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If you’re looking for a delicious and easy summer dessert, look no further than these Simple and Moist Lemon Cupcakes. These cupcakes are tangy, sweet, and perfect for any summer occasion. The best part? They can easily be made in one bowl with minimal cleanup required!
Summer is the time for lemonade, iced tea, and of course, lemon cupcakes! This lemon cupcake recipe is easy to make and perfect for a summer party. If you’re looking for more summer recipes try my strawberry lemon cupcakes, these melt in your mouth lemon shortbread cookies, this lemon poppyseed cake, and this strawberry basil cake!
Back to these cupcakes though! The base of the cupcakes are made with simple baking ingredients and are naturally flavored using freshly squeezed lemon juice and the zest of a lemon. Top the cupcakes with a homemade lemon buttercream frosting or even lemon cream cheese frosting and you’ve got a delicious summer dessert that is sure to please a crowd.
The best part about these cupcakes is that they are made all in one bowl using the reverse creaming method! I learned this trick in pastry school!
With reversed creaming, you combine all the sugar and dry ingredients first, then add the butter. This cuts down on gluten development which is great for cupcakes because it makes them SUPER fluffy!
Then you add in the wet ingredients and lastly the eggs.
If you’ve never tried this method before, please let me know how you like it in the comments below!
WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS RECIPE
- This recipe uses simple baking ingredients you may already have on hand!
- Using the reverse creaming method, you’ll be able to make the cupcake batter in one bowl saving time on clean up.
- These lemon cupcakes are perfect for any summer party or BBQ!
- They can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container until you’re ready to frost and serve.
- Sugar – Granulated sugar sweetens up the base of the cupcake.
- All-Purpose Flour – Adds structure to the cupcake and allows the rest of the ingredients to work.
- Baking Powder – Helps the cupcakes rise to make them light, airy, and fluffy.
- Salt – Activates the baking soda and helps balance the sweetness and acidity in the base of the cupcakes.
- Lemon Juice & Zest – Both the juice and the zest of the lemon help create a natural lemon flavor in the cupcake.
- Butter– this needs to be softened. If you forgot to take out your butter, learn how to soften butter quickly.
- Buttermilk – Helps to tenderize the cupcake and create a moist crumb.
- Egg & Egg Whites – The eggs add structure and stability to the cupcake helping them set properly when baked.
HOW TO MAKE CLASSIC LEMON CUPCAKES
- Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside while preparing cupcake batter.
- Mix the dry ingredients: In the bowl of a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the sugar, flour, baking powder, kosher salt, baking soda, and lemon zest. Mix on low speed until fully combined.
- Add the butter and wet ingredients: To the dry mixer, add the butter and mix for 30 seconds to one minute until the mixture creates a sandy texture. With the mixer on low speed add fresh lemon juice and buttermilk. Mix for 30 seconds increasing the speed to medium. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides.
- Mix in the eggs: Add the egg and egg whites and mix on medium for 30 seconds until fully combined.
- Scoop and bake: Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the batter evenly into the muffin cups and fill ¾ of the way full. Bake for 19 minutes or until the center is set.
- Cool and frost: Cool completely on a wire rack, then top with zesty lemon buttercream. Use a piping bag and a star tip to pipe the frosting. Grate extra lemon zest over the buttercream. Enjoy!
TIPS FOR RECIPE SUCCESS
- For best results, use a light-colored muffin tin. This helps evenly distribute the heat for more consistent baking.
- I always like to use fresh lemon juice and zest for this recipe because it really gives the cupcakes a nice lemon flavor, but you could also use lemon extract if you’d prefer.
- To get the most lemon flavor out of your lemons, be sure to zest them before juicing. This will help release more of the lemon oils into your recipe.
- When measuring the flour, be sure not to pack it into the cup spoon flour into your cup and level it off instead.
- To get nice, round cupcakes, use an ice cream scoop when portioning out the batter into each muffin cup. This will give you consistent cupcakes that all bake at the same rate.
- If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can easily make your own by adding 2 tsp lemon juice to milk. Let it sit for about five minutes then use as directed in the recipe.
- Make sure to only fill the cupcake liners ¾ of the way full. This allows the cupcakes to rise properly and prevents them from overflowing.
Decorating the cupcakes
I like to use a large star tip and piping bags to frost my cupcakes. Then you can garnish with some more lemon zest to make it look pretty!
This recipe makes exactly 12 regular size cupcakes. To make mini cupcakes -line a mini muffin pan with mini cupcake liners and bake for 12 minutes. You will get about 48 mini cupcakes.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
Storing: These cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days or in the fridge for up to one week.
Freezing: The cupcakes can be frozen unfrosted for up to two months. To freeze, place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the fridge then frost and serve as desired.
What can I fill lemon cupcakes with? You can fill them with lemon curd! Find out how to make delicious lemon curd in my lemon meringue cookies post.
What frostings go well with lemon cupcakes? We use a lemon buttercream frosting for lemon cupcakes but you can also use a strawberry buttercream frosting, a raspberry buttercream frosting or a strawberry cream cheese frosting!
Can I make cupcakes with lemon juice? I prefer to make them with fresh lemon and zest for more flavor but you can substitute with bottled lemon juice
Why did my cupcakes not rise? Check your baking powder/soda. If they are old they might not work properly
Why did my cupcakes spill over? You may have put too much batter in the cupcake liner or your oven might be too hot..
MORE DELICIOUS CUPCAKE RECIPES
If you’ve enjoyed these cupcakes, you’ll love my other tasty cupcake recipes!
- Espresso Cupcakes
- Chocolate Filled Cupcakes
- Easy Vanilla Cupcakes
- Fluffy Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
- Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
- Chocolate Raspberry Filled Cupcakes
One Bowl Classic Lemon Cupcakes
- 1 cup white sugar (200g)
- 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour (210g)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp lemon zest from 1 large lemon
- ½ cup butter 113g softened
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- ½ cup buttermilk (118mL)
- 1 egg
- 2 egg whites
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- In the bowl of a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the 1 cup sugar, 1 ¾ cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp kosher salt, ¼ tsp baking soda, and lemon zest.
- Mix on low speed until combined. Add in the butter and mix for 30 seconds to one minute until the mixture looks sandy.
- With the mixer on low speed add 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, and ½ cup buttermilk. Mix again for 30 seconds moving up from low to medium speed. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides.
- Add the egg and egg whites and mix on medium for 30 seconds.
- Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the batter evenly into the muffin cups and fill ¾ of the way full. Bake for 19 minutes.
- Cool and top with zesty lemon buttercream.
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