★★★★★

Lemon Cupcake with Lemon Buttercream

The ultimate cupcake recipe for lemon lovers! These Lemon Cupcakes topped with light and fluffy lemon buttercream are easy to make and better than any store bought cupcakes.

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

Look, I’m devoted to chocolate. The catalog of chocolate dessert recipes on this site is proof.

But I also have a good thing going on the side with all things lemon. If I’m not making a dessert with chocolate, it’s probably because I got distracted by an idea for a lemon-filled treat. In this case: Lemon Cupcakes!

What makes this recipe the BEST

When it comes to lemon cupcakes, breads and cookies, I have some requirements: I need to TASTE the lemon. Not just smell it, not just trust it’s in there because the label says so.

I also need them to be plenty sweet to balance out the sour citrus.

These Lemon Cupcakes deliver on all counts. And they’re topped with the best ever fluffy lemon buttercream, just to seal the deal.

You use both the zest and the juice from real fresh lemons in these cupcakes. This gives them a satisfying zing that you just don’t get from using just the zest or artificial lemon flavoring like I’ve seen in some recipes.

I didn’t use any yellow food coloring here, so if you’re sensitive to food dyes you can still enjoy lemony goodness. It’s all in the taste!

Ingredient Notes

I love the rise and moist crumb these cupcakes have thanks to the buttermilk in the batter. You can use store bought or use my recipe for homemade buttermilk to use in lemon cupcakes.

Another secret to the perfect texture these cupcakes have is cake flour. This kind of flour is finer than all-purpose and makes the cupcakes so light! You can use all purpose flour if cake flour isn’t available but the texture will be quite different.

Looking for lime cupcakes or orange cupcakes? Swap out the lemons for the citrus of your choice.

Because I didn’t add any food coloring, the lemon cupcakes are white rather than the traditional yellow of many lemon desserts. If you want them yellow, go ahead and ad a drop or two of yellow food coloring gel to the batter.

To Make the Cupcakes

STEP 1. Mix the wet ingredients

Mix egg whites with 1/4 cup of the buttermilk and lemon zest together in a small bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy, about 2-3 minutes.

STEP 2. Add the dry ingredients

Add the cake flour, baking powder and salt to the butter mixture. Mix until combined. Slowly add in egg white mixture then beat in the remaining butter milk.

STEP 2. Bake

Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Fill the liners with the batter to halfway full and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Remove and let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the lemon buttercream.

To Make the Frosting

STEP 1. Beat butter for 3-5 minutes until pale in color using an electric mixer.

STEP 2. Add powdered sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Pour in the heavy cream and beat for 3-5 minutes until fluffy.

STEP 3. To frost the cupcakes, fill a pastry bag with the buttercream. Pipe desired amount of buttercream onto each cupcake.

If you don’t have a frosting bag, you can fill a ziploc bag with the buttercream instead. Snip off one corner of the bag and use it to pipe frosting. You can also use a flat spatula to frost the cupcakes if desired, but the swirls of frosting make the cupcakes look so pretty!

Enjoy!

Storage Tips

Store lemon cupcakes at room temperature if you plan to eat them within a couple of days. Cupcake containers make it easy to keep the cupcakes from drying out without squishing the frosting.

You can also use an extra large tupperware container. Place the frosted cupcakes in a single layer and make sure it’s large enough that the lid won’t sink into the frosting.

For longer storage, keep buttercream frosted cupcakes in the fridge. They taste best if eaten within 4 days.

In my book, lemon desserts are for all times of year! I hope there are more people like me out there. People who eat lemon cupcakes while putting out Christmas decorations with Thanksgiving centerpieces on the table.

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 give these a try when you’re in the mood for something lemony!

Perfect Lemon Cupcakes. Perfect Lemon Buttercream. Put them together and you have the best ever handheld lemon dessert!

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

Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Bites– delicious cheesecake bites topped with a luscious lemon curd and fresh raspberries!

Yield: about 30 cupcakes

Lemon Cupcake with Lemon Buttercream

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  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.

Notes

*if you prefer a yellow cupcake, add 1-2 drops of yellow gel food coloring to give it a bright color!

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Aimee

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on November 13, 2012

Comments & Reviews

  1. Made your lemon cupcakes. The cake it self was delicious. I do have a question…when adding acid such as lemon juice to milk product makes buttermilk. I did not add the lemon juice to my frosting, however, I had a bit of frosting left and add a very small amount of lemon juice to it and it curdled. Can you offer an explanation? I added Loranm lemon emulsion and I got a lovely lemon flavor to my frosting

  2. I usually make cupcake for my children. But i haven’t make lemon cupcake with lemon buttercream. It look so delicious, i will try making. Thanks for sharing

  3. I usually make cupcake for my children. But i haven’t make lemon cupcake with lemon buttercream. It look so delicious, i will try making. Thanks for sharing

    1. Yes! You can bake the cake in round cake pans like I did here: https://www.shugarysweets.com/lemon-cake-with-creamy-filling-and-lemon-curd

  4. I started the recipe for butter pecan frosted pumpkin bars now I can’t find it please post it again.thank you I want to make them for the Holidays

  5. Aimee, I want to use this recipe for some cupcakes that will be decorated with drop flowers. Will the frosting be white or a pale yellow? Looks white in the picture, which is what I need. Thanks!

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