These sunshine sweet homemade lemon cupcakes with vanilla frosting are incredibly soft and bursting with lemon flavor!
Fact: I love lemon desserts more than I love these. It’s true. I’m a fruity kind of girl. My favorite dessert ever is apple pie. Or Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. I’ve been craving lemon cupcakes for awhile, but wanted to wait for spring to get here before I made them. Well, in Baltimore – it actually feels like summer right now. 85 degrees in April? I’ll take it.
The warmer weather is just perfect for my sunshine lemon cupcakes. Yep, that’s what I like to call these babies. And how can you not smile sinking your teeth into one of these? They are the happiest cupcake in the world. The homemade lemon cupcakes are incredibly soft and bursting with lemon flavor. Not too much that you’ll squint your eyes and pucker up your lips, but just enough to give each bite a refreshing zest of citrus flavor. I topped them with my favorite vanilla frosting. Sweet vanilla and zesty lemon compliment each other wonderfully.
Feel free to use a cream cheese frosting instead. Or even a lemon buttercream. If you find a nice lemon buttercream recipe, let me know! I’ve been searching.
The lemon cupcake recipe is laughably easy. Like most of my recipes, I used simple, everyday ingredients. I didn’t even need to go to the store before I made them last weekend. You’ll simply cream sugar and softened butter together, add 2 eggs, vanilla, and then your dry ingredients. I favor using neutral oil in my cakes and cupcakes because it makes cakes exceptionally moist. However, when I’m looking for a buttery taste, I use butter. In one bite, all you’ll taste is sweet lemon + buttery vanilla flavor. Unbelievable!
The dry ingredients are standard: flour, baking powder, and salt. After mixing the wet and dry together, add some milk, lemon juice and lemon zest. You’ll need 2 lemons for the cupcake batter. The zest of two lemons & the juice of two lemons.
The recipe makes 12 standard size cupcakes. The lemon cupcakes take about 20 minutes to bake at 350F. Easy as pie. Well, easier than pie.
As the cupcakes cool, make my go-to fluffy vanilla frosting recipe. This frosting has made an appearance on my website a few times before. And receives rave reviews. Trust me, it’s awesome. It looks a little darker than normal in these photos because I used a super dark pure vanilla extract. And I used more of it than normal.
The vanilla buttercream is quite simple – perhaps even easier than the cupcakes, if that’s possible. Mix together unsalted butter, confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. That’s IT. Two very crucial notes that I’ve mentioned a few times before: (1) make sure your butter is softened and not melted in the slightest. I simply took my butter stick out of the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for 45 minutes as I baked and cooled the cupcakes. (2) Use heavy cream. You may use milk or half-and-half, but heavy cream will give the frosting the thickest texture. I highly, highly recommend it.
I used a Wilton 12 frosting tip (a round tip) to frost the cupcakes. Frost the cooled cupcakes however you prefer – slathering on with a knife or piping on with a tip. The Wilton 12 tip is my favorite. I decorated the cupcakes with a little extra lemon zest. Do this right before serving, as the lemon zest will dry out. You can also use white chocolate chips, sprinkles, or even crushed lemon hard candies. I’ll definitely be doing that last one next time I make these.
The homemade lemon cupcakes took me less than 1 hour start to finish. I cheated and stuck the cupcakes in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process. I have zero patience when it comes to cupcakes.
Spring has sprung and lemon cupcakes, made completely from scratch, are on the dessert menu. And breakfast menu. Please? I mean they have eggs and milk in them… totally acceptable first thing in the morning.
These sunshine sweet homemade lemon cupcakes are incredibly soft and bursting with lemon flavor!
Try my Lemon Blueberry Cake next. It is the same exact recipe, only doubled to make a layer cake.
Tag @sallysbakeblog on Instagram and hashtag it #sallysbakingaddiction.
Try my Lemon Blueberry Cake next.
This is the same exact recipe, only doubled to make a layer cake.
See all lemon desserts.
See all cupcake recipes.