These easy Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting make the perfect spring or summer dessert, for any type of celebration!
Is lemon your favorite flavor?
Oh good, now I feel like I’m talking to my husband! 😉
He’s lemon crazy. While I’d reach for chocolate first for any dessert, he’s always super excited when I make a dessert that’s fruity and bright! For Valentines Day this year I made him these Lemon Cupcakes.
These thick, fluffy Lemon Cupcakes are filled with a bright, sweet lemon flavor that’s totally irresistible. Even this chocolate-addict agrees!
When making a lemon-flavored dessert it’s always important to make sure you get just the right amount of lemon in it.
Too much and it’s mouth puckering and extremely overbearing. Too little and you’re left thinking… is this vanilla with an accidental lemon zest or something???
These Lemon Cupcakes are THE perfect flavor of an “OH YEAH these are lemon!” 🙂 Sweet and tangy with Lemon Buttercream Frosting on top that melts in your mouth.
There’s a few tips and tricks though, to making these the best cupcakes.
First, you’ll need to make “buttermilk” with your milk and lemon juice.
This helps keep the cupcakes deliciously moist and gives an extra tang. Simply mix your milk and lemon juice together in a separate, small bowl. Let them set for a few minutes.
The milk will start to look a little funky as it sours and turns into “buttermilk.” That’s a GOOD thing! You want that.
Oddly enough, I prefer to use 2% milk and lemon juice rather than buttermilk itself in this recipe. These cupcakes are already on the thicker side, and too much buttermilk makes them too dense.
The second most important detail in making these Lemon Cupcakes is using lemon ZEST.
Shortly after my husband and I got married I tried to make my first ever lemon-flavored dessert without lemon zest, because we didn’t have a tool to zest a lemon with. I ignored all the warnings and guess what, it was seriously lacking in lemon flavor.
Lemon zest is the KEY to having full lemon flavor in your baked goods. DO NOT skimp on it!
Last but not least, the Lemon Buttercream Frosting.
Sure, you could top these with another flavor but the Lemon frosting on top is what really seals the deal. Smooth, creamy, dreamy frosting that’s so sweet and buttery. Yum.
I’m admittedly not a huge frosting fan, so my frosting recipe is on the smaller side. If you prefer to have totally loaded cupcakes and LOVE frosting, then you probably want to make a double batch.
These Lemon Cupcakes can be made gluten-free with a gluten-free all purpose flour blend (or, make them with regular all purpose flour, if you don’t need them to be).
They can also be made in high altitude’s easily. At 5,000 feet, mine don’t need any adjustments. However, if you live over 5,000 feet in altitude, I would recommend reducing the baking powder to 3/4 teaspoon.
These Lemon Cupcakes are moist, thick, filled with fresh lemon flavor and topped with a buttery and sweet Lemon Buttercream Frosting.
After you make them, let me know what you think in the comments, below. I love to hear from ya’ll!
Craving other citrus recipes? Check out my gluten-free Lemon Pancakes or my gluten-free Lemon Honey Granola.
- 1/3 cup milk of choice (skim, 2%, whole or almond)
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 cup sugar
- zest of 2 lemons
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/3 cup gluten-free all purpose flour (or regular flour)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups powdered sugar
In a small bowl, combine your milk and lemon juice and let them sit for a few minutes to sour, to create your “buttermilk.”
Preheat your oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners (and lightly spray them with nonstick spray too!).
In a large mixing bowl, beat together your butter and sugar with a hand mixer. Add in your vanilla, lemon zest, and eggs and whisk together again. Lastly, add in your "buttermilk" and mix briefly, till well incorporated.
To the same bowl, add your flour, baking powder and salt. Mix together well until you have a smooth batter.
Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 way full, filling all 12 liners with the entire cupcake batter.
Bake in the oven for about 18-21 minutes, or till the cupcakes have set on top and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer and combine your butter, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Pour in your powdered sugar and blend till smooth.
After your cupcakes have cooled, either spread or pipe the frosting onto your cupcakes.
Stored in an airtight container, these lemon cupcakes last about 2-3 days.
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