Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

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Homemade Lemon Cupcakes are easy to make from scratch with this delicious recipe. They’re sweet, moist, tangy & topped with luscious Lemon Buttercream Frosting!

If you love these Lemon Cupcakes, you’ll also love Meme’s Lemonade Pie and these Layered Lemon Dessert Jars!

Lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting sitting on wire rack

Put your hands up if you love lemon desserts! My great grandma loved sweet lemon treats. She lived to be 100 years old and as she got older, I would always bring lemon cupcakes, cookies or slushes when I went to visit.

These Lemon Cupcakes have been shared at family gatherings and friends birthday parties for years. They’re light and fluffy and of course, topped with my favorite cream cheese frosting! It’s so easy to make them from scratch that you’ll never buy a box mix again!

While the cupcakes are baking, quickly mix up the lemon buttercream frosting and you’re good to go! These cupcakes can be baked full size or into mini cupcakes.

I love the mini cupcakes for parties because they’re bite-size and easy to share. You know, if you’re into that whole “sharing your treats with other people” thing! 😉

Miniature lemon cupcakes with lemon buttercream frosting on wire baking rack

How to make Lemon Cupcakes

Combine flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add four eggs, one at a time to the batter. Zest lemon and add vanilla extract to the batter.

Add lemon juice and half-and-half. Stir until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Use an electric hand mixer to combine the batter.

Once the batter is smooth and creamy, add it to muffin tins, mini or traditional size, lined with paper liners or silicon baking cups. This recipe will make 24 regular size cupcakes or 48 mini cupcakes. Make sure not to over-fill the muffin tins. You want them approximately 3/4 full.

Quick Tip! I like to transfer the batter to a large plastic bag, then cut a hole in the corner to pipe the batter into the muffin tins. This is especially helpful for mini cupcakes!

Once all of the liners are filled with cupcake batter. Place the muffin pan in a preheated 350°F oven. For mini cupcakes, bake for 13-15 minutes. For traditional cupcakes, bake for 18-20 minutes.

Place a toothpick in one cupcake to make sure they’re done. Once a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean, you’re good to go! Remove from the oven and allow to cool and come to room temperature before frosting the cupcakes.

Cupcake batter in paper liners in stone muffin pan

How to make Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Place cream cheese, unsalted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice in a large bowl. Use an electric mixer or stand mixer on medium-high speed to combine the frosting. Once the frosting is smooth and creamy, place in a piping bag or large ziplock bag to frost the cupcakes.

Quick Tip! If using a ziplock bag, make sure it is not the “stand and fill” bags. These bags are pleated at the bottom. Therefore it will not work to cut a small hole in the corner of the bag to pipe the frosting on to the cupcakes.

If you don’t have time, you can also just do the old fashioned butter knife technique, spreading the frosting right on the cupcakes.

How to decorate Lemon Cupcakes

Want to add a little flair to your lemon cupcakes? Top them with a small wedge of lemon. While I don’t recommend eating the lemon (peel and all!) on top of the cupcake, it does make for a cute presentation. You can also zest a little of the fresh lemon right on top of the frosting on the cupcakes.

Sprinkles are also always a good call! These Yellow Sugar Sprinkles are the perfect topping for these lemon cupcakes. Or take it to another level with these Edible Yellow Glitter Flakes!

If I’m sharing these with friends or neighbors, I love these cupcake boxes for transporting the cupcakes. Wrap a ribbon around the box or write a message on it for a special occasion.

It’s a simple touch that makes these cupcakes look like they came straight from an expensive bakery! I won’t tell how easy they are to make at home if you won’t!

Lemon cupcake with wrapper unfolded, topped with lemon cream cheese frosting and lemon wedge

Bake up more delicious cupcakes with these 5 easy cupcake recipes!

  1. Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes – It’s like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, in cupcake form! So delicious & easily made gluten free!
  2. Strawberry Kiwi Cupcakes – These fruity cupcakes are the perfect summer treat!
  3. Mason Jar Gingerbread Cupcakes – I love to make these cupcakes in the fall and winter. They’re perfect for taking to parties because they’re baked right into mason jars!
  4. Jack & Coke Cupcakes – my friend Leslie over at Stress Baking created these fun & boozy cupcakes that are taking the internet by storm!
  5. Caramel Apple Cupcakes – the classic fall favorite treat, turned into a cupcake? Yes, please! My friend Maegan at The BakerMama really crushed it with this one!
Lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting sitting on wire cooling rack
5 from 2 votes
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Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Homemade Lemon Cupcakes are easy to make from scratch with this delicious recipe. They're sweet, moist, tangy & topped with luscious Lemon Buttercream Frosting!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes
Servings 24 cupcakes
Calories 302 kcal
Author Whitney Bond

Ingredients

Lemon Cupcakes

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice fresh squeezed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup half-and-half

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

Lemon Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  2. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or silicone cups.

  3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

  4. In a large bowl, use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer to cream the butter and sugar together.  

  5. Add the eggs one at a time and mix into the batter after each addition.

  6. Add the lemon zest, vanilla extract, lemon juice and half-and-half. Mix into the batter.

  7. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine.

  8. Either spoon the batter into the lined muffin pans or transfer the batter to a plastic bag, cut a hole in the corner and pipe the batter into the muffin pans.

  9. Place in the oven for 18-20 minutes. Once a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean, the cupcakes are ready.

  10. Allow the cupcakes to cool before frosting.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

  1. Add the cream cheese, butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice to a large bowl. 

  2. Use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer to combine the ingredients.

  3. Once smooth and creamy, spread the frosting on the cupcakes or use a piping bag to pipe the frosting on the cupcakes.

Recipe Notes

  • This recipe can be used to make 48 mini-cupcakes. If making mini-cupcakes, bake for 13-15 minutes.
  • If using a ziplock bag to pipe the cupcakes into the muffin pan or to frost the cupcakes, make sure it is not a "stand and fill" bag. These bags are pleated at the bottom and therefore it will not work to cut a small hole in the corner of the bag for piping.