This recipe shows you how to make lemon cupcakes from scratch with a moist and zesty lemon cake from fresh lemon peel and a lemon buttercream frosting. It’s a sweet yet light cupcake.
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This lemon cupcake recipe is so delicious! It has a light yet zesty lemon flavor in the moist cupcake and the buttercream is flavored with lemon too. What could be better than lemon buttercream frosting?
Ingredients for Lemon Cupcakes
- Granulated Sugar
- All-Purpose Flour
- Baking Powder
- Lemon Extract
- Fresh Lemon Zest (Grate the colorful yellow part of the peel.)
Ingredients for Lemon Buttercream Frosting
- Confectioners’ Sugar
- Lemon Extract
How to Grate a Lemon
- Use either a grater that has a zester side or an actual zester.
- To get lemon zest from a lemon, grate only the colorful yellow parts of the lemon peel. This is the part that is full of bright lemon flavor.
- Avoid grating the white parts of the peel because it can have a bitter taste. Add lemon extract and lemon zest and mix.
How Much Zest From One Lemon?
It takes 2 medium-sized lemons to get the 2 tablespoons of zest needed for this recipe.
Lemon Zest Replacement
Alternatively, most baking aisles at the grocery have ground lemon peel in the herbs and spices section. It does not have as strong of a lemon flavor, but I have used it in lemon cupcakes combined with lemon extract and still had decent lemon flavor.
How to Make Lemon Cupcakes From Scratch
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cupcake pan(s) with 24 regular-sized cupcake liners.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or using a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, mix together shortening and sugar until they are creamy. Add eggs and mix well.
- Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Begin alternating these dry ingredients with milk as you add them to the mixing bowl.
- Blend well after each addition of dry ingredients and milk.
- Add lemon extract and lemon zest to batter and mix.
- Fill each cupcake liner with approximately 3 tablespoons of batter. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-16 minutes until cupcakes are cooked through the center.
- Insert a toothpick in the center of a cupcake and if it comes out clean, they cupcakes are done.
Lemon Buttercream Icing Recipe
This lemon buttercream frosting recipe has only 4 ingredients and gets its zesty lemon flavor from the lemon extract.
- Mix together butter, 2 tablespoons milk, and lemon extract. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar. Add 1 more tablespoon of milk if needed.
- Frost cupcakes once they have fully cooled.
How to Decorate
I decorated these cupcakes using a Wilton 1M star tip with a simple swirl of frosting.
Try these other tasty cupcakes!
- Berry Wine Cupcakes
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- Cherry Chip Cupcakes
- Raspberry Cupcakes
- Starbucks Strawberries and Cream Frappuccino Cupcakes
- Summer-Themed Cupcakes
- ½ cup Shortening
- 1 ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 ¾ cup All-Purpose Flour
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup Milk
- 1 teaspoon Lemon Extract
- 2 tablespoon Fresh Lemon Zest from 2 Medium-Sized Lemons, Grate the colorful yellow part of the peel.
- 3 cups Confectioners’ Sugar
- ⅓ cup Butter, softened
- 1-2 tablespoons Milk
- 1 teaspoon Lemon Extract
- Lemon Drops, Lemon Heads, or Yellow Sprinkles, for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or using a mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream shortening and sugar together. Add eggs.
- Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Begin alternating dry ingredients with milk as you add them to the mixing bowl. Blend well after each addition. Add lemon extract and lemon zest and mix.
- Fill each cupcake liner with approximately 3 tablespoons of batter. Bake for 12-16 minutes until cupcakes are cooked through the center. Test with a toothpick in the center of a cupcake to check for doneness.
- Mix together butter and lemon extract. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar. If too thick, add a tablespoon of milk at a time. Frost cupcakes once they have fully cooled.
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