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Fresh Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
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Fresh Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

These fresh lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting are perfect for any cupcake-worthy occasion. They are full of bright, sunny lemon flavor with the perfect balance of sweet and tart.
Course Desserts
Keyword lemon cupcakes, lemon cupcakes from scratch, lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 12 minutes
Servings 17 cupcakes
Calories 380kcal
Author Marsha Maxwell

Equipment

  • Pridebit Cupcake Decorating Tips Extra Large Piping Icing Tips
  • USA Pan (1200MF) Bakeware Cupcake and Muffin Pan, 12 Well, Nonstick & Quick Release Coating, Made in the USA from Aluminized Steel
  • Baker's Joy The Original No-Stick Baking Spray with Flour, 5 oz (Pack of 3)
  • Stainless Steel Ice Cream Cookie Dough Small Scooper
  • KitchenAid KSM180QHSD 100 Year Limited Edition Queen of Hearts Stand Mixer, Passion Red
  • Wilton Industries Perfect Results Mega Cooling Rack

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups 192g all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons 8g baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon 3g table salt

  • 1 cup 198g granulated sugar

  • 1 stick 1/2 cup, 4 ounces or 113g unsalted butter, at room temperature
 (see recipe notes to substitute salted butter)
  • 2 large eggs
 room temperature
  • 2-3 teaspoons 4-6g finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons 30ml lemon juice

  • 3/4 teaspoon 4 ml lemon bakery emulsion (or lemon extract)
  • 3/4 teaspoon 4 ml butter vanilla bakery emulsion (or vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup 120ml buttermilk, room temperature

For the frosting (see recipe notes):

  • 1 stick 1/2 cup, 4 ounces or 113g unsalted butter, at room temperature (see recipe notes to substitute salted butter)
  • 8 oz. 250g cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 6-8 cups 750-1000g confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 teaspoons 4g finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon 15ml fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon 3ml lemon bakery emulsion (or lemon extract)
  • 1/2 teaspoon 3 ml butter vanilla bakery emulsion (or vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 teaspoon 2g table salt

Instructions

Make the cupcakes:

  • Allow the butter, buttermilk, and eggs to come to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake/muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
  • Add the egg, vanilla bakery emulsion, lemon bakery emulsion, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and beat 2 minutes more until fluffy.
  • Add the buttermilk and dry ingredients alternately, 1/3 at a time. Blend until well combined. End with the flour mixture. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
  • Divide the batter among 17 cupcake cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Do not overfill.
  • Bake at 350°F for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting:

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter and cream cheese. Beat on medium speed with the whisk attachment for about 1 minute, until smooth.
  • Add 1 cup of powdered sugar, and beat until combined. Repeat with 1 more cup.
  • Add lemon zest, lemon juice, bakery emulsions, and salt, and beat until combined.
  • Add the remaining powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating until combined after each addition, for a total of 6-8 cups, until the frosting is the texture you want.
  • Beat for about one additional minute, until frosting is smooth, thick, and fluffy.

Notes

To substitute salted butter: For the cupcakes, use 1 stick salted butter and reduce table salt to 1/4 teaspoon. For the frosting, use 1 stick salted butter and omit table salt.
The frosting recipe makes a generous amount of frosting, for piping with jumbo frosting tips. If you want to use a smaller amount of frosting, the recipe can be cut in half.