Lemon Cupcake with Lemon Buttercream

Lemon Cupcakes- the best white cake batter from scratch with a hint of lemon, topped with a #lemon buttercream frosting! #cupcakes www.shugarysweets.com

I am trying real hard to finish sharing some of my recipes from this year so I can get to sharing some holiday treats with you! I have been baking up a storm and I feel guilty that so many of these great recipes get put on the shelf because a seasonal recipe takes precedence. So I get it. Lemon isn’t the “seasonal” flavor right now.

But here’s the thing. In my book, if I don’t make something with chocolate, it’s because I have a taste for lemon. I love all things lemon, any time of year. So I am hoping there are more people like me out there!

People who eat lemon cupcakes while putting out Christmas decorations with Thanksgiving centerpieces on the table.

Lemon Cupcakes- the best white cake batter from scratch with a hint of lemon, topped with a #lemon buttercream frosting! #cupcakes www.shugarysweets.com

Hello? Still there? Good!

If you’re NOT that person, then save this recipe for a more fitting time in your life. That’s cool with me. Just be sure to make this, it’s amazing. HONEST.

Love this Lemon Cupcake Recipe? You may also enjoy these recipes….
Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Bites– delicious cheesecake bites topped with a luscious lemon curd and fresh raspberries! by Shugary Sweets
Diet 7Up Lemon Blueberry Cake– the easiest lemon cake ever. Honest. by Plain Chicken
Olive Garden’s Lemon Cream Cake– a copycat of the original, and it looks spot on delicious! by Eat Cake for Dinner
Lemon Cupcake with Lemon Buttercream

Yield: about 30 cupcakes

Sweet lemon cupcakes made from my favorite, from scratch, white cake recipe. Topped with a soft lemon buttercream frosting!


    For the Cupcakes:
  • 5 egg whites, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • For the Frosting:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream


  1. In small bowl, mix egg whites, 1/4 cup buttermilk and lemon zest. Set aside.
  2. In mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Slowly add in egg white mixture. Beat in remaining buttermilk.
  3. Prepare cupcake tins with paper cupcake liners. Fill liners half full and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove and cool in pan 5 minutes then transfer to cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. For the frosting, beat butter for 3-5 minutes until pale in color. Add powdered sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice (about 2 Tbsp from fresh lemon) and cream. Beat for 3-5 minutes until fluffy.
  5. Frost cupcakes by filling a pastry bag with tip and pipe on the frosting. ENJOY.
Linked To: LilLuna  Chic and Crafty  I’m Lovin It  Potluck  Sweet Treats  Wrap Up  Sundae Scoop

120 Responses to “Lemon Cupcake with Lemon Buttercream”

  1. posted Nov 13, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    These are stunning! I love lemon desserts. And I’d probably eat this buttercream with a spoon!

  2. posted Nov 13, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    You make the prettiest desserts, Aimee! They are just stunning – you’re the cupcake-decorating queen. Love these!

  3. posted Nov 13, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Wow, Aimee, these cupcakes are gorgeous! I love the liners and the piping job is phenomenal. I’m sure they taste just as great as they look :)

  4. posted Nov 13, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    These sounds delicious.
    I love using buttermilk and I always have leftover egg whites and I love lemon.

  5. posted Nov 13, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    These look scrummy! I love lemon cupcakes, Will have to try them once my lemon tree ripens up!

    • posted Nov 13, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      A lemon tree? Are you kidding me? So jealous….

      • posted Jul 13, 2013 at 5:43 am

        I don’t have a lemon tree at home but we do have a lime tree 😀

  6. posted Nov 13, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Yep, I’m definitely with ya! Lemon is actually my favorite kind of cake. I LOVE it! So refreshing and moist and delicious any time of year. I actually super love it at Christmastime, too! Helps break up all the chocolate and eggnog and peppermint, ya know? These look so luscious, Aimee!

