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Lemony Lemon Cupcakes Recipe

Our Lemony Lemon Cupcakes recipe produces a light, angel food cake like cupcake with a wonderful lemon tang. Top it with our silky homemade lemon buttercream and you have an amazing treat everyone will enjoy. These cupcakes are light as a feather with a scrumptious, bright lemon flavor. Keep them simple or dress them up to fit the aesthetic of your event.

This Lemon cupcakes recipe is made from a delicate vanilla cake infused with lemon zest and fresh lemon juice for the perfect dance of sweet and citrus tartness. Topped with the most sumptuous buttercream made with cream, lemon juice and the zest of a lemon, for a delicious way to finish off the best lemon cupcakes.

Lemony Lemon Cupcakes Recipe Is Really Quite Incredible

What are the most popular Cupcake flavors?

When talking cupcake flavors, the standard favorites are always a given, but a few that made the top 10 list on How Stuff Works may surprise you. Here are the most popular flavors according to their website. And we have recipes for many of them linked for you. 🙂

If you’re new to the blog you probably don’t know that we have an extensive library of scratch made cupcakes. You can find them over on Cupcake Corner where we showcase delicious and decadent cake flavors packed into tiny cups that everyone loves.

What Frosting Goes With Lemon Cupcakes?

There are several frostings and toppings that are delicious with lemon cupcakes. Here are a few popular ones that compliment the lemony tangy refreshing flavor.

  1. Cream Cheese Frosting: Cream cheese frosting is a classic option that goes exceptionally well with lemon cupcakes. The tanginess of the cream cheese complements the citrus flavor, creating a balanced and delicious combination.
  2. Lemon Buttercream Frosting: To enhance the lemon flavor, we chose a lemon-infused buttercream frosting. Its Simple to add lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice to a basic buttercream frosting recipe for a zesty and bright flavor. Very nice combination with these lemon cupcakes.
  3. Vanilla Buttercream Frosting: A simple vanilla buttercream frosting can also be a great option, providing a sweet and creamy contrast to the tartness of the lemon cupcakes. The combination of vanilla and lemon creates a delightful balance of flavors.
  4. Mascarpone Frosting: Mascarpone cheese frosting offers a luxurious and creamy texture that pairs well with the citrusy notes of lemon cupcakes. It adds a hint of richness and a touch of sophistication to the overall taste.
  5. Whipped Cream Frosting: If you prefer a lighter and less sweet option, whipped cream frosting can be an excellent choice. Its airy and delicate texture complements the lightness of lemon cupcakes, creating a refreshing and delightful combination.

Remember to adjust the sweetness and tartness levels of the frosting according to your taste.

Lovely Lemon Cake As A Round Layer Cake. With Rose Swirled Yellow Frosting.
Our lemon cupcake recipe is also used in this charming Lemon Rosette Cake

How do I make a Lemon Buttercream?

Our cupcake recipe includes a lovely Lemon buttercream frosting recipe. It is as scrumptious and decadent as it sounds. We think it is the perfect finish for this lemon cupcakes recipe. This is a traditional American buttercream that has been infused with lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, and vanilla extract for a sweet but bright and citrusy frosting that compliments these lightly flavored cupcakes.

American buttercream is the easiest to make and very easy to personalize and add whatever flavors you desire. It’s made from milk or cream, butter, and confectioners sugar. Vanilla extract is often used to add a richer flavor to the very sweet sugared cream. We added a bit of yellow food dye for a more intense color, but you can skip it if you would rather not.

Trouble shooting Buttercream Frosting:

Making a buttercream frosting is a simple process. but we must follow the steps and be mindful of the following pitfalls for best results.

  1. Butter that is too soft or melted: If the butter used in the frosting is too soft or melted, it can result in a runny consistency and prevent the frosting from properly holding its shape. It’s important to use softened butter that is still firm but easily creamed.
  2. Adding liquid too quickly: When adding liquid ingredients such as milk, cream, or flavorings, it’s essential to do so gradually. Adding the liquid too quickly can make the frosting too thin and difficult to pipe or spread. It’s best to add liquid in small increments while monitoring the consistency.
  3. Overmixing or undermixing: Both overmixing and undermixing the frosting can lead to issues. Overmixing can cause the butter to separate and result in a greasy texture, while undermixing can leave lumps of butter or powdered sugar in the frosting. It’s crucial to mix the frosting until it reaches a smooth and fluffy consistency.
  4. Incorrect sugar measurement: Using too much or too little powdered sugar can affect the texture and sweetness of the frosting. Too much sugar can make the frosting overly sweet and stiff, while too little can result in a runny consistency. Following the recipe’s recommended measurements is important for achieving the desired balance.
  5. Not sifting powdered sugar: Powdered sugar can sometimes contain lumps, which can lead to an uneven texture in the frosting. Sifting the powdered sugar before adding it to the butter helps eliminate lumps and ensures a smoother frosting.
  6. Not adjusting consistency: Different frosting techniques require varying consistencies. If the frosting is too stiff for piping or spreading, it can make the process challenging. On the other hand, if the frosting is too soft, it may not hold its shape. It’s essential to adjust the consistency by adding more liquid or powdered sugar as needed.
  7. Temperature and humidity: Extreme temperatures or high humidity can affect the consistency of buttercream frosting. Very warm weather can cause the butter to become too soft or the frosting to melt. Working in a cool environment or refrigerating the frosting intermittently can help maintain the desired consistency.

