Lemon cupcakes with lemon buttercream

Who loves lemon? I love lemon, and I also love this recipe for lemon cupcakes. The cupcake base uses cake flour, which is an absolute must in this recipe – no substitutions. I brought these cupcakes in to work recently, and a few of my co-workers wanted to know how I got the cake so light and airy. Well, the answer is cake flour. You can find cake flour at any grocery store in the baking section. I usually use the Softasilk brand of cake flour. The flour is fine, smooth, silky, and perfect for this tender cupcake.

I think you will really enjoy these cupcakes. I used a lemon buttercream frosting and then topped them off with candied lemon slices.  Making the candied lemon slices was one of the most exciting parts of this cupcake experience!  They are edible and sweet – not sour!


$$ (lower end)


  • 3 sticks of unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)
  • 3 cups cake flour (no substitutions)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice the lemons that were zested)
  • Zest of 2 lemons (zest the lemons first, then use them for the juice)
  • 1 cup buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.

Add the softened butter and sugar to a large bowl. Beat the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer or with a hand held mixer. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and super fluffy, for about 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda). Sift the ingredients together and set aside.

Add the eggs one at a time to the butter and sugar mixture, and beat egg in to mixture after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest.

Now beat in the dry ingredients and buttermilk in alternating additions to the mixture. Start with adding about a third of the dry ingredients, incorporate it in to mixture on low speed, and then add about a half of the buttermilk and mix it in on low speed. Continue alternating the dry ingredients and buttermilk, ending with the dry ingredients. Make sure all ingredients are well incorporated and the mixture is fluffy.

Using a cookie scoop or small ladle, scoop batter in to each cupcake liner. Fill the liners with the batter almost to the top, because these cupcakes do not rise much.

Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes at 325. Do not overbake. Remove from oven and cool completely. Frost with lemon buttercream and garnish with candied lemon slices.

*Makes 24 Cupcakes

Lemon Buttercream


  • 2 ½ sticks of unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)
  • 2 – 3 TBSP of fresh lemon juice;
  • 1 tsp. of lemon zest
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • Using a hand mixer, beat softened butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until the frosting is at a good consistency for spreading.

Source: Our Best Bites

Candied Lemons


  • 1 cup of water
  • 1  cup of white sugar
  • 2 lemons


Wash and dry the lemons. Slice lemons very thinly, and cut in to halves or quarters. Add water and sugar to a small saucepan. Put water and sugar on a stovetop over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon slices to the pan in a single layer so they are not touching, and turn the heat to low. Let simmer for 10 minutes, use a fork to gently flip the lemons and simmer for another 10 minutes. When done simmering, pour the lemons and the syrup in to an airtight container. Keep in container until ready to put on to cupcakes.

Electric Hand Mixer vs Electric Mixer

I do not own an electric mixer, so I do all of my beating with a hand held mixer. It might require me to do a little more work, but it does the trick. Plus hand mixing burns more calories! Electric mixers are costly.

COOKING TIP OF THE WEEK– It was brought to my attention that some readers would be interested in knowing the approximate cost of the food items in a recipe. Things may cost more if you have to go out and buy ingredients that you don’t already have on hand in your kitchen, but I will be prorating for the amount that is actually used in the recipe. From now on, I’ll be including a dollar sign code with my recipes, which will give you an idea of how much you will be spending if you decide to use the recipe.

  • $            Under $8
  • $$         $8 – $15
  • $$$      $15 – $25
  • $$$$    $25 and up

Underneath the title of the cupcake recipe, you will see two dollar signs and “low end”.  This means that the ingredients in the recipe are closer to $8 than $15. They aren’t too expensive to make, since lemons are fairly cheap. The most expensive item in this recipe is the butter.

There are certain food items that cost more than others. Produce can be expensive – especially red and yellow peppers or berries. Cheeses also can be very pricey. I try to buy Parmesan or mozzarella at places such as Costco or Sam’s Club because it does cut down on cost.  Other things that add up are spices, extracts, nuts, and baking chocolates.