Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Light and fluffy lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting. These classic cupcakes are perfect for spring and summer!

Batch of Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

If you haven’t noticed, I really like lemon! There’s something about its fresh, zesty flavor that I goes well in both savory and sweet recipes. Today we’re talking all about cupcakes, more specifically, lemon cupcakes. It’s been several years since I’ve made lemon cupcakes so I thought it was time to fix that! These have a light, tender crumb, and a soft cream cheese frosting. They’re divine!

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

When my mom was in town a few weeks ago we decided to test a lemon recipe. Everything looked good going into the oven, however, when we pulled out the pan after 18 minutes the cupcakes were rubbery and sunken. Fail. I went back to the drawing board, adjusted a few things and we tried again. Thankfully they turned out, because after testing 3 recipes that day, I wasn’t sure if I had it in me to try again.

I’m sure you’re all wondering what made this batch better? Or is that just the geeky recipe developer in me? Let’s find out!

These Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting are so light and fluffy!

Here’s why this recipe worked:

  1. Using all-purpose flour AND cake flour gave these that nice tender crumb.
  2. Adding lots of fresh lemon zest along with lemon juice and vanilla extract made these cupcakes taste amazing!
  3. Using an egg plus egg whites helped keep these cupcakes nice and fluffy.
  4. Sour cream or Greek yogurt added some much needed moisture. No one wants a dry, crumbly cupcake!
  5. The batter was gently mixed and the cupcakes were baked for the proper amount of time.

Homemade Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

The cream cheese on top was just another lovely addition. It’s sweet, buttery, lemony, and slightly tangy, but in a good way! It pairs perfectly with plain lemon cupcakes or with berry-filled cupcakes. I threw some fresh blueberries into half the batch and they were a huge hit! A few notes on that: make sure your berries are small, don’t use too many or you’ll end up with mush, and use FRESH. You can save a few to press into the top of the cupcakes after they’re frosting… you know, because that makes them look so much cuter!

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

I don’t make cupcakes often, but when I do, I go all out! This recipe is one I’ll be making time & time again- it’s a classic. You can dress it up or down, the options are endless! If you give these lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting a try, let me know what you think!

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg + 2 egg whites
  • 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher sea salt
  • 1/2 c. full-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt (plain, vanilla or lemon)
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 c. fresh fruit – optional (small blueberries, diced strawberries, etc.)

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher sea salt
  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 (8 oz.) block original cream cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and zest together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add vanilla, egg and egg whites. Beat on medium speed until combined, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice and sour cream.
  6. With mixing speed on low, gradually alternate adding the dry ingredients and the lemon juice and sour cream mixture to the wet ingredients, do not overmix. Fold in fresh fruit, if desired.
  7. Using a large scoop (#20 or 3.5 tablespoons), divide batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  8. Place in oven and bake for about 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The edges should be slightly golden brown in color. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely..
  9. Meanwhile, to prepare the cream cheese frosting, using the paddle attachment cream the butter, lemon zest, vanilla and salt for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. With mixing speed on low gradually add the powdered sugar and lemon juice, beat until it forms a thick paste. Add the cream cheese and mix on the lowest speed possible for 1½ minutes, then STOP! Place in refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes or until cupcakes have completely cooled. Allow to stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before placing in a bag to pipe on cupcakes.
  10. Using a large piping tip, pipe the frosting on top of the cooled cupcakes. Top with a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint, if desired.
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