By being mindful of these potential pitfalls, bakers can ensure a smooth and successful buttercream frosting that is both delicious and visually appealing.

Lemony Lemon Cupcakes On A Burnt Orange Shiny Fabric With Lemons And Fall Leaves.

Simple Lemon Cupcakes Recipe

This is a pretty easy scratch lemon cupcakes recipe with a fantastic return for the work you put in. There are quite a few ingredients, but the process is really very simple.

Decorating these Lemon Cupcakes:

This lemon cupcakes recipe is a good entry level decorator challenge. It is a very easy buttercream to work with, and if you don’t want to do a fancy rosette, you can always use a small knife, add a dollop, and manually swirl it around the crown of each cupcake. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you along the way.

  • Make sure your frosting is the correct consistency to go through your preferred decorating tip. Adjust the frosting consistency if necessary.

How can I make fancy Lemon Cupcakes?

If you are looking to take this lemon cupcakes recipe to the top, we are sharing some ideas to get you going. Anything from how you present them to added ingredients for flavor depth and interest will bring these cupcakes into a new league.

  • Top them with a different flavored buttercream like strawberry, blueberry, or a toasted meringue.
  • Garnish with a lemon twist, sugared lemon wedge, or a dusting of sanding sugar for some sparkle.
  • Whip up a homemade lemon curd for delicious lemon cupcakes with lemon curd filling.
  • Make a this lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for a rich and tangy flavor to balance the sweet.
  • Top with delicate fondant decorations like flowers, butterflies, or garden themed to fit your venue.
  • Wondering how to fill a cupcake? We go into this in our Snickers Filled Cupcakes recipe if you want to learn how to do that.

We have made this lemon cupcake recipe many times. We love these light delicate confections. And we’ve topped them simply and dressed them up for various occasions. Here’s how we made them with a rosette topping:

Delicious Lemon Cupcakes With A Green Frosting And Bright Yellow Rose On Top.
Lemon Cupcakes Recipe with a piped rose for spring.

For the Rosette

  • Set aside a portion of the frosting, color it green and smooth it onto the cupcakes. 
  • The remaining frosting will be for the yellow roses.
  • Use the Wilton #1M or Wilton #1B to make roses on the cupcake top. The #1B tip will give a larger, fluffier rose.
  • Add sprinkles if you desire, we used edible pearl for a sophisticated look

For the Classic Yellow Swirl

  • You can simply swirl yellow frosting with the Wilton #2D tip.
  • There is a video in our recipe card to show you a simple decorating idea.
  • Finish with your choice of sprinkles, fresh flowers, or a tiny lemon wedge.
Lemony Lemon Cupcakes

Lemon Cupcakes Recipe Tips:

What is the secret to super moist Cupcakes?

If you’re looking to make extra moist lemon cupcakes, follow this recipe and be sure to use these tips and tricks that never fail in the world of baking.

  • Warm all of the ingredients to room temperature to ensure smooth and creamy batter. Eggs, butter, even the sour cream; be sure to set them out ahead of time to warm up. This will prevent over mixing which results in flat and dense cakes.
  • Mix the ingredients in stages and on low speed so that everything is mixed until only just combined. Gentle mixing will create air bubbles that will cause the cupcakes to rise and remain fluffy after they are done baking.
  • Always use high quality fresh ingredients like full fat dairy and top tier vanilla extract. Freshness will also matter when talking the quality of your cupcakes and the texture and flavor intensity.
  • Be careful not to over bake cupcakes as this will result in a dense, tough texture and will most likely affect the flavor poorly as well. It’s best to keep a close eye on them during the baking process, check them by inserting a toothpick in the center, and when in doubt er on the side of underdone.

We want you to have success with your cupcakes. For best results we highly recommend you follow this lemon cupcakes recipe closely. Baking requires good attention to detail.

What Makes Cupcakes Fluffy?

Many things contribute to a light fluffy cupcake. Here’s a list of all the factors involved in creating the feather light lemon cupcakes we all want. The cake needs to be light to the point of airiness to showcase the bright lemon flavor and melt in your mouth goodness. We suggest you follow the recipe exactly and these tips for best results.

