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
Yield: about 30 cupcakes

Lemon Cupcake with Lemon Buttercream


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.


*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


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!

  6. I made two kinds of cupcakes for my husband’s birthday and this was one of them. They had an angel food type texture and you could see the lemon zest, so pretty. I baked them for 18 minutes but I may have over filled a little, didn’t realize how much they would rise with 1 Tbs of baking powder. The flavor was amazing. Next time, I would add the egg white/buttermilk mixture to the butter and sugar followed by the dry and then the remaining buttermilk. I don’t care for traditional buttercream but everyone loved it! The other frosting I made was cream cheese, white sugar, lemon curd, and whipping cream. That would be good on these too. I would definitely make these again, thanks for sharing your recipe!

  7. 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

  8. 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! =)

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

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

    1. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

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

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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!!

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

    1. 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!

  19. 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 🙂

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. Love love love everything Lemon!!! These look divine! Will definitely be picking up ingredients for these! Yummmmm! 🙂

  23. 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!

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

  25. 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!


    1. 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.

  26. 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

  27. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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 🙂

  28. 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?

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

        1. 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?

  29. 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 🙂

  30. 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…

  31. 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!

  32. 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!

  33. 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. 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!

  35. 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! 😉

  36. 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 🙂

  37. 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. 🙂

  38. 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:-)

  39. 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

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

  41. 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!!

  42. 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.

  43. 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!!

  44. 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? 🙂

      1. 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.

  45. 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 😉

  46. 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!

  47. 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 🙂

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

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