Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

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Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting is the only lemon cupcakes recipe you will ever need!  Made with fresh lemon juice and tons of flavor, these moist lemon cupcakes are zingy, refreshing, bursting with lemon flavor and topped with lemon buttercream frosting.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Let’s face it, sometimes we get in a rut and make the same things over and over and over again.

Let me help you break out of that rut with this amazing lemon cupcakes recipe.

I also need to give a separate shout out to the lemon buttercream frosting… why? Because this lemon buttercream frosting is crazy good!!

Talk about the fastest way to you make your face happy!!

These lemon cupcakes are zingy, they’re zangy, they are tender and moist and probably my new favorite guilty pleasure.

Now, if there is one thing that makes me happy in life, it’s cupcakes. Dark chocolate cupcakes, Pumpkin Cupcakes, Shark Week Cupcakes .. all the cupcakes!!!

Yes, c-a-k-e is all well and good and trust me, it’s not like I have ever turned down a piece of cake.

However, there is just something about cupcakes that make me a little bit happier, a little bit less 40+ years old, a little bit nicer.

Yup… I said it, cupcakes make you a nicer, better person. Go ahead .. try to argue that! #canthearyouovermycrinklingcupcakewrapper

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting on a plate

easy lemon cupcakes

So what is so special about these homemade lemon cupcakes?

These lemon cupcakes have soooo much flavor, so much lemony goodness but not TOO much lemony goodness. 

Not enough to make your face do that thing it does when there’s too much lemon ..

No, these lemon cupcakes are moist, fluffy and tender and have the perfect amount of refreshing zest of citrus flavor.

Too much lemon can be a bad thing but trust me, these are the perfect moist lemon cupcakes. 

And to make it even better, they are topped off with even more lemon by way of fluffy lemon buttercream frosting!!

What the….. WHAT?

Homemade lemon buttercream frosting is the answer to any and every problem in life. The End.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting is the ultimate way to kick up boring ol' desserts.  Made with fresh lemon juice and tons of flavor, these homemade Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting are zingy, refreshing and the best super moist lemon cupcakes you will ever eat!

why these cupcakes are the best!

Believe me, these homemade Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting are the best thing you can do for yourself. 

Moist lemon cupcakes topped off with fluffy lemon buttercream frosting is going to be the best part of ANY day!!

Even if you think you don’t like lemon cupcakes, trust me, you will be their #1 fan after just your first bite!

  • So much lemon flavor bursting out of these little cupcakes!
  • The lemon buttercream frosting is it’s own entity and deserves separate recognition. It’s amazing!!
  • Super moist lemon cupcakes are the answer to any and all of life’s problems.
  • Perfect for any occasion, this lemon cupcakes recipe is my go-to for all potlucks, parties and family get togethers.
  • Seriously…. the. frosting.

To make this lemon cupcake recipe … (and the lemon buttercream frosting) … you will need:

  • All purpose flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla
  • Salt
  • Lemons
  • Milk
  • Powdered sugar

how do you make lemon cupcakes?

To make this lemon cupcake recipe, preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line 24 cupcake pan cups with paper liners.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting cupcake batter

Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating each egg until incorporated before adding the next.

Mix in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest. Gently mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture, one third at a time, alternating and add the milk.

Beat until just combined; do not over mix.

Fill the cupcake liners with lemon cupcake batter 3/4 full and bake your cupcakes in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting cupcake tin

Let the Lemon Cupcakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before removing them to finish cooling on a rack.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting cooked cupcakes

When your Lemon Cupcakes are completely cool, make your Lemon Buttercream Frosting. In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift the powdered sugar.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting sifted powdered sugar

Add the softened butter and cream together on low speed until the powdered sugar and butter are completely combined. 

Add in a pinch of salt and then the juice of half a lemon and lemon zest.

Continue to beat on medium speed until the frosting is light and creamy. 

