This post is brought to you by Bob's Red Mill. Make it better with Bobs. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Bakes by Brown Sugar possible.
These citrusy Lemon Cupcakes are soft and moist, bursting with lemon flavor, and topped with a zingy lemon ermine frosting. You’ll love the refreshing and tart citrus flavor in each bite!
Once again I'm partnering with Bob's Red Mill to showcase the delicious treats you can make with their Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. It's my go-to flour for all my recipes that call for all-purpose flour. Bob's Red Mill produces high-quality flours, grains, and baking mixes. In addition, they're a 100% employee