These lemon cupcakes are pure sunshine on a plate. They are soft and tender and full of lemon goodness. The lemon buttercream on top is out of this world.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
These easy lemon cupcakes were indeed perfect, lemon through and through. You’ve got lemon cake and lemon frosting and it doesn’t get any better! The cupcake starts with a boxed lemon cake mix but then is enhanced with some sour cream and pudding which makes for a very moist cupcake. The frosting was super lemony too with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest.
I originally found the recipe over at my friend Mel’s amazing blog.
I am helping a friend with her son’s wedding reception next week and they wanted to have a cupcake bar. She has put me in charge of selecting and planning the cupcake menu. Here is what we have planned and this lemon cupcake recipe works perfectly in the line up.
- Lemon cake mix. I prefer Duncan Hines. You will also need the ingredients listed on the back of the cake mix which is water, oil and eggs.
- Sour cream. You can also use plain Greek yogurt.
- Lemon instant pudding. You need the small box, make sure it is instant and not the cooked pudding.
- Powdered Sugar
- Lemons. You will use the juice and the zest.
How to Make Lemon Cupcakes
- Mix together the cake mix, the ingredients listed on the back along with the sour cream and dry lemon pudding mix.
- Use paper liners in your muffin tin.
- Fill each lined muffin tin 2/3 of the way full. I use this scoop for evenly sized cupcakes
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 mins.
Note: Don’t be surprised when you open the oven and the cupcakes have sunk in the middle, they just do that. I don’t see this as a problem, I see this as a place for more frosting!
How to Frost a Cupcake
I like to use a piping bag and a large round tip to frost my cupcakes with. If you prefer less frosting, just use a knife.
The recipe makes a lot of frosting so if you are not going to pipe on your frosting you could half the frosting recipe.
Tip from Leigh Anne
- After the lemon cupcakes are frosted and right before serving, add half of a sliced strawberry so the juices don’t bleed into the frosting.
- You can also top them with a slice of lemon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use store bought lemon juice?
I don’t recommend it. You are going to get much better flavor from fresh squeezed lemon juice and zest and lemon is definitely the star of the show here. Using fresh lemon juice makes a huge difference!
How do I store lemon cupcakes
These cupcakes do not need to be stored in the refrigerator. Keep them stored in an airtight container on the counter until ready to serve. They will last for 2-3 days. Garnish before serving.
Can you freeze cupcakes?
Yes. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely and store the cupcakes (unfrosted) in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator before bringing them to room temperature and then frost.
Check out more of my favorite cupcake recipes:
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Perfect Lemon Cupcakes
- 1 15.25 oz lemon cake mix I prefer Duncan Hines
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup water listed on back of cake mix
- 3/4 cup oil listed on back of cake mix
- 4 eggs listed on back of cake mix
- 1 3.4 oz lemon instant pudding small box
Lemon Buttercream Frosting:
- 1 cup butter very soft
- 8 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- Mix dry ingredients
- Add wet ingredients
- Mix with electric mixer on medium speed for about two minutes. Batter will be thick
- For cupcakes, bake them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (I was able to get 24 very full cupcakes from the recipe).
- For regular cake, pour into a greased 9×11 pan or two round pans
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes
- Don’t over bake or the cake will be too dry!
- The toothpick test works to check to see if they’re done
- The original recipe said that the cupcakes will fall after they come out of the oven, but this is normal and to just fill up the indentation with more frosting
Lemon Buttercream Frosting:
- Place the butter in a large mixing bowl
- Add 4 cups of sugar, then the juice and the zest
- Beat until smooth and creamy
- Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency (I added 6 cups total).
- Use and store at room temperature. (Don’t refrigerate and it will last in a covered container for about three days.)
- Garnish with berries, if desired right before serving
Tips & Notes:
- After the cupcakes are frosted and right before serving, add half of a sliced strawberry so the juices don’t bleed into the frosting.
- You can also top them with a slice of lemon