Lemon Cupcakes

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These lemon cupcakes are light and sweet with the perfect crumb and bright lemon flavor. They are easy to make from scratch and taste best frosted with homemade lemon frosting!

a lemon cupcake frosted with a slice of lemon on top


This lemon cupcake recipe is a delicious dessert to make any time of the year. They are light and sweet and infused with lemon juice and zest for a bold lemon flavor.

Lemon cupcakes are easy to make with a handful of simple ingredients. You can prepare them in advance by baking them and freezing to frost and serve later.

4 Lemon Cupcakes, one with a bite taken out of it

Lemon Cupcake Recipe: Ingredients & Substitutions

overhead photo of the ingredients in this Lemon Cupcake recipe
  • All-purpose flour. cake flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour.
  • Salted butter. Unsalted butter works well too. You can replace up to half of the butter with canola oil.
  • Granulated sugar. organic cane sugar or regular white sugar are both good choices.
  • Sour cream. full-fat Greek yogurt is a great substitute.
  • Whole milk. Heavy cream or half and half can be used in place of whole milk.
  • Lemon juice. use freshly squeezed or bottled juice.
  • Lemon zest. This is optional, but recommend for a bold lemon flavor.
2 Lemon Cupcakes with lemon frosting

How to Make Lemon Cupcakes

Let’s walk through this lemon cupcake recipe step-by-step, and don’t forget to watch the video!

Begin by combining the dry ingredients (but not the sugar) in a medium bowl, then set the mixture aside.

a bowl of the dry ingredients in this Lemon Cupcakes Recipe

Next, cream together the butter and sugar together for 1 minute.

This can be done by hand, in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer.

two photos showing how to make lemon cupcakes -  beating butter and sugar

Next, add eggs and vanilla and beat for 1 minute.  

two photos showing how to make lemon cupcakes - adding eggs and vanilla

Then add the sour cream, milk and lemon juice and stir until combined.

two photos showing how to make lemon cupcakes - adding sour cream, milk and lemon juice

Next, add the dry ingredients and lemon zest to the wet ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth.

two photos showing how to make lemon cupcakes - adding dry ingredients

Bake

Once the batter is ready, fill each cupcake liner with ¼ cup batter.

Then, bake the lemon cupcakes in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are set and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean or with a few crumbs.

two photos showing lemon cupcakes before and after baking in the muffin pan

Transfer the baking pans to a wire cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove the lemon cupcakes from the pan and let them cool completely on the wire cooling rack.

10 lemon cupcakes on a wire cooling rack

Frost & Serve

Once cool, frost the lemon cupcakes with your favorite frosting and serve. I suggest this lemon buttercream frosting, vanilla buttercream frosting or homemade vanilla frosting for the best results! You can also fill them with lemon curd!

Transfer the frosted cupcakes to a serving plate and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. I like to chill them for at least 30 minutes so the frosting sets.

lemon frosting being piped onto a lemon cupcake

Store

Store these cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

a Lemon Cupcake with frosting and piece of lemon on top

Freeze

To freeze, follow the recipe and let the cupcakes cool completely. Then transfer the cupcakes (frosted or unfrosted) to an airtight container and freeze in a single layer until you’re ready to frost and serve. 

Thaw at room temperature (do not microwave or heat in the oven).

4 Lemon Cupcakes on a serving plate

Lemon Cupcakes Recipe FAQs

How do you decorate cupcakes?

I use the following tools to decorate cupcakes:
Piping bags – I have both reusable and disposable piping bags and use them all the time. 
Piping tips and couplers – I recommend a great starter tip and coupler set. However the Wilton 1M tip and large coupler are my favorite – and can be used in so many ways.  

Can I make mini cupcakes?

Yes, you will need to use a mini cupcake pan and shorten the baking time (to about 10-12 minutes).

Can I use bottled lemon juice?

Yes, I use pure, organic bottled lemon juice to make this recipe to save time!

a frosted Lemon Cupcakes with a bite taken out of it

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Lemon Cupcakes

Laura
These lemon cupcakes are light and sweet with the perfect crumb and bright lemon flavor. They are easy to make from scratch and taste best frosted with homemade lemon frosting!
5 from 3 votes
Course cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 Cupcakes
Calories 107
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Cooling30 minutes
Total Time1 hour

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Line two standard muffin pans with liners and lightly grease each liner with cooking spray, set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt. Set aside
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat butter and sugar for 1 minute.
  • Add eggs and vanilla and beat for 1 minute.
  • Add sour cream, milk and lemon juice and stir until combined.
  • Add dry ingredients and lemon zest to the wet ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth.
  • Fill each cupcake liner with ¼ cup batter.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are set and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean or with a few crumbs.
  • Place the baking pans on a wire cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer the to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Once cool, frost (with lemon buttercream) and serve.

Video

Notes

Ingredient Substitutions
  • All-purpose flour. cake flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour.
  • Salted butter. Unsalted butter and canola oil are good substitutes for salted butter. I recommend using butter for the best flavor.
  • Granulated sugar. organic cane sugar or regular white sugar are both good choices.
  • Sour cream. full-fat Greek yogurt is a great substitute.
  • Whole milk. Heavy cream or half and half can be used in place of whole milk.
  • Lemon juice. use freshly squeezed or bottled juice.
  • Lemon zest. This is optional, but recommend for a bold lemon flavor.
How to store lemon cupcakes
Store these cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
To Freeze
To freeze, follow the recipe and let the cupcakes cool completely. Then transfer the cupcakes (frosted or unfrosted) to an airtight container and freeze in a single layer until you’re ready to frost and serve. 
Thaw at room temperature (do not microwave or heat in the oven).

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 107kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 73mg | Potassium: 43mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 157IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 0.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I was looking for a new lemon cake recipe and was so excited to find one on this blog. (Every recipe I’ve tried from this blog has been amazing!) This lemon cake did not disappoint! These cupcakes were perfectly moist and so lemony! The lemon zest really adds a lot of flavor! I’m not sure if my cupcake pan is bigger or if I overfill mine or something, but this only made 12 cupcakes for me. (Which is fine because I didn’t really want 2 dozen cupcakes hanging around tempting me!)

    I used Miyoko’s oat milk butter and Foyager Project unsweetened plain cashew yogurt in place of sour cream and it worked perfectly! This recipe has already been saved into our collection! Thank you!

  2. What are the ingredients for making the chocolate cake from a 6 inch cake to a 9 inch pan size cake
    Thanks,
    Cynthia Walker