Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Occasionally, people like to super-inflate my ego and hire me to bake cupcakes for their events (birthdays, baby showers, engagement parties, etc.)  This is basically my favorite thing in the entire world.  I’ve mentioned previously that I love any excuse to bake, but I REALLY love an excuse to bake something pretty and decorative even more.  I was recently hired for a birthday party for a person that wants some lemon cupcakes, which I have never done before, so I decided to test a recipe out this weekend.

I almost always prefer a cupcake recipe that is buttercream based, and I was pleased to come across a few that sounded good, and combined my favorite things about them.  For the purpose of testing the recipe, I halved everything, but for the full recipe…

You will need:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

Finely grated zest of 3 lemons (3 Tbsp)

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk


Pre-heat your oven to 325, and line a muffin tin with paper liners.  Combine your flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing in between each egg.  Beat in lemon zest and vanilla.

Begin to add the flour mixture, 1/3 at at a time, and add ½ of the buttermilk, ½ of the lemon juice in between, mixing thoroughly between intervals.

Scoop the batter into the muffin pan (I find it MUCH easier to use a spring-loaded ice cream scoop for this part,) about ¾ full.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on top, and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.

These are the perfect amount of lemon-y and totally delicious on their own, but I topped them with a vanilla buttercream frosting.  The recipe is below; I used milk rather than heavy whipping cream (nothing like a rushed grocery shop before baking to make you forget the things you need!), and although it turned out fine, heavy whipping cream really would have made all the difference.  I topped it off with some extra lemon zest and yellow sugar for decoration, and they were perfect!

3 cups powdered sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1-2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Mix butter and sugar at a low speed until blended well.  Increase speed to medium, and blend for about 3 minutes.  Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat for about 1 minute, adding more cream if the consistency needs it.


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6 thoughts on “Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  1. These look awesome! I love the zest on the icing. What do you use to pipe the icing on your cupcakes?

  2. michelle says:

    how many cupcakes does the full recipe make?

  3. […] topped mine off with the same Vanilla Buttercream I always use  These were the right amount of sweet and didn’t have an overwhelming taste of […]

  4. […] as always, I topped these off with my favorite vanilla buttercream frosting as listed here, and sprinkled some extra Fruity Pebbles on top for fun  These were such a cute, fun […]

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