These easy lemon cupcakes from scratch are super moist and burst with lemon flavor. Top them with vanilla mascarpone cream cheese frosting or use any frosting you like!
How to make lemon cupcakes
This is a pretty quick recipe, so first preheat the oven.
Next, you need to beat the sugar with butter using an electric mixer. Do this for at least 2 minutes. What you are after is a pale creamy texture.
Now you can add the eggs and mix again. After this you can add the rest of the ingredients and mix one last time. The mixture should be kind of fluffy looking.
Piping bag makes filling the paper cupcake cases easy. However, you can use a spoon too. It is important to use a good quality cupcake cases.
If you want these easy lemon cupcakes hold their shape nicely, you should use a muffin tray. You could also try doubling the cases to make them stronger – that is what I do sometimes. However, the muffin tray is the best option.
The baking time is relatively quick – about 12-15 minutes. Always check them for doneness before taking them out. A toothpick/wooden skewer or cake tester can be used for checking. Just insert one inside and if it comes out clean, they are ready.
Now it is entirely up to you what frosting you make for these easy lemon cupcakes as long as you like it. I went for a vanilla flavored one with a hint of lemon. No matter what frosting you use just make sure the cupcakes are completely cooled down before you start frosting them.
How to make vanilla frosting
I am using a combination of mascarpone, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla essence and lemon juice. All these ingredients are combined in a bowl until creamy consistency. I recommend using electric mixer.
Tips for making lemon cupcakes
- Make sure to wash the lemons thoroughly first. If you are not sure whether the ones you bought are organic, it’s better to clean them well. This article on how to dewax lemons is pretty useful.
- The lemon zest (as a garnish) can be omitted.
- Let the butter as well as the eggs sit at room temperature for an hour or so before you start making these easy lemon cupcakes. The temperature of each ingredient is important. Also, if you combine cold eggs with warm butter mixture, you will end up with curdled cupcake batter. This is not a baking disaster and you can still use the batter. However, by simply bringing the ingredients to the same temperature will help avoid/reduce this.
- To intensify the lemon flavor when you making lemon cupcakes I have one trick. I pour freshly squeezed lemon juice over each cupcake right after I take them out from the oven. I also do this when I make Lemon Lavender Loaf.
- Use any type of cupcake frosting you like. There are no rules here. A simple vanilla frosting or lemon frosting are great choices.
- When checking these lemon cupcakes for doneness and still not sure, also check the bottom. If the bottom is brown but they are not set on the inside, reduce the oven temperature slightly.
- I used only about a ¼ of a teaspoon of vanilla essence. I recommend start with less and taste it, if it has the flavor you are after. Also, if using vanilla extract just remember you only need a little as it is way stronger than essence.
Preheat the oven to 360°F/180°C.
- Juice all your lemons and make sure to remove any seeds. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the butter with sugar until creamy. This usually takes about 2-3 minutes when using an electric mixer. Add the eggs and mix well.
- Combine the flour with baking powder and salt. Add this to the cupcake batter and mix until smooth. At last you can pour in ¼ cup of the lemon juice and give it a final mix.
- Place the paper cases in a muffin/cupcake tray or onto a baking tray. Pipe/spoon the batter into paper cases and bake for 15 minutes or until ready. The cupcakes are ready when an inserted skewer/cake tester comes out clean.
Take them out and pour the remaining lemon juice over each cupcake. About 1-2 teaspoons per cupcake. Let them cool down completely before frosting.
- Transfer all the ingredients into a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, combine them together until smooth.
- All-purpose flour (US) = Plain flour (UK).
- You should get about a ¼ cup of lemon juice for the cupcake batter + some extra juice that will be poured over the cupcakes after they have been taken out from the oven.
- The baking time may vary slightly. This depends on your oven and size of the cupcake cases as well. They should be ready in 12-15 minutes but you always make sure by inserting a wooden skewer/toothpick inside one. If it comes out clean, you can take them out.
- You can use any frosting you like. Also you can completely omit the lemon juice in this frosting.
- The frosting is enough for 10-12 cupcakes, if frosted the way it is shown on the pictures. If you want to be more generous with the frosting, I suggest doubling the ingredient amounts.
- The amount of sugar used for the frosting can be increased or decreased.
- Vanilla extract can be substituted for vanilla essence. Just note that vanilla extract is stronger than essence so add less rather than more.