcake baked to perfection and topped with the creamiest lemon buttercream frosting.
My absolute favourite kitchen tool for making cupcakes like these is a traditional KitchenAid mixer. I have THIS ONE (paid link), and it is by far my favourite kitchen appliance of all time. I don’t have a kitchen bursting with kitchen tools, but I’m not sure I could live without my stand mixer since I use it almost daily!
If a stand mixer is way out of your league then this hand mixer (paid link) is the next best thing. They really do a great job and though they do require a little more work on your part, they definitely get the job done in style!
For this lemon cupcakes recipe we also recommend using a microplane zester for zesting the lemons.
To make this recipe you’ll also need (affiliate links):
- a good mixing bowl
- a wooden spoon
- a silicone spatula
- measuring cups for dry ingredients
- measuring spoons
- measuring cups for liquid ingredients
- a cupcake scoop or ice cream scoop for portioning the batter
- disposable piping bags and piping tips
To make these lemon cupcakes you’ll need:
- unsalted butter
- granulated sugar
- vanilla extract
- fresh lemons
- all purpose flour
- baking powder
- powdered sugar
Time needed: 40 minutes
Follow these steps for the BEST lemon cupcake recipe ever!
- Use paper liners.
Cupcakes always turn out best when the baking tin is lined with paper liners. This will prevent sticking.
- Add lemon zest, not juice.
The acid from the lemon juice ruins the texture of the cupcakes, so add only lemon zest to the batter. The lemon zest provides much more lemon flavour than the juice anyway.
- Add the milk and dry ingredients alternatively.
For a cupcake batter that’s well mixed but not over-mixed, alternate adding the milk and dry ingredients, mixing well after each addition.
- Cool the cupcakes before frosting.
Cool the cupcakes completely before adding the frosting or the frosting will melt and make a big mess.
- Add heavy whipping cream for a creamy frosting.
To make your lemon buttercream ultra creamy, whip it with a little heavy whipping cream to soften it.
- Garnish your cupcakes.
Adding a slice of lemon and a mint leaf to each cupcake takes the presentation of these lemon cupcakes over the top!
Can you freeze cupcakes?
Yes, although we recommend freezing cupcakes without the frosting. When you’re ready to serve, thaw the unfrosted cupcakes, add the frosting, then serve.
How long do cupcakes last?
Frosted cupcakes keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
How long to bake cupcakes?
Most cupcakes bake in about 20-23 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
How many calories is a cupcake?
Most standard cupcakes contain between 300 and 400 calories, depending on the size.
How to frost cupcakes?
We recommend frosting cupcakes using a piping bag and tip, swirling the frosting on top of the cupcake in a circular motion working your way from the outside toward the centre of the cupcake.
We hope you love this lemon cupcake recipe as much as we do! Let us know in the comments below, what’s your favourite cupcake recipe? We’d love to know!
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For the cupcakes:
For the buttercream frosting:
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- zest of 2 lemons
- 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
- pinch of salt
For the cupcakes:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare two 12-cup muffin or cupcake tins with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar.
- Mix the butter and sugar together on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
- Measure the milk and add the vanilla to the milk. Set aside.
- Measure the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest into a separate bowl and whisk them together to combine.
- Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed just until combined. Add half the milk mixture, mixing well just until combined. Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, mix, and then add the rest of the milk and mix. Finally, add the remaining dry ingredients and mix well until everything is well combined, scraping down the bowl.
- Divide the batter between the prepared 24 cupcake liners and bake for about 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, or until a toothpick inserted into one of the cupcakes in the middle of the oven comes out clean.
For the frosting:
- Whip the butter on high speed in your stand mixer or in a bowl using your hand mixer.
- Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time (add the lemon zest with the first addition), mixing after each addition.
- Add the heavy cream or milk one tablespoon at a time and whip the frosting on medium-high speed for several minutes until it's light and fluffy.
- Add the frosting to a piping bag, fitted with a star tip (or no tip at all, depending on your style preference). Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes (NEVER frost hot cupcakes…the frosting will melt!) in a circular motion, and add a slice of lemon and a few mint leaves (optional).
- Refrigerate until ready to serve, or serve immediately.
Storage InstructionsThese cupcakes can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Before serving, let them sit at room temperature, uncovered (to prevent excess moisture) for about 20 minutes.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated, using Spoonacular, for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.