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Lemon Zest Cupcakes recipe

Lemon Zest Cupcakes recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Cake
  • Mini cakes
  • Cupcakes
  • Lemon cupcakes

These will put a tingle on your tongue.

London, England, UK

8 people made this

IngredientsServes: 12

  • 125g softened butter or margarine
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 2 medium eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons milk (room temperature)
  • finely grated rind of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • granulated sugar for topping
  • 12 cupcake cases (standard size)
  • Topping
  • granulated sugar
  • juice of the lemon

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:15min ›Ready in:30min

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C / Gas 5. Line a muffin tray with cupcake cases.
  2. Beat the softened butter or margarine with the caster sugar in a bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the flour, eggs, milk and lemon rind to the bowl and mix until smooth.
  3. Divide the mixture between the paper cases and bake in the centre of the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the cakes have risen and an inserted skewer come out clean.
  4. Remove from tray and place on cooling rack. Immediately sprinkle each cupcake with a generous pinch of granulated sugar. Pierce each cake with a cocktail stick three times on the top and pour over a teaspoon of lemon juice.
  5. Allow the cakes to cool and enjoy!

How to ice cupcakes

Watch our How to ice cupcakes video to see how to dress them up or down for any occasion!

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(1)

Reviews in English (1)

Lovely moist cupcakes, nice zesty flavour! I iced them with a lemon glaze and they were delicious!-13 Jan 2010

Lemon Cupcake Recipe

Lemon has to be one of our favorite cupcake flavors.

It's probably because there's something just so wonderful about the contrast between the cupcake's sweetness and the tangy flavor of the fruit. The perfect lemon cupcake shouldn't be sour, but there should be a definite pop of lemon - and that's just what you get with this recipe!

It uses lemon zest and lemon juice, both in the cupcake sponge and in the frosting. These give a lovely fresh flavor - and if you want to amp up the lemon even more, follow the directions to make some lovely candied lemon to pop on top!

The recipe suggests using food coloring in the frosting. Even though it includes lemon zest, the color of the frosting is only a very pale yellow without coloring. If you're looking for a richer, more vibrant color then you'll definitely need to give it a little help!

Tips for perfect cupcakes

Pay attention to the recipe

There's an exact chemistry in producing good results when baking - and whereas other culinary styles can be forgiving if you alter ingredients, baked items come out best if you follow the recipe exactly.

And this doesn't just apply to the ingredients - it includes the method too.

You'll note that the instructions tell you to "add the flour mixture and whisk until only just combined". This is an important distinction, because if you mix the ingredients too much, your cupcakes will have a tough texture. And that's certainly not what we're going for!

Don't over-fill your cup cake liners or muffin cups

The recipe suggests only filling them around 3/4 full - this gives the cupcakes room to rise without overflowing and ruining their shape.

Bake them on the middle shelf

This is the best spot for perfectly browned cupcakes. If you need to bake more than one batch at a time, rotate them between the shelves and remember to turn the pans around half way through. If not, you'll end up with uneven colors.

Don't frost them too soon

Probably the number one mistake when frosting cupcakes is doing it before they've had a chance to cool down.

The result, of course, is melted frosting!

If you're in a rush, the best option is to pop them in the freezer for 15 minutes to ensure they're properly cool.

If you don't plan on eating all of your cupcakes in one sitting, you might want to delay frosting some of them.

Unfrosted cupcakes will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days. Once frosted, they'll need to go into the refrigerator within a day or so, which may affect their texture a little.

Amazing Lemon Cupcake Recipe with a Delicious Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

This amazing lemon cupcake recipe is everything you could want in a yummy cupcake! Each cupcake is topped with a sweet lemon cream cheese frosting. Could it get any better? I don't think so! Seriously amazing!

You guys, I love cupcakes! Last week I shared my grapefruit cupcakes, and a while ago I made orange marmalade cupcakes. I’ve also made chocolate cupcakes with a marshmallow frosting and next week I'm going to share my chocolate strawberry cupcakes with you all! I might have a problem. but maybe it’s not a problem, just a delicious opportunity!

Regardless, today I give you these amazing lemon cupcakes with a delicious lemon cream cheese frosting. The lemon flavor is bursting out of them and it is awesome!

For these cupcakes I used cake flour but if you don’t have any just use all purpose flour, it will be fine! The cake flour helps the cake be a little more crumbly but the cupcake will taste amazing regardless which flour you use.

The easy cream cheese frosting is super good and I love that you can change up the flavor by adding any extract you want. For these I obviously used lemon extract, but you can add vanilla, almond or any other extract! The frosting is even good plain!

Do you have a favorite cupcake? I’d love to know! Let me know if a comment below!

If you like this recipe check out my super easy chocolate cake pops or my Disneyland inspired Mint Juleps!

These are best topped with Homemade Whipped Cream. If you do this, I’d suggest using the Wilton 1M tip along with the decorator’s bag for the whipped cream.

Once they are topped, you can add a sliced lemon and mint leaf if you prefer.

If you enjoy this Lemon Cupcake Recipe, head on over to make these Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes next! Just a tip that they can be made gluten-free too. I have plenty of gluten-free cupcake recipes.

How to Make Lemon Cupcakes

To make lemon cupcakes, start by mixing your dry ingredients (including lemon zest) with the butter. The result should be a sandy texture, not super smooth.

Next, mix in a combination of the the sour cream, oil, and eggs. You want to make sure to mix just until combined so that you don&rsquot overwork the gluten and end up with gummy cupcakes.

