Perfect Lemon Cupcakes

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Here is a recipe for the lemon lovers of the world!  Who I know from personal experience are quite avid and loyal worshippers.  My sisters and I have been making and enjoying these amazing lemon cupcakes for a few years now, and I can’t imagine why it has taken us so long to share them with you!  It all started when Brittany made this lemon cake for my birthday almost 3 years ago.  It was deliciously moist and zangy and beautifully garnished with berries.  I then tried it as cupcakes, and I was smitten!  This cupcake is the perfect combination of flavorful lemon cake and tart, buttery frosting.  I would like to say that making it as cupcakes helps with portion control, but alas it does not!  I have to get these out of the house pretty quickly when I make them or I’d eat them all myself.  Oh, and I have tried lemon jello instead of lemon pudding when I don’t have pudding on hand, and it totally works great.  Pudding gives you a denser cake, which I prefer in this instance, and the jello makes for a lighter cake.  But either way, if you have a place in your heart for lemon… you are going to love these cupcakes!

Perfect Lemon Cupcakes
Submitted by Mindy ~ The Sisters Cafe

1 package lemon cake mix
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1 small package lemon instant pudding
1/4 cup flour (This extra flour is not necessary if you are making a cake, but if you are making cupcakes they will fall in the middle if you leave this out… so don’t forget! )

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, soft
6-8 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

For the cake, mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Mix with electric mixer on medium speed for about two minutes. Pour into lined cupcake tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  If making a cake, bake 9×13 or two 9 in rounds 25-30 minutes. Don’t overbake or the cake will be too dry!

For the frosting, place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of powdered sugar, then the juice and the zest. Beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency (I added about 6 cups total). Use and store at room temperature. (Don’t refrigerate and it will last in a covered container for about three days.)

Recipe Source: Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe 


    • Mindy says

      Amy, I used a huge star tip (I think it is a 1A). Then I started on the outside and circled into the middle of the cupcake. There was actually a peak on each one before I garnished with the lemon drops. Oh, but before I put the lemon drops on, I sprinkled the cupcakes with clear sugar. You can’t really tell in the picture, but it looks really pretty… like little ice crystals over the icing.

  1. Mel says

    Mindy – the lemon drop on top of the cupcake is an adorable garnish! I love this recipe, too…glad it is such a hit with you and the sisters!

  2. marilyn says

    These Lemon Cupcakes will be made over easter weekend ! thank you !! The Lemon drop is a darling touch!!

    • Anthony says

      Ok, those look amazing. I love vanlila cupcakes and I love non-chocolate icing and I love candy canes (One of the best things about winter is being able to make peppermint bark!) so these look awesome. I might have to try this recipe when I’m back in the US. I have a little bit of crushed candy cane left over that’s not enough for a batch of bark. :)

  3. Julie says

    Made these a couple days ago and they really may be the perfect lemon cupcake. So yummy and I got tons of compliments. I got 24 standard sized cupcakes and 9 mini cupcakes. I made a batch and a half of frosting since I seem to always run out when I use my huge cupcake decorating tips, and had some leftover – but definitely wouldn’t have had enough with a single batch. I added just a touch of vanilla to the frosting not sure if it made a difference or not. Thanks for the the recipe!!!

  4. Lisa says


    Love your cupcakes, they turned out amazing! Just wondering can I make this into a loaf instead? If so, what would be the difference in the ingredients and baking time?


    • says

      I have never made this as a loaf. I would guess that the baking time would be similar to the cake, but since I have never tried it I couldn’t tell you for sure. If you try it, let us know in case anyone else wants to try it. Thanks!

  5. deana hostick says

    The recipe looks great. I am doing a tea for 80 senior ladies with the theme of when life hands you a lemon, bake with it. I am boxing each of them a cupcake to take home and will use this lemon recipe. The tea is on Sunday and I wanted to make them on Friday night and icing them on Saturday. Do you think they will be fresh enough. Will refrigeration help them to hold longer. Icould really use some imput. I want this to go well for the ladies. Thank you

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