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Lemon cupcakes with frosting on a wire cooling rack.

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Author: Jessie
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cooling Time (Inactive): 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12-15 large cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


These easy lemon vanilla cupcakes are topped with a fluffy lemon buttercream.



For the cupcakes:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature (113 grams)
  • 180 grams sugar (¾ cup)
  • 10 grams vanilla extract (1 Tablespoon)
  • 10 grams lemon extract (1 Tablespoon)
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 180 grams milk (¾ cup), at room temperature
  • 240 grams flour (about 2 cups when measured by scooping and leveling)
  • 3 grams kosher salt (1 teaspoon)
  • 7 grams baking powder (1 ½ teaspoons)

For the frosting:

  • 4 Tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature (56 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 365 grams powdered sugar (about 3 cups)
  • 115 grams heavy cream (½ cup)
  • Pinch of kosher salt


For the cupcakes:

For the frosting: 


Please use a kitchen scale! Measuring ingredients - especially flour - by volume (with cups) is notoriously unreliable; for best results, use a kitchen scale to measure by weight and follow the gram measurements above. We use and recommend Escali scales

Equipment. We recommend using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to properly cream the butter in this recipe. If you don't have an electric mixer, you can use a whisk to beat all wet ingredients together by hand (this will take a few minutes and some elbow grease - you want to make sure everything is well incorporated, especially the butter!) We like to use a 3 Tablespoon cookie scoop to portion cupcake batter into liners before baking. Use a piping bag fitted with a large star tip to frost these cupcakes, or swirl the frosting onto each cupcake with a spoon.

Additions and Substitutions. Reduce the lemon and/or vanilla extracts in this recipe for less pronounced flavor. Add your favorite toppings (sprinkles, lemon zest, chopped nuts, etc). Use any frosting you like here: Plain vanilla buttercream, cream cheese frosting, and strawberry or raspberry buttercreams are all good. For more frosting and decorating suggestions, visit our all-about-frosting post or check out our favorite cupcake decorating ideas.

Storing cupcakes. Store cupcakes (frosted or unfrosted) in an airtight container on the counter for up to 4 days. Freeze cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 2 months. For more information, check out our post on storing and freezing cupcakes.

Keywords: cake, cupcakes, dessert