Finally, add milk to the batter to thin it out. Thinning out the batter is important for light and airy cupcakes. If you prefer dense cupcakes, use less milk.

Fill the cupcake liners halfway full. If you overfill the liners, the cupcakes may not dome correctly.

As soon as the cupcakes come out of the oven, remove them from the cupcake tins. If they sit in the tins, they will continue to cook.

Once they are cool, frost with lemon buttercream frosting.

They can be kept at room temperature for three days, refrigerated for up to a week (bring to room temperature before serving), or frozen in an airtight container for up to three months.

Tip: If you are going to put sprinkles on them, don&rsquot refrigerate them with the sprinkles already on them. The sprinkles have a tendency to melt in the refrigerator and bleed color onto the frosting.

Want to make sure your cupcakes come out perfect? Just follow these quick tips and suggestions!

  • Use Fresh Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice will give your cupcakes and frosting much better flavor than a bottled version would.
  • Cream Butter Mixture Completely: Make sure you cream the butter, oil, sugar and vanilla for the full 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. It should become light, fluffy and also lighter in color.
  • Adjust Frosting Consistency: You may need to adjust the amount of lemon juice you use to get the buttercream just right. If you’re not sure what consistency to go for, check out my tutorial for How to Get the Right Frosting Consistency.


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 6 3/8 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest plus 3 Tbsp. fresh juice (from 3 lemons)
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 10 oz.) unsifted powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz.) salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 Lemon slices
  • 12 Fresh raspberries

Prepare the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tray with cupcake liners set aside. Beat sugar and butter with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add eggs 1 at a time, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla until combined.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating on low speed until just combined after each addition. Stop to scrape sides of bowl using a rubber spatula. Fold in lemon zest and juice.

Scoop slightly rounded mounds of batter using a 2-inch cookie scoop, and drop into cupcake liners. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted into centers of Cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool in tray 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Prepare the Frosting: Mash raspberries in a small bowl using a fork. Transfer mixture to a fine mesh strainer set over a small bowl, and push on berries using back of a spoon to strain juice. Discard solids. (You should have about 1/2 cup raspberry juice.) Set juice aside. Beat powdered sugar and butter with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and 1/4 cup raspberry juice. Beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add additional juice 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Transfer Frosting to a piping bag with the tip cut off (about 1/2 inch).

Overview of Ingredients in Lemon Cupcakes

You need simple, everyday ingredients for today’s cupcakes. The ingredient list is similar to my lemon cake. Let’s review:

  • Flour: All-purpose flour is the base of these cupcakes.
  • Baking Powder: Baking powder helps the cupcakes rise.
  • Salt: A little salt adds flavor.
  • Butter: I favor using neutral oil in my cakes and cupcakes because it makes cakes exceptionally moist. However, when I’m looking for a buttery taste, I use butter. In one bite, all you’ll taste is sweet lemon + buttery vanilla flavor. Unbelievable!
  • Sugar: We use all granulated sugar in this cupcake recipe.
  • Eggs: 2 eggs add structure and richness.
  • Vanilla Extract: Pure vanilla extract adds flavor. Try homemade vanilla extract.
  • Milk: Milk adds moisture. I use whole milk, but any milk works.
  • Lemons: We need 2 lemons for the cupcake batter– the zest of two lemons & the juice of two lemons.

These would be so good filled with homemade lemon curd! See my chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes for how I fill cupcakes the easy way.

Lemon Cupcakes

This lemon cupcake recipe is tangy, sweet, and has the perfect moist crumb.

Lemon Cupcakes

This recipe makes 24 luscious cupcakes. So share with friends and neighbors. I sent them with my husband to share with his co-workers.

Center a rack in the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare cupcake tins by using cupcake liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

I changed up the recipe just a little to give these cupcakes more fresh lemon flavor. They are even better the next day, so if you have the time make them ahead.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.

Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.

Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light and fluffy.

Beat in the vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon juice, then add one-third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.

Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.

Check out our Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake recipe.

Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides as needed.

Give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Place the batter into the muffin pan.

Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife or wooden stick inserted into the centers should come out clean.

Cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, thoroughly mix together the room temperature butter and cream cheese.

Add the lemon juice, zest, and salt and mix to combine. On low speed, add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time until you reach the desired spreading consistency.


  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 115g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tblsp of fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 80ml buttermilk
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 4 tblsp lemon curd
  • For the toppings:
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 150g fondant
  • 2 tblsp lemon juice
  • Yellow food colour
  • Sprinkles of your choice
  • You will also need:
  • Deep muffin tray
  • 12 cases
  • 1 large and 1 small flower cutter

How to decorate Lemon Cupcakes

Want to add a little flair to your lemon cupcakes? Top them with a small wedge of lemon. While I don’t recommend eating the lemon (peel and all!) on top of the cupcake, it does make for a cute presentation. You can also zest a little of the fresh lemon right on top of the frosting on the cupcakes.

Sprinkles are also always a good call! These Yellow Sugar Sprinkles are the perfect topping for these lemon cupcakes. Or take it to another level with these Edible Yellow Glitter Flakes!

If I’m sharing these with friends or neighbors, I love these cupcake boxes for transporting the cupcakes. Wrap a ribbon around the box or write a message on it for a special occasion.

It’s a simple touch that makes these cupcakes look like they came straight from an expensive bakery! I won’t tell how easy they are to make at home if you won’t!


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