Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

06.24.2014

These Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting are packed with fresh lemon flavor! They’re the perfect warm weather dessert and are a total crowd pleaser. Garnish with lemon slices for a simple, yet elegant dessert. 

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Classic Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

I post a lot of cupcake recipes, have you noticed? Why? Because it means I get to eat more cupcakes. Really I just love cupcakes and they’re so photogenic, unlike many other things I take pictures of. They’re fun to dress up and the flavor options are endless.

Today I’m sticking with a classic, Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting. These are a classic done right.

What do I love about these cupcakes? They are loaded with an abundance of lemon flavor (if we are going to call them lemon cupcakes, they better taste like lemon, right? Not just a hint here and there), they have a soft texture and the frosting on top is to die for! These are summer’s dream cupcakes right here.

Don’t wait for a reason to celebrate to make these, just make them because it’s summer! That’s a celebration alone, right? I always think the weekend counts as a reason to celebrate with cupcakes too. Enjoy!

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting and a lemon wedge on top

Lemon Cupcake Ingredients

For the lemon cupcakes, you’ll need:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Cake flour
  • Baking powder and baking soda
  • Salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Lemon zest and juice
  • Unsalted butter
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Buttermilk
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Simple syrup

And for the homemade lemon buttercream frosting, you’ll need:

  • Butter
  • Lemon zest and juice
  • Powdered sugar
  • Heavy cream
  • Vanilla extract
  • Lemon extract

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting on wire rack

How to Make Lemon Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sift both flours into a mixing bowl. Add baking powder, baking soda and salt, then whisk and set aside.
  • In a food processor, pulse together granulated sugar with lemon zest until finely ground.
  • Whip together butter with lemon sugar mixture until pale and fluffy.
  • Mix in egg, then mix in egg whites one at a time, adding in vanilla with second egg white.
  • Add the rest of the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
  • Bake cupcakes until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean.
  • Prepare the simple syrup by whisking together the lemon juice and granulated sugar. Brush mixture over warm cupcakes.
  • Make the lemon buttercream frosting by whipping the butter with the lemon zest until very pale and fluffy.
  • Mix in powdered sugar, then blend in lemon juice, cream, vanilla extract and lemon extract.
  • Pipe or spread frosting over cupcakes.

Lemon Cupcakes garnished with mint leaves and lemon wedges

Can I Substitute All-Purpose Flour for the Cake Flour?

If possible, use cake flour as the lemon cupcake recipe calls for. It makes the cupcakes extra light and fluffy!

Can I Use a Buttermilk Substitute in the Cupcake Batter?

In a pinch, a buttermilk substitute may work in this recipe. But real buttermilk will give you the richest, moistest lemon cupcake.

How to Store Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting

Store these cupcakes in an airtight container to keep them fresher for longer.

Tips for the Best Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

  • Use all of the lemon simple syrup on top of the cupcakes.
  • Let the cupcakes cool completely before topping them with the lemon frosting.
  • Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the brightest, best flavor.

More Lemon Desserts You’ll Love:

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Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

4.2 from 5 votes

These lemon cupcakes are heavenly! They're brimming with bright flavor and perfectly fluffy and they're finished with a dreamy frosting.

Servings: 12
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest (zest of 2 medium lemons)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup + 3 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Simple Syrup
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp sugar

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

  • 3/4 cup butter , nearly at room temperature (I used 1/2 cup unsalted and 1/4 cup salted)
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp lemon extract
  • Lemon slices or lemon drop candies and mint leaves for decorating (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift all-purpose flour and cake flour into a mixing bowl. Add baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk 20 seconds, set aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar with lemon zest until finely ground, about 1 minute. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together butter with lemon sugar mixture until pale and fluffy (if you don't have the paddle attachment that constantly scrapes bowl, then occasionally throughout entire mixing process, stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl). Mix in egg, then mix in egg whites one at a time, adding in vanilla with second egg white.
  3. In the liquid measuring cup used to measure buttermilk, whisk together buttermilk with lemon juice. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter/egg mixture, then mix just until combined. Then add 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture to the butter/egg mixture and mix just until combined. Repeat process with flour and buttermilk mixture once more then finish by mixing in last 1/3 of the flour mixture. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.
  4. Divide batter among 12 paper lined muffin cups. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean, about 18 - 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool several minutes in muffin tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Meanwhile prepare simple syrup.
  5. For the simple syrup: In a small bowl, whisk together 1 Tbsp lemon juice with 1 Tbsp granulated sugar until sugar has dissolved. Brush mixture over warm cupcakes (use all of it, about 2 light coats over each cupcake). Allow cupcakes to cool completely.

  6. For the Lemon Buttercream Frosting: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter with lemon zest on medium-high speed until very pale and fluffy (it should be nearly white. If using a paddle attachment that doesn't constantly scrape bowl while mixing, then stop mixer occasionally throughout entire mixing process and scrape down bottom and sides of bowl). Mix in 1 cup powdered sugar, then blend in lemon juice, cream, vanilla extract and lemon extract. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, then whip mixture until very fluffy, about 4 - 5 minutes longer. Pipe or spread frosting over cupcakes. Decorate with lemon slices or lemon drop candies and mint leaves if desired. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Notes

Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Lemon Cupcakes
Author: Jaclyn
lemon cupcakes with lemon buttercream frosting

146 comments

  • Penny: I made the lemon frosting for a 13 x 9 lemon cake. Just used a box mix and added zest and lemon flavoring. I topped the cake with your simple syrup and lemon frosting. So delicious! I can always count on your recipes to come out delicious. I had limited time to make something…next time I will make your lemon cupcakes. Thank you January 10, 2019 at 4:09pm Reply

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