Easy Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream have a zingy lemon flavor in both the cupcakes and the buttercream for a sweet and tart flavor. I also have Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes which feature the same lemon cupcake base paired with sweet and fruity strawberry buttercream. Check out all of my cupcake recipes for even more varieties!
Ingredients & Substitutions
There are two parts to this recipe–the cupcakes and the frosting.
Room Temperature Ingredients: Using room temperature ingredients (specifically butter, eggs, and milk in this recipe) will help you get the best results when baking the muffins and making the buttercream.
Butter: Use unsalted butter in both the cupcakes and buttercream. Unsalted butter gives the cupcakes a better texture and it also allows you, the baker, to have control over the amount of salt.
Lemon Juice: For the best lemon flavor, use freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Lemon Extract: When adding the lemon extract to the buttercream, start with just 1 teaspoon, tasting as you go. Remember, the buttercream with the cupcakes will give you a full blast of lemon flavor!
Food Coloring: You don’t have to add yellow food coloring to the buttercream. However, the yellow buttercream makes this treat look like sunshine and really can brighten your day! Or, go for a totally contrasting color for a real statement!
How to Pipe the Frosting
To pipe the frosting on top, just fill your pastry bag fitted with an 8B tip. Starting at the center, apply pressure and then move the bag around the cupcake. If you want a tall frosting swirl, apply pressure and then build it up by going around 3 times. Easy peasy!
How to Store Lemon Cupcakes
Store the frosted cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature. They will last 4-5 days.
Can I Freeze Lemon Cupcakes?
Yes! Freeze the cupcakes before they are frosted with the buttercream. To freeze, let the cupcakes cool completely before storing them in a freezer-safe container for up to a month. Let them thaw in the refrigerator when ready to enjoy or frost them.
Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream
- 1 ½ cups (187 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup (1 stick / 113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon zest
- ½ cup (122.5 g) whole milk, room temperature, divided
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1-3 teaspoons lemon extract
- 2 teaspoons whole milk, or more as needed
- 5 drops yellow food coloring, more or less as desired
- 2 cups (250 g) confectioners' sugar, or more as needed
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 12-count cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, add the butter and sugar. Using a hand mixer, beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add in the eggs one at a time, beating each egg until fully incorporated after each addition. Add vanilla and lemon zest. Beat until combined.
- To the butter mixture, add about ⅓ of the flour mixture. Next, add half of the milk and lemon juice. Repeat the steps, ending with the flour mixture. Beat until just combined, making sure not to overmix.
- Fill the prepared cupcake liners about ¾ full. Bake for about 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before removing them to finish cooling on a rack.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the buttercream.
- To a large mixing bowl, add butter, lemon extract, and milk. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat ingredients together until smooth. If desired, add yellow food coloring.
- Add confectioners' sugar into butter mixture and beat on low speed until desired consistency is reached. You may want to add more sugar.
- Frost each cupcake with the buttercream.
Did you make this recipe?
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