  1. Leavening agents: The baking powder and baking soda (we use a combination of both) creates air bubbles in the batter. When the batter is heated in the oven, these bubbles expand, causing the cupcakes to rise and become fluffy. Make sure your baking powder is fresh. Old baking powder will not leaven as it should.
  2. Creaming method: creaming butter and sugar together incorporates air into the mixture. This creates a lighter and fluffier textured cupcake. Continue beating the butter and sugar until they are well combined and fluffy with a pale yellow color.
  3. Proper mixing technique: Over mixing the cupcake batter can lead to dense and tough cupcakes. Mix the ingredients until just combined. Overmixing can develop gluten in the flour, resulting in a denser texture. Mixing until the ingredients are just incorporated ensures a lighter and fluffier cupcake.
  4. Proper ingredient proportions: Following the recipe’s recommended measurements and ratios is crucial. Too much flour can make the cupcakes dense, while too much liquid can make them heavy. Achieving the right balance between dry and wet ingredients helps create a fluffy texture. This is a common problem in baking. Measure your ingredients carefully.
  5. Cake flour: Cake flour has a lower protein content compared to all-purpose flour. The lower protein content reduces gluten formation, resulting in a more tender and fluffy cupcake.
  6. Addition of buttermilk or yogurt: Using buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt in the cupcake batter contribute to a lighter texture. These ingredients provide acidity, which reacts with the leavening agents to produce carbon dioxide, further enhancing the fluffiness.
  7. Proper baking technique: Preheating the oven and maintaining the recommended temperature throughout baking is crucial. The initial high heat helps activate the leavening agents quickly, causing the cupcakes to rise. Opening the oven door during baking can cause temperature fluctuations, leading to uneven baking and potential loss of fluffiness.
Lemony Lemon Cupcakes
Lemony Lemon Cupcakes

Are Cupcakes better with milk or water?

When you are baking cupcakes, or really any cake, it is recommended to always use milk. Milk has density, fat and flavor that will not only add moisture to your batter but also aid in the rise of the cake and add a bit more depth. Water is of course fine in a pinch, but you will notice the difference.

Is it better to use butter or oil in Cupcakes?

There is some debate on this one. Butter is a king in the world of baking because of its high fat content, superior flavor, and wonderful ability to create light and fluffy baked goods. However, it is argued that oil will help cupcakes hold moisture for a longer period after baking.

It’s largely personal preference, and we prefer butter for its delicious flavor and the rich fat that it brings to the cupcake batter.

Why does my Lemon Buttercream curdle?

Adding lemon juice into a dairy based frosting can result in a breakdown and separation of the ingredients because it is reacting with the cultures and proteins in the cream or milk. If this begins to happen just continue to mix until everything is smooth and creamy. This may take several minutes, but do continue to watch it.

Sour cream is generally less likely to curdle in a lemon cupcake recipe compared to yogurt, milk or buttermilk. The reason behind this is that sour cream has a higher fat content, which helps stabilize the mixture and reduces the chances of curdling when combined with acidic ingredients like lemon juice.

Yogurt , milk and buttermilk, on the other hand, have a lower fat content and a higher protein content. The proteins in yogurt and milk can react with the acid in lemon juice, causing curdling or separation of the mixture.

Beware that curdling can still happen if the lemon juice is added directly to the sour cream without proper mixing. Be sure to whisk as you put sour cream and lemon together to avoid curdling.

Some bakers make lemon cupcakes with lemon extract to avoid the curdling issue. We prefer the flavor of the fresh lemon juice and have had no trouble with curdling.

Lemony Lemon Cupcakes
Yield: 12

Lemony Lemon Cupcakes

Scrumptious, light as a feather lemon cake, topped with lemon buttercream. These Lively Lemony Lemon Cupcakes burst with lemon flavor! Perfect any time of year!


  • Cupcakes:
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • Frosting:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (adjust to taste)



  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line Muffin pan with muffin liners.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk sour cream, lemon zest, juice and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. Cream butter and sugar together on medium speed in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly blended.
  5. Reduce the speed to low and beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the sour cream mixture.
  6. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the remaining sour cream mixture.
  7. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated.
  8. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full.
  9. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes.
  10. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely.


  1. Beat butter for a few minutes until the color is light and the consistency is fluffy.
  2. Add powdered sugar and turn your mixer on low, beat until the sugar incorporates with the butter.
  3. Add vanilla, heavy cream, lemon zest and lemon juice
  4. Beat on medium speed for another 3 minutes, or until buttercream becomes light and fluffy.


  1. I used a Wilton rose tip to make buttercream roses and I garnished with edible easter pearls

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 469Total Fat 27gSaturated Fat 16gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 100mgSodium 182mgCarbohydrates 57gFiber 0gSugar 44gProtein 3g

These cupcakes are NOT this high in calories unless you use ALL of he frosting.

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Scrumptious light as a feather lemon cupcakes from scratch. and topped with lemon buttercream. These Lively Cupcakes burst with lemon flavor. They are Perfect for Spring and any time of year!


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