BEST Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes are super soft, fluffy and topped with an amazing lemon buttercream. This small batch recipe of 6 cupcakes have the perfect balance of sweet and tanginess!
Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes
These have to be the best of all the cup cake recipes that we have shared. They are simple to make, have a wonderful light and fluffy sponge crumb with a luscious frosting that is not overly sweet.
The sweet citrus drizzle is brushed onto the hot cakes making it amazingly moist and soft. These would be perfect for Spring, Summer, bridal shower, baby shower, holidays or birthday parties. They are packed with fresh citrus flavor!
Why you'll love this recipe?
- Bursting with lemon flavor - It is flavored with finely grated zest and juice that is drizzled into hot cakes as soon as it comes out of the oven and then topped with a luscious frosting.
- Not too sweet - The balance of sweet and tart is perfect in this recipe without being too sweet. More reason to go for the second one!
- Easy to make - It is a basic recipe that is made with a simple hand held electric beater.
- Amazing texture - It is incredibly soft, light and fluffy with a sponge crumb.
- Basic ingredients - Uses basic pantry ingredients, nothing that requires a trip to the store.
How to make moist & tender?
Firstly, it’s important that you measure your ingredients properly, especially flour. It’s very easy to accidentally add more than needed. I like to use the spoon and level method.
How to make 12 cupcakes?
Our favorite part of this recipe is that it makes just 6 instead of a big batch. Simply double the recipe to make 12.
How to decorate?
Spoon frosting into a large piping bag with your favorite large tip (we used 4B) and decorate on top. If you'd like simpler decorated ones, then simply spread the buttercream with a flat spatula.
Does the drizzle make them soggy?
No! The propartion of citrus drizzle to the 6 cup cakes adds the right amount of zinginess without being too much.
You need simple, everyday ingredients:
- Flour: All-purpose flour.
- Baking Powder: Helps them rise.
- Salt: A little salt adds flavor.
- Butter: The delicious combination of lemon when paired the rich buttery taste is simply irresistible.
- Sugar: White granulated sugar.
- Egg: Adds structure and richness.
- Milk: Adds moisture. We like to use whole or reduced fat.
- Lemons: We use both the zest and juice.
For the Buttercream
- Butter: Unsalted butter at room temperature.
- Sugar: Confectioner’s sugar gives the frosting its volume and consistency.
- Lemon - Fresh juice and zest.
- Salt - A pinch of salt makes it tasty.
Pro Tips for Success
- Measure flour correctly - Adding too much flour is one of the most common mistakes.
- Use only fresh juice - Never use bottled juice. Freshly squeezed gives so much better flavor than the bottled kind.
- Frosting consistency - If the buttercream is very soft to be piped then beat in more powdered sugar. It will thicken up and also makes more prettier swirls. The downside is that it makes them little too sweet than we like.
- Use lime instead to make lime drizzle.
- Use all the drizzle - Spoon or brush all the drizzle onto the cakes.
- These are best served at room temperature.
How to make?
If you are familiar to baking, then this recipe won’t be unfamiliar at all! The process is super simple and uses the creaming method.
- Make the drizzle first: Stir sugar and juice together until most of the sugar is dissolved and set aside. This helps in sugar having enough time to dissolve.
- Prep for Baking: Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a pan with 6 muffin liners.
- Combine Dry Ingredients: Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small-sized bowl and set aside.
- Cream: Add the butter and sugar to a larger bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Add egg and zest, beat until combined.
- Finish batter: Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined, followed by milk and then remaining dry ingredients.
- Bake: Divide batter into the prepared liners and bake for about 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Drizzle - Drizzle citrus juice and sugar mixture into the hot cake and let cool completely.
Make buttercream and frost
- Cream unsalted butter, confectioners sugar, juice, zest and salt, until creamy and fluffy.
- Spoon buttercream into piping bag, using your favorite tip that's not too small.
How long will they last?
Leave them at room temperature for up to 2 days. If wishing to store longer, then keep them in an air tight container and refrigerate for for up to 5 days. Let them come to room temperature before serving.
If you are serving these on a warm day, just keep them in the fridge until you set up for your party or picnic. Leave them at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This will prevent melting.
How to Make them Ahead of Time?
Bake cupcakes drizzle with lemon drizzle and cool completely for up to 2 days. The frosting can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Just bring to room temperature and beat until light and fluffy again.
How to Store?
The frosted cupcakes can be left at room temperature for up to 2 days. After that, they’re best refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week. Let come to room temperature before serving.
How to freeze?
Store the unfrosted cooled cupcakes (after the drizzle) in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature.
Frequently asked questions
We do not recommend store bought juice. Fresh juice has a lot more flavor to make better tasting baked goods.
We prefer lemon buttercream frosting for plenty of citrus flavor. However, vanilla or strawberry buttercream also pairs well. Other delicious options are cream cheese or whipped cream frosting.
More Lemon Recipes to try:
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Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes
- 1 tablespoon + ½ tablespoon sugar white granulated
- 1 tablespoon + ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon + ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 6 tablespoons sugar white granulated
- 1 egg large, room temperature
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup milk
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature (1 stick)
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ tablespoon lemon zest
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
Make Lemon Drizzle
Stir sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl, until sugar is almost dissolved. Set aside until you make the cupcakes. (This will make sure that sugar has enough time to dissolve completely).
- Line a standard muffin pan with 6 paper liners and set aside. Pre heat oven to 350° F or 177° C.
- Add flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add butter and sugar into a another medium bowl and beat with a hand held electric beater on high for about 2 minutes or light and fluffy. Add egg and lemon zest, beat for about 30 seconds, until thoroughly combined.
- Add half the flour mixture, beat on low speed, until just combined (DON'T OVER MIX). Beat in the milk, just until combined. Beat in remaining flour mixture, on low speed, until you no longer see any dry flour. DON'T OVER MIX.
- Divide batter evenly into the prepared 6 muffin cups and bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes clean.
- Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack. Immediately, using a pastry brush, gently brush the lemon drizzle evenly on top of the hot cup cakes (use all the lemon drizzle). Let cupcakes cool completely.
Make Lemon Frosting
- Add butter and 1 cup confectioners sugar into a medium bowl and beat with a hand held electric beater, on high, until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
- Add remaining 1 cup confectioners sugar, lemon jest, juice and salt and continue beating, until light and fluffy (1 to 2 minutes). (If you like a stiffer icing for piping, then use more confectioners sugar).
- Spoon frosting into a large piping bag with a decorating tip (we used 4B) and frost swirls on top of cooled cupcakes. Garnish with lemon slice, if desired.
- Measure flour correctly – Adding too much flour is one of the most common mistakes.
- Use only fresh juice – Never use bottled juice. Freshly squeezed gives so much better flavor than the bottled kind.
- Frosting consistency – If the buttercream is very soft to be piped then beat in more powdered sugar. It will thicken up and also makes more prettier swirls. The downside is that it makes them little too sweet than we like.
- Use all the drizzle – Spoon or brush all the drizzle onto the cakes.
- These are best served at room temperature.
Nutritional information is based on third party calculations, should be considered estimates and not be construed as a guarantee. Varying factors such as product types, brands purchased, produce, the way ingredients are processed and more change the nutritional information in any recipe.
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