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Lemon-Flavored Cupcakes

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Lemon-Flavored Cupcakes

My family loves lemon cupcakes during festivities. Fresh lemons flavor these handmade lemon cupcakes’ delicate, moist crumb. These soft cakes are ready for birthday parties, bake sales, and year-round holidays after a light lemon buttercream frosting.

Moist Lemon Cupcakes: Tips

  • Start baking with room-temperature ingredients.
  • Use unsalted butter and neutral-flavored oil to flavor and moisten the crumb.
  • Creamed butter and sugar is frothy and lighter.
  • Mix the batter until no flour remains for a light, soft crumb.
  • Overmixing toughens and tunnels cupcakes.

Key Lemon Cupcake Ingredients

Since the ingredients are pantry staples, homemade lemon cupcakes may be made quickly. To counteract the lemon juice’s acidity, use all-purpose flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Granulated sugar, kosher salt, and fresh lemon zest give each mouthful a citrusy taste. Softened unsalted butter and vegetable oil give cupcakes the perfect buttery taste and moist texture. Batter requires two big eggs, milk, and vanilla essence.

Lemon Cupcakes: Which Frosting?

Homemade citrus cupcakes need homemade icing. American buttercream is a fast, no-cook frosting prepared from softened butter and powdered sugar. Fresh lemon zest and juice give it a zesty taste.

Lemon cupcake lifespan?

Lemon cupcakes last three days after baking and icing. Keep cupcakes covered at room temperature.


For cupcakes:

  • 4-tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2-large eggs
  • 2% or whole milk
  • 12 paper muffin liners
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • 2-large lemons
  • 1-cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp.
  • 1/4-cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Frosting and decorating:

  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3-cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp.
  • whole or 2% milk
  • Optional yellow or gold sparkling or sanding sugar for decoration.


Make cupcakes:

  1. 1/2 stick unsalted butter, 2 big eggs, and 1/2 cup whole or 2% milk on the counter. Let butter soften at room temperature for 1–1.5 hours.
  2. Heat the oven to 350°F with a center rack. Paper-line a 12-cup muffin pan.
    Medium bowl: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Whisk to dissolve lumps.
  3. For 2 teaspoons zest, finely grate 2 big lemons. Juice 1.5 lemons for 5 teaspoons. Quarter the remaining lemon half and cut 12 thin slices from two quarters to top cupcakes if preferred.
  4. Put 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a stand mixer (or big bowl if using an electric hand mixer) and massage together with your fingers until aromatic.
  5. Butter and 1/4 cup vegetable oil to lemon sugar. Beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment until fluffy, 3–5 minutes. Scrape basin sides with a flexible spatula. After each egg, beat thoroughly.
  6. Beat half the flour mixture on low speed for 20 seconds. Mix the milk, 4 tablespoons lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract on low speed for 10 seconds. The batter will look curdled. Beat the remaining flour mixture on low for 20 seconds. Fill each muffin well with 1/4 cup of batter.
  7. About 20 minutes, bake cupcakes until a tester put into the middle comes out clean and the sides begin to brown.
  8. Remove cupcakes with a butter knife or little offset spatula. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Wash and dry the stand mixer bowl and paddle attachment (or electric hand mixer beaters and bowl). Let 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter for the frosting soften at room temperature in the bowl.

Make frosting:

  1. Whisk 3 cups powdered sugar in a large bowl to eliminate lumps.
  2. The butter dish needs 1 tablespoon lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Beat for 20 seconds using the paddle attachment. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time on low speed, scraping the bowl as required.
  3. 1 tablespoon milk and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Beat on medium speed for 3–5 minutes to lighten and fluff the frosting. Spoon or pipe icing onto cupcakes. Add sparkling or sanding sugar and the saved lemon segments.

Recipe notes

Make ahead: Make the cupcakes and icing a day ahead and keep them separate. Keep cupcakes at room temperature and frosting in the fridge. Before icing the cupcakes, let the frosting cool for 30 minutes. Unfrosted cupcakes may be wrapped carefully and freezer for two months. Frost after thawing.

Storage: Frosted cupcakes can be kept in an airtight container for 3 days at room temperature.

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