Okay, I’m obsessed, with Lemon. Anything and everything Lemon. I’m sure with any post that I’ve done in the past that has lemon in the title, I’ve obsessively gone on about how much I love lemon. I mean, I love lemon in both sweet and savory dishes. Lemon stir-fry, lemon pasta, lemon ice cream…it’s just all good. But honestly, who would have thought that this tiny fruit could change so many dishes and add so much flavor to so many things? I’m constantly amazed! But today, today is all about the Lemon Cupcake.
These Lemon cupcakes are everything you hope for and more. The cake itself is super moist, with a hint of vanilla and all of the lemon flavor you want. It’s topped with an ever so creamy lemon buttercream and a few bits of lemon zest to bring that perfect bite all together.
This recipe is definitely a great standard recipe that I personally believe every baker should have on hand. It makes quite a large amount, about 30 cupcakes, so it’s perfect to serve at parties, or large gatherings. You can also play around with different frosting flavors for these lemon cupcakes and top it with raspberry or strawberry frosting, topped with fresh berries. But for today, it’s all about the lemon. Keeping it keeping it real to simply highlight the lemon flavor.
Read through the recipe before you begin and make sure to measure and have everything ready before you begin. Allow the butter, eggs and sour cream to sit out at room temperature for at least 30 minutes beforehand. And yes, there’s 2 full cups of sour cream as the liquid part. Yummm. It really highlights and compliments the lemon flavor so much.
Pre-heat your oven to 350º F. Prepare two cupcake pans with the cupcake liners so it’s ready to go. I also like to have my cupcake scoop set out as well. (I like to use this scoop to make sure all of my cupcakes turn out the same size). In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream together the 2 sticks (16 T) of unsalted butter and 2 cups of sugar together for about 5 minutes on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add 2 large eggs one at a time on low speed, mixing well and scraping the bowl after each addition. Add the zest and juice of one medium lemon (about 1/3 juice) and the 1 tsp vanilla. Your batter will look like a little curdled, like you’ve made a mistake but I promise, it’s just fine.
Make sure your lemons are fully ripe. I like to leave them out at room temperature because this will allow you to easily get all of the juice needed. And in case you’re wondering what to use as a juicer, I LOVE and highly recommend this lemon juicer. It’s the most durable, best one that I have used. Mine has lasted at least 7 years. Or you can also use a lemon reamer. And to zest, I love this one or anything similar.
Add the flour in thirds, alternating with the sour cream. Beginning and ending with the flour, on low speed. Now once you have it all mixed, turn your mixer to medium speed for about 10 seconds. I like to do this to make sure it is all mixed well. When I take the bowl off the stand mixer, I also like to mix the batter again by hand with a rubber spatula, making sure there is no butter/sugar mixture at the bottom of your bowl. The consistency of your batter will be thick and such a lovely consistency.
Scoop batter into the liners an bake in the oven for 24 minutes, until the tops spring back when pressed down gently. Remove from the oven and let the cupcakes sit in the pan for 1-2 minutes, then remove them and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. I love cupcakes that bake beautifully with a nice dome.
To make the frosting, cream the 2 sticks (16 T) of the unsalted butter and a pinch of salt for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the powdered sugar on low speed, then increase the speed once the sugar has fully incorporated. Add the zest of one lemon and the juice of half the lemon. If you use the whole lemon, your frosting will appear a bit broken. Add 1 tsp vanilla and mix until light and fluffy.
Frost the cupcakes using a piping bag fitted with whatever tip you’d like. I use a Wilton 1B to frost the ones pictured here.
I like to add a small amount of zest to the frosting after I’ve piped them to add just a bit more flavoring and a tiny lemon candy on top for a finishing touch. These cupcakes can be made in advance and frozen in an airtight container, or a cupcake box for up to two days.