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