If frosting is too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add a tablespoon of water or milk to thin it out.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting in a bag

As you can see, I add my frosting to a big zip top bag that has been pushed down into a drinking cup to make frosting easier. I’m fancy like that.

pro tips for perfect lemon cupcakes

  • Sift that powdered sugar before adding it to your butter for your buttercream frosting.  I know I say it every time.. trust your friend Heather!!! … sift the powdered sugar or you will end up with lumps of sugar in your frosting and no one wants that!
  • Don’t have a large piping bag to make pretty whoop-whoop cupcakes?  Grab a large zip top bag, snip a bit off the bottom corner, add a decorating tip and then fill that bad boy up with your frosting.  I find if I push my bag into a tall tumbler glass, I can fill it a lot easier with a lot less mess. Keep in mind that big fancy frosting jobs take a ton of frosting to accomplish.. double that frosting recipe if you are getting fancy.  
  • Bring your eggs to room temperature before using them. Room temp eggs emulsify better and are fluffier than eggs right out of the refrigerator.
  • You want to make sure you are measuring your flour correctly. If you scoop out a measuring cup of flour directly from the bag, you will pack in way too much flour. To avoid this, spoon the flour into the measuring cup until its overfilled and then use the back of a butter knife to level the measuring cup at the top. Now you have the perfect flour measurement!
  • Use a small measuring cup to add your batter to your cupcake tins. This way your cupcakes are all the same size and save on (most) of the mess.
  • A trick for bringing refrigerated eggs to room temperature quicker is to let them sit in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes.
  • Buy milk while you are at the store. Chocolate cupcakes needs to be eaten with a big glass of milk. Buy milk.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting inside of cupcake

how long will cupcakes keep for?

These lemon cupcakes are fine overnight at room temperature if left covered.

Leftover cupcakes can be refrigerated for three days but they should come to room temperature before eating. Since these cupcakes are butter-based, the cake needs to warm up a bit.

Unfrosted cupcakes can be wrapped and moved to the freezer for up to two months so you can always have that bite of lemon on hand.

is lemon juice and lemon extract the same thing?

Lemon juice and lemon extract are not the same the same but extract can be used in place of fresh lemon juice.

Lemon juice has such an acidity and tartness that is can’t quite be imitated or duplicated by lemon extract but it can be used in a pinch.

Keep in mind that if you are using lemon extract, it contains a much stronger concentration of lemon flavor so you only need half as much extract as you do lemon zest to get the same lemon taste.

how do you zest a lemon

When a recipe calls for zest, it means finely minced or grated lemon peel.

The lemon peel is the yellow ‘skin’ on a lemon and it sits on top of the white pith layer. 

You can zest a lemon with a knife, a microplane or even the small openings on a standard standing cheese grater.

To zest with the microplane (shown below), just rub the lemon in one direction against the little blades.

Turn the lemon as you go so you remove only the yellow part.

The white layer is bitter so stroke only 2 or 3 times in one spot of the yellow before rotating the lemon to a new unzested spot.

Lemon Basil Chicken Risotto lemon zest

more lemon recipes

Enjoy ♥ Heather

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

If you’ve tried this Lemon Cupcakes recipe, please don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you it came out in the comments below. 

Share a photo of your creation on FACEBOOKINSTAGRAM  or save it to PINTEREST and tag #AWICKEDWHISK. I can’t wait to see your work!

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting
Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting is the only lemon cupcakes recipe you will ever need!  Made with fresh lemon juice and tons of flavor, these moist lemon cupcakes are zingy, refreshing and topped with lemon buttercream frosting.
Heather - A Wicked Whisk
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Serving Size 24

Ingredients

Lemon Cupcakes

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice about 1 1/2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoon lemon zest about 2 lemons
  • 1 cup milk

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lemon juiced and zested
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  • To make your Lemon Cupcakes, preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line 24 cupcake pan cups with paper liners.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating each egg until incorporated before adding the next. Mix in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  • Gently mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture, one third at a time, alternating and add the milk. Beat until just combined; do not over mix.
  • Fill the prepared cupcake liners with batter 3/4 full, and bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before removing them to finish cooling on a rack.
  • To make your Lemon Buttercream Frosting, in a medium sized mixing bowl, sift the powdered sugar. Add the softened butter and cream together on low speed until the powdered sugar and butter are completely combined. Add in a pinch of salt and then the lemon juice and zest.
  • Continue to beat on medium speed until the frosting is light and creamy. If frosting is too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add a tablespoon of water or milk to thin it out.

