Lemon Cupcakes

These cupcakes are so fluffy but moist, and the frosting has this beautiful lemony zing to it!

Makes about 30 cupcakes
Adapted from Diana’s Desserts
(for the cupcakes)
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 or 2 tsp lemon juice (depending on how much you like lemon!)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 (16-oz) carton sour cream
  • 2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel
(for the frosting)
  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups sifted powdered sugar
  • Milk (2 to 3 tsp if necessary)
  • 1 tsp shredded lemon peel
Garnish (optional)
  • Grated lemon or orange zest


(to make cupcakes)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line thirty 2 ½-inch muffin cups with paper baking cups; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 45 seconds. Add granulated sugar and vanilla; beat until very well mixed (beat the heck out of it! 1 ½ or 2 minutes maybe? I don’t remember how long I beat it for, I just did it for a long time).
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. (The batter will be thick.)
  5. Stir in lemon peel.
  6. Spoon about ¼ cup of the batter into each prepared muffin cup – they should be ¾ full. Bake in preheated oven about 18 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.* Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

(to make the lemon frosting)

  1. In a medium bowl, beat butter with 1 cup powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually beat in lemon juice and vanilla.
  2. Gradually beat in additional 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar. If necessary, beat in enough additional milk (2 to 3 tsp) to make it spreading consistency. Stir in shredded lemon peel.

    * Tip: If all of the cupcakes do not fit in the oven at one time, refrigerate the remaining cupcakes while the first ones bake. Also, these make really great mini cupcakes!


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