  7. posted Nov 13, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Aimee that cupcake is soooo pretty!!! I want to swim in that frosting.
    I actually bake lemon squares every year to put on my Christmas platter of goodies and everyone loves it! I say lemon has no season 😉

  8. posted Nov 13, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    these are absolutely gorgeous, aimee! i love the buttercream on top and the subtle lemon flavor throughout. the tip you used to pipe that frosting is awesome – would you mind sharing? :)

    • posted Nov 13, 2012 at 9:47 pm

      Whoops, need to put that in there! It’s tip 2D. Thanks :)

      • Anonymous
        posted Dec 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm

        I made these yesterday for a holiday party. Everyone loved them. I also used a 2D tip for the icing, but my lemon zest clogged it up. As a result, the icing wasn’t as pretty, but with some gold sprinkles on too, no one knew the difference.

  9. posted Nov 13, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    These are beautiful! I bet they taste pretty darn good, too!

  10. posted Nov 13, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    oh dear lord, seasonal or not lemon desserts will ALWAYS hold a place in my heart. I honestly LOVE lemon cake, but I top mine with cream cheese icing – now LEMON buttercream? I can totally get on board with! Take me back to the summer with these babies, I must make them!!

  11. posted Nov 13, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    I love these Aimee! I love lemon all year. I actually have a lemon idea FOR Christmas. :)

  12. posted Nov 13, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    That looks so yummy. Great pictures! Come and visit us. We are having a great giveaway this week from Pick Your Plum – $75 swank bag.

  13. Danielle Goewert
    posted Nov 13, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    I am soooo excited about this. My daughter and husband adore lemon. So I guess I know what I am making for her next birthday. Even though she request lemon cake with raspberry buttercream in the middle every year. I might just have to change it up. Thanks!!

  14. posted Nov 13, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    OH these look so delicious! I can just eat the frosting, add some more, eat it again, then eat the cupcake. YUM!

  15. posted Nov 13, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    These cupcakes look so pretty!!!!

  16. posted Nov 14, 2012 at 12:34 am

    I’m with you – i LOVE lemon anytime anywhere
    I actually prefer it to chocolate, pumpkin, or even apple

    and your cupcakes are absolutely beautiful

  17. posted Nov 14, 2012 at 10:45 am

    I absolutely LOVE anything lemon any time of year! These cupcakes look amazing!

  18. posted Nov 14, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Serioulsy the best thing I’ve seen all day!

  19. Liz
    posted Nov 14, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I love all things lemon too! Thanks for the great recipe….it’ll be added to my must-try recipes! :)

  20. posted Nov 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Lemon ALL YEAR LONG, baby! :)

  21. posted Nov 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    ohh, I love a great Lemon cupcake!! And the icing is so fluffy!! love love love love looooove!!

  22. posted Nov 15, 2012 at 1:13 am

    Well…I am sadly in the minority here. Lemon is ok, but not my favorite. Please don’t hate me:-) I would gladly make them for my lemon loving husband though…that’s gotta count for something right? Your frosting is absolutely gorgeous…I love how fluffy and ruffly it is:-)

  23. posted Nov 15, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I have to admit that I’m not into lemon at the moment but it’s my favorite in spring and summer. The more sour, the better! These look delightful. Definitely bookmarking for later. :)

  24. posted Nov 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    YUM! My mom used to make the BEST lemon bars. I’ll miss not having them this year, but maybe I’ll try these cupcakes instead.

    Do you remember when Dunkin Donuts used to have lemon filled donuts?? Those were my favorites! I’d picking those over a boston creme anyday :)

  25. posted Nov 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    oooo these look good!

  26. posted Nov 15, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I’m with you- love lemon all year round! These are beautiful!

  27. posted Nov 15, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    I can eat lemon desserts anytime! These are simply breathtaking, Aimee! Soooo beautiful!

  28. posted Nov 16, 2012 at 12:59 am

    I love lemon absolutely any time of year too, but it’s cold in lots of places now, so doesn’t that mean it’s citrus season? I say yes! 😉

  29. posted Nov 16, 2012 at 3:03 am

    I’m with you … I can eat lemon any time of year. Lemon is a nice break from all of the rich and heavy holiday treats. These look Amazing, pinning!

  30. posted Nov 16, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    These look amazing!

