Skip to Content

Lemon Cupcake Recipe

Lemon has to be one of our favorite cupcake flavors.

It’s probably because there’s something just so wonderful about the contrast between the cupcake’s sweetness and the tangy flavor of the fruit. The perfect lemon cupcake shouldn’t be sour, but there should be a definite pop of lemon – and that’s just what you get with this recipe!

Lemon Cupcake Recipe Photo

It uses lemon zest and lemon juice, both in the cupcake sponge and in the frosting. These give a lovely fresh flavor – and if you want to amp up the lemon even more, follow the directions to make some lovely candied lemon to pop on top!

The recipe suggests using food coloring in the frosting. Even though it includes lemon zest, the color of the frosting is only a very pale yellow without coloring. If you’re looking for a richer, more vibrant color then you’ll definitely need to give it a little help!

Tips for perfect cupcakes

Pay attention to the recipe

Lemon Cupcake Recipe Image

There’s an exact chemistry in producing good results when baking – and whereas other culinary styles can be forgiving if you alter ingredients, baked items come out best if you follow the recipe exactly. 

And this doesn’t just apply to the ingredients – it includes the method too. 

You’ll note that the instructions tell you to "add the flour mixture and whisk until only just combined". This is an important distinction, because if you mix the ingredients too much, your cupcakes will have a tough texture. And that’s certainly not what we’re going for!

Don’t over-fill your cup cake liners or muffin cups

The recipe suggests only filling them around 3/4 full – this gives the cupcakes room to rise without overflowing and ruining their shape.

Lemon Cupcake Recipe Picture

Bake them on the middle shelf

This is the best spot for perfectly browned cupcakes. If you need to bake more than one batch at a time, rotate them between the shelves and remember to turn the pans around half way through. If not, you’ll end up with uneven colors.

Don’t frost them too soon

Lemon Cupcake Recipe Pic

Probably the number one mistake when frosting cupcakes is doing it before they’ve had a chance to cool down.

The result, of course, is melted frosting!

If you’re in a rush, the best option is to pop them in the freezer for 15 minutes to ensure they’re properly cool.

If you don’t plan on eating all of your cupcakes in one sitting, you might want to delay frosting some of them.

Unfrosted cupcakes will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days. Once frosted, they’ll need to go into the refrigerator within a day or so, which may affect their texture a little. 

More Cool Cupcake Recipes…

Lemon Lime Cupcakes

Hummingbird Cupcakes

Butterscotch Dip Cupcakes

Lemon Cupcake Recipe Photo

Lemon Cupcake Recipe

Cyd Converse
Use this simple Lemon Cupcake Recipe to produce sweet treats with an irresistible tang! Topped with lemon frosting, they are just bursting with fruity flavor
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings 12 1 serving
Calories 454.72 kcal


  • 1.25 All-Purpose Flour
  • 0.25 Sliced Almonds
  • 0.75 Baking Powder
  • 0.25 Baking Soda
  • 0.25 Salt
  • 2 Egg
  • 1 Granulated Sugar
  • 0.5 Buttermilk
  • 0.5 Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Grated Lemon Zest
  • 2 Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 0.66 Granulated Sugar plus 1/4 cup
  • 3 Egg Whites at room temperature
  • 2 Unsalted Butter at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 4 Yellow Food Coloring optional
  • 1 Grated Lemon Zest
  • 0.25 Fresh Lemon Juice from about 2 lemons
  • 4 Lemons
  • 0.75 Granulated Sugar


  • To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners.
  • Place the flour and almonds into a food processor, then pulse for around a minute until the almonds are ground finely.
  • Add the baking powder, baking soda and salt and continue to pulse until well combined.
  • Put the eggs, sugar, buttermilk, vegetable oil and lemon zest and juice into a large bowl and whisk thoroughly.
  • Tip in the flour mixture, then whisk until the mixture is only just combined.
  • Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling them three-quarters of the way.
  • Bake for around 16 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pan for 10 mins, then transfer to a rack and leave until completely cool.
  • To make the frosting, mix 2/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan.
  • Cook over a medium-high heat for around 12 mins, until a candy thermometer registers 240 degrees F
  • Put the egg whites into a large bowl and beat with a mixer on medium speed until foamy.
  • Beat for a further 2 minutes at higher speed, until soft peaks begin to form.
  • Sprinkle in the 1/4 cup sugar still remaining, then beat for 3 minutes until stiff peaks form
  • While the mixer is still running, carefully pour in the sugar syrup. Beat for 8 to 10 mins, until cool and glossy.
  • Add a little of the butter at a time, beating until incorporated. It may look a little curdled at first, but just keep beating!
  • Finally, beat in the food coloring, lemon zest and juice. Continue beating for 2 more minutes, until smooth.
  • To make the candied zest, use  a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemon, then slice it into thin strands.
  • Put it in a small saucepan, cover with water and place it over a high heat. Bring it to a simmer.
  • Drain the zest and put it back in the saucepan. Cover it with water again and and repeat 2 more times.
  • Put the sugar and 3/4 cup water in a different saucepan and bring to a bare simmer, stirring as the sugar dissolves.
  • Add the strands of lemon zest and cook for 20 minutes over low heat.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  • Bather the zest in clusters and place it on the baking sheet. Leave to dry.
  • Put the frosting on the cupcakes and top with the candied lemon zest.


Calories: 454.72kcalCarbohydrates: 51.58gProtein: 3.85gFat: 26.27gSaturated Fat: 11.08gSodium: 113.25mgFiber: 0.58gSugar: 40.31g
Keyword Baking, Cupcakes, Desserts, Lemons
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Recipe Rating