These Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes have a soft cloud-like crumb with an ultra-plush texture. It is paired with a creamy, dreamy lemon buttercream and is like biting into a cloud!
I wanted lemon drizzle cupcakes that pack a potent flavor, and produce a light and tender crumb, without being soggy from the drizzle.
I achieved this by strategically incorporating the zest and juice in various stages into the recipe, without any compromise in flavor or texture, like in my lemon mug cake.
These lemon drizzle cupcakes would be perfect as a spring dessert, bridal shower, or birthday party. They are packed with fresh citrus flavor in every bite! Looking for more inspiration? Check out my kulfi ice cream cake or almond flour lemon cookies.
Why this recipe works?
I begin by using only the zest in the cupcake batter, to develop a potent flavor with floral lemony oils, without any juice. We all know that the flavor of juice gets drastically muted, during the baking process.
The warm cupcakes are then drizzled with a mix of lemon juice and sugar, which adds instant brightness with its tart and acidic nature and adds moisture.
Alternating the dry and wet ingredients when making the batter, results in a soft, tender textured cupcake with smaller holes, which traps the drizzle, without making them soggy.
The lemon buttercream made using both juice and zest, offers the texture and flavor of a light vanilla buttercream, without being heavy.
Scroll down to the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and amounts.
- All-purpose flour - I used all-purpose flour which gives enough structure with the drizzle and does not fall apart in your hands.
- Baking Powder - Helps lift things up.
- Butter: Makes it rich and tender. Make sure to have your butter at room temperature overnight, to help develop an airy texture in the lemon drizzle cupcakes.
- Sugar: White granulated sugar offers tenderness and more structure in the cupcake, whereas confectioners sugar makes the buttercream silky smooth.
- Egg: It helps to have the egg at room temperature, so the batter gets fluffy when combined like the pumpkin cupcakes.
- Milk: Whole-fat milk adds richness and taste.
- Lemons: Use fresh lemons and not any bottled juice.
How to make?
You can find full printable recipe below, but here is a quick overview of the procedure along with step-by-step photos.
- Add flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl and whisk to combine.
2 & 3. Add butter and sugar into another medium bowl and beat with a handheld electric beater on high, for about 2 minutes or light and fluffy.
4. Add egg and lemon zest, and beat for about 30 seconds, until thoroughly combined.
5. Add half the flour mixture, and beat on low speed, until just combined. Don't overmix.
6 & 7. Beat in the milk, and then the remaining flour mixture, on low speed, until you no longer see any dry flour. Don't overmix.
8 & 9. Divide batter evenly into a paper lined 6-cup muffin pan, and bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes clean.
10. Make the drizzle as soon as you pop the cake pan into the oven. Stir sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl, until sugar is almost dissolved. Set aside until the cupcakes are done baking.
Tip: This ensures that the sugar has enough time to dissolve completely.
11. Remove the pan from the oven, and place it on a wire rack. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, slowly drizzle or brush, the lemon syrup evenly on top of the hot cupcakes. Use it all! Let the lemon drizzle cupcakes cool completely.
11 & 12. Make Lemon Frosting. Add butter and 1 cup confectioners sugar into a medium bowl and beat with a handheld electric beater, on high, until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add remaining 1 cup confectioners sugar, lemon zest, juice, and salt and continue beating, until light and fluffy, another 1 to 2 minutes.
Tip: If you like a stiffer icing for piping, then use more confectioners sugar.
13 & 14. Transfer frosting into a large piping bag with a decorating tip (I used Wilton4B) and frost swirls on top of cooled cupcakes. Garnish with a lemon slice, if desired.
Tip: Keep it simple and spread the lemon buttercream with a flat spatula!
How long will they last?
Store frosted lemon drizzle cupcakes, at room temperature for up to 2 days. If wishing to store them longer, then keep them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Let them come to room temperature before serving.
Tip: If you are serving these on a warm summer day, just keep them in the fridge until you set up for your party or picnic, like the strawberry and cream. Take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before serving.
Make ahead instructions
Frosting can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container, in the fridge for up to a week. Bring to room temperature and beat until light and fluffy again.
If you wish to freeze, store the unfrosted cooled cupcakes (after the drizzle), in an airtight container, in the freezer, for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing it to room temperature.
- Measure flour correctly - Adding too much flour is one of the most common baking 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.
- Use all the drizzle - Don't waste any. Spoon or brush all the drizzle onto the cakes.
- These are best served at room temperature.
The incomparable taste of freshly squeezed juice is simply unparalleled. Besides, when it comes to obtaining the zest, you will inevitably require whole fruits.
I prefer lemon buttercream frosting to bring home the lemony goodness. However, vanilla or strawberry buttercream or whipped cream frosting also will pair well.
No! The smaller holes in the cupcake effectively capture the drizzle, preventing any sogginess. Furthermore, the syrup-to-cupcake ratio is perfectly balanced, resulting in an ideal combination of flavors.
More cake recipes
Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes
- 1 ½ tablespoons sugar white granulated
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ cup '+ 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon + ⅛ teaspoon 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. Tip: This ensueres that the 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 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. Beat in the milk, and then the remaining flour mixture, on low speed, until you no longer see any dry flour. Don't overmix.
- 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 and let cool completely.Tip: The syrup-to-cupcake ratio is perfectly balanced, so it all! The smaller holes in the cupcake effectively capture the syrup, preventing any sogginess.
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). Tip: If you like a stiffer icing for piping, then use more confectioners sugar.
- Transfer frosting into a large piping bag with a decorating tip (I used Wilton4B) and frost swirls on top of cooled cupcakes. Garnish with lemon slice, if desired.
Nutritional information, based on third-party calculations, should be seen as estimates, not guarantees, as various factors like product types, brands, processing methods, and more can alter the nutritional content in recipes.
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