    I have a weekend party I’d love for you to share this on:




  31. posted Nov 19, 2012 at 2:51 am

    These are so gorgeous! They are seriously making my mouth water…

    • posted Nov 19, 2012 at 8:45 am

      Thank you Rachel, they are a popular flavor request here at Shugary Sweets!!!

  32. posted Nov 20, 2012 at 11:35 am

    wow, they look delicious. And those cupcake liners are perfect! I would be honored if you shared this at my Ginger Jamboree Link Party!

  33. posted Dec 1, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Lemon cupcakes with lemon buttercream must be amazing! I’ve featured this recipes on my blog! I hope you don’t mind! If you don’t agree with that please contact me and I will remove it. All the best.

  34. Katie
    posted Dec 27, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    I made these last night for a party that my friend is having. I doubled the recipe because there are going to be so many guests (note to self/others: do two separate batches next time because my Kitchen-Aid mixer could hardly handle it!) They are AMAZING. The flavor and texture is perfect. Light and fluffy with just the right amount of lemon. I left them in about 30-60 seconds longer because some of them were a little underdone at 15 minutes and as a result, they collapsed a little. I haven’t frosted them yet, but if the frosting is like the cake, I know it’ll be perfect. Thanks for sharing!

    • posted Dec 28, 2012 at 7:13 am

      Hi Katie, I’m so happy you enjoyed these cupcakes! So delicious!!

  35. Stephie
    posted Feb 3, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    I made these tonight because I had a craving to bake. My boyfriend picked them out on Pinterest. They were absolutely divine. I have bookmarked the recipe in case I ever want to make lemon cupcakes again – and also to use it for that incredible buttercream frosting recipe. It’s perfection! Thank you!

  36. Jill
    posted Feb 8, 2013 at 4:32 am

    I am looking at your lemon buttercream recipe, yes at 1 something a.m. can that be made a little ahead of time and piped later? What tip is used for the frosting, its lovely…

  37. Rebeka
    posted Feb 15, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    I love lemon, but my son does not. I am looking for a white cake recipe. Can this recipe be used minus the lemon?

    • posted Feb 16, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      Absolutely!!! It’s my basic white cake recipe with lemon added. ENJOY!

  38. BrittanyS
    posted Feb 22, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I’m just wondering what tip you used to decorate the cupcakes with and also how you did it?

  39. posted Feb 22, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Hi Brittany. I used a large 2D tip and starting in the center and swirling upwards (like an icecream cone) just piped it on. Takes practice, but you have lots of cupcakes to work with in this recipe :)

  40. susan
    posted Feb 23, 2013 at 11:11 am

    hello! I’ve just done making the frosting but it was not a success :(( can you tell me where i’ve gone wrong? I thought maybe i overbeat the butter so it was already runny before i added the rest? or could it be that i divided the recipe ingredients by 4?

    • posted Feb 23, 2013 at 11:18 am

      Without being there I wish I could tell you! By beating the butter it definitely should NOT have turned runny. I would say maybe the butter wasn’t right? Was it unsalted butter (NOT margarine?). Dividing the batch shouldn’t matter, as long as all the proportions were right. Sorry I’m no help!

      • susan
        posted Feb 23, 2013 at 11:49 am

        could it be that i use a substitute heavy cream? still so confused, I did use unsalted butter but it did not turn pale an definitely not white like in the pictures. Sigh.

        • posted Feb 23, 2013 at 12:35 pm

          Hmmm, I think it must be something with the butter you used, because once you beat it, it should be very pale yellow (and NOT runny). Maybe switch brands?

  41. Wendy Kolberg
    posted Feb 24, 2013 at 11:29 am

    May I ask what frosting tip you used? Love the look of these.

    They look fabulous

  42. Bev Tofanelli
    posted Feb 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    These cupcakes are beautiful. Do you whip the egg whites separately or just mix the egg whites, buttermilk and lemon zest?