Notes

  • Sift that powdered sugar before adding it to your butter for your buttercream frosting.  I know I say it every time.. trust your friend Heather!!! … sift the powdered sugar or you will end up with lumps of sugar in your frosting and no one wants that!
  • Don’t have a large piping bag to make pretty whoop-whoop cupcakes?  Grab a large zip top bag, snip a bit off the bottom corner, add a decorating tip and then fill that bad boy up with your frosting.  I find if I push my bag into a tall tumbler glass, I can fill it a lot easier with a lot less mess. Keep in mind that big fancy frosting jobs take a ton of frosting to accomplish.. double that frosting recipe if you are getting fancy.  
  • Bring your eggs to room temperature before using them. Room temp eggs emulsify better and are fluffier than eggs right out of the refrigerator.
  • You want to make sure you are measuring your flour correctly. If you scoop out a measuring cup of flour directly from the bag, you will pack in way too much flour. To avoid this, spoon the flour into the measuring cup until its overfilled and then use the back of a butter knife to level the measuring cup at the top. Now you have the perfect flour measurement!
  • Use a small measuring cup to add your batter to your cupcake tins. This way your cupcakes are all the same size and save on (most) of the mess.
  • A trick for bringing refrigerated eggs to room temperature quicker is to let them sit in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes.
  • Buy milk while you are at the store. Chocolate cupcakes needs to be eaten with a big glass of milk. Buy milk.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 296.8kcal | Carbohydrates: 43.3g | Protein: 2.5g | Fat: 13.2g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3.8g | Cholesterol: 59.1mg | Sodium: 122mg | Potassium: 50.9mg | Fiber: 0.6g | Sugar: 33.3g | Vitamin A: 520IU | Vitamin C: 2.7mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 0.6mg

Update Notes: This post was originally published in June of 2018 but was republished with an updated recipe, new photos, step by step instructions and tips in May of 2020.

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9 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I baked these for my sister. She said they were “really good, make again good”. I really liked the recipe, it was pretty straight forward. It made 24 very even regular size cupcakes I was impressed by that. I baked as long as it said but thought they came out of the oven and seemed a little hard. But after they cooled they were perfect. For the frosting, I ended up adding another 1/2 cup of sifted powered sugar to make it thicker. I didn’t add any milk to the frosting either. But it was just barely not enough frosting. I think next time I would maybe do another half of the frosting. I used a piping tip but couldn’t be as generous as I wanted to be with the frosting. Otherwise it was really great, I would use this recipe again.

  2. These cupcakes tasted amazing! just the right amount of lemon and they were moist and light. The buttercream was delicious as well! The prep time for these is a bit longer than it states but totally worth it. These were a hit with my family.

  3. 5 stars
    These cupcakes look so pretty. So light and so summery. Frosting is just perfect. I know my kiddo would love these so I’m saving this recipe to try this weekend.

  4. 5 stars
    I agree with you — cupcakes are the best. You don’t need a plate or a utensil to eat them. You can grab one and go. Now, I have to say that I simply love lemon. I really like how you increased the lemon flavor by adding the zest.

  5. These beautiful lemon cupcakes look so fluffy, moist and delicious! The summer months are a perfect time to enjoy this fabulous dessert recipe. I’ll serve mine with a pitcher of ice cold lemonade.

  6. I really dont think there is a better summer flavor than lemon its bright cheery and the citrus makes the whole cupcakes fresh and bursting with flavor and I love the frosting!

  7. 5 stars
    Yum! This looks amazing. I love lemon desserts and cannot wait to try these and become a nicer, better person 🙂

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