    • posted Feb 24, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      Hi Bev, I don’t whip them. I just give them a little mix to combine them with the buttermilk and lemon zest. Enjoy the recipe :)

  43. Lisa
    posted Feb 24, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    Hello! Love the looks of this recipe. QUESTION…..can this bater be made WITHOUT the lemon? Used as a white cake? Maybe just adding a little vanilla? Looking for a great white cake recipe! I make Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate cake and I LOVE the batter, but wish sometimes that I could make it without the cocoa. Not sure if it would turn out right. Thanks. Can’t wait to hear from you.

    • posted Feb 25, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      Lisa, YES. This lemon version is based off my white cake recipe. Just omit the lemon and you will LOVE it!!! Let me know what you think.

  44. Lisa
    posted Mar 8, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Ive never zested a lemon. How do I do it and or can I buy it. Also what is cake flour

  45. Sherry
    posted Mar 14, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    Looks great. I love lemon desserts any way they can be fixed. Lemon and chocolate is my favorite . These I will be trying this week. Thanks for sharing

  46. Rozee
    posted Apr 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Hello! I have one quick question-it appears that the lemons for the cupcakes themselves are zested only-the juice isn’t used-am I right? The only actual lemon juice you use is for the frosting-right?

    Thanks-these look just LOVELY!


    • posted Apr 6, 2013 at 6:44 pm

      Correct. You will have some naked zested lemons from the cake portion. I usually slice them up and put them in a big pitcher of water. But, you are correct. The only juice is in the frosting.

  47. Anonymous
    posted Apr 6, 2013 at 9:31 pm
  48. Lori
    posted Apr 14, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Very good recipe. The cake was a little spongy and sweet. The buttercream frosting was amazing with the hint of lemon. Thanks!

  49. Karissa
    posted Apr 19, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    I just came across your blog — I L-O-V-E all kinds of citrus, and these lemon cupcakes look delish!! I can’t wait to try them out. Thanks for sharing!

  50. Terri
    posted Apr 30, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Love love love everything Lemon!!! These look divine! Will definitely be picking up ingredients for these! Yummmmm! :-)

  51. Stephanie
    posted May 2, 2013 at 11:19 am

    What did you sprinkle on top?

  52. posted May 22, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    I made these last night and they are so yummy! I, also, had some lemon flavored sugar that I just sprinkled on top after they were frosted. Thank you for sharing your recipes.

  53. Shelby
    posted Jun 10, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    I just made these beauties. I find I don’t really like buttercream frosting. My parent loved the frosting. My mom ate out of the bowl. And my dad had 3 already. For me all I could taste was butter. The cake was AMAZING. Definitely spongy. Loved the cake.

  54. posted Jun 12, 2013 at 10:01 am

    I am making these tomorrow for bible study and I am so excited to see how they turn out!! They look absolutely gorgeous in the pictures! Hope mine turn out like that! haha :)

  55. Clelia M Ganiolglu
    posted Jul 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Hello !! I live in Germany and i can’t find the Cake Flower here :-( can i used the normal one ( all Purpuse Flower )

    • Lisa
      posted Jul 22, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      Clelia, Cake flour is lighter than AP (all purpose) flour….if you have access to corn starch you can use the following substitution: 1 cup cake flour = 3/4 cup (12 tbsp) AP flour + 2 tbsp cornstarch, sifted together. However if you don’t have access to cornstarch, many baking tips online even suggest substituting 1 cup – 2 tbsp AP flour & sifting it 2-3 times to lighten the texture. Hope this helps!

  56. posted Jul 8, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I made these cupcakes for my grandmother’s 89th birthday!! She and I both have an affinity for lemon sweets, and these were perfect! I made regular sized cupcakes and mini cupcakes. The mini cupcakes I cooked for 11 minutes. I topped all with the fantastic lemon buttercream frosting and either a blackberry or raspberry, then served with a choice of red raspberry or blackberry ice cream. The family LOVED them!! I will definitely be making these again soon!!

  57. CC2U
    posted Jul 12, 2013 at 8:18 am

    What size tip did you use to make this gorgeous top? So beautiful.

  58. CC2U
    posted Jul 12, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Sorry for previous question….I now see you answered above.

  59. posted Jul 15, 2013 at 4:44 am

    Hi Aimee! Do you have any tips for the piping?

  60. Jenine
    posted Sep 20, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    I made these just now. The cake is VERY dry. I had to bake for 18 min because the centers were still raw dough at 15 min. I’m sure my husband will eat these but i need a giant glass of milk just to get the dryness out of my mouth.

    • posted Sep 23, 2013 at 7:55 am

      I would double check your measurements. This definitely is not a dry cake recipe.

  61. Tracy
    posted Oct 20, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    What tip did you use for piping the frosting? It looks great!

  62. Annie
    posted Jan 4, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    I love lemon too! Just finished making these and enjoying one with a cup of tea. This is a really good recipe. I did substitute all purpose flour (forgot to buy the cake flour today)and they still are delicious. Love the frosting and enough to frost all the cupcakes . I don’ always find that to be the case with other recipes. Going to make these again with the cake flour, but can’t wait to share these with my family! I know they will love them too!

  63. posted Feb 20, 2014 at 12:20 am

    Lovely, thank you! Do you know if these freeze well? I’d like to make them for my sister’s wedding… but not the day before!

  64. Leah
    posted Feb 22, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    These were delicious!!

  65. posted Mar 16, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Lemon in always in season in my book! These look incredible. Beautiful photos! Pinned and definitely going to try these!

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  67. posted Apr 12, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Should I make any changes if I change lemon to orange? Can’t wait…I already have a lemon flavor for the dessert table so would like to try this as an orange flavor. Thanks. Your frosting piping is excellent.

    • posted Apr 13, 2014 at 9:16 am

      No changes needed, I’ve made them orange too. And lime!!

  68. Hillary
    posted Apr 13, 2014 at 1:38 am

    Love at 1st taste – these are awesome! I added more lemon juice too. I could eat a bowl of the icing alone and I never eat the icing!!! Thank you! My new fave site!

    • posted Apr 13, 2014 at 9:10 am

      So glad you loved them Hillary!!!! And I’m thrilled you found me! Happy baking!

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  70. posted May 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    How did you guys store these? Airtight on counter or in frig?

  71. Taylor
    posted May 25, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Yumm!!! I just made these and they are delicious!! Rich and lemony! The texture is great, super moist and the tops got a little crunchy. The icing is perfect. I will definitely be making these again! Love!

    • posted May 25, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      So glad you loved them. They are definitely a favorite around here!! Add some lemon curd to the centers after baking them next time, YUM.

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  73. Stacey
    posted Jun 10, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Just made these, they are perfectly delicious! I did not get anywhere close to 30 though, did you use mini-muffins tins? Also for people not used to making their own buttercream, I had to add more powdered sugar, apparently I grabbed a very juicy lemon! Anyway, wonderfully moist cake with just the right amount of lemon topped with a great icing!

  74. posted Jun 20, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    These cupcakes look heavenly! I love lemon cake!

  75. Kim
    posted Jun 29, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Made these for my Grandma’s 90th birthday party yesterday (filled with lemon curd). They were so delicious, light and fluffy! Thanks so much for the recipe…. Can’t wait to make them again and also try the white cake version!

    • posted Jun 29, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      Thanks for stopping over and letting me know you loved it!! So happy to hear :)

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  82. posted Sep 10, 2014 at 11:36 am

    I made these this week for my son’s 6th birthday. This was the best recipe I found online due to its ease. They were moist and yum! Pinned! =)

    • posted Sep 10, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Thanks so much for commenting! I’m so glad you loved the cupcakes, and thank you for pinning :) Happy birthday to your son!

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  84. Emma
    posted Dec 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    These are delicious!!!!!! So light and fluffy!!!!
    LOVED them!!!

  85. Sandra
    posted Jan 19, 2015 at 6:18 am

    They look wonderful! My husband is turning 50 and he loves lemon, I thought about making these can I freeze them once I have put the icing on?
    Thank you

  86. KC
    posted Jan 23, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    This recipe is unbelievably tasty. I give it 5 stars!!

  87. posted Mar 30, 2015 at 9:04 am

    These lemon cupcakes look charming. Taste balance seems in harmony. Thanks.

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  92. Marta Rael
    posted Feb 6, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Is this recipe adjusted for high altitude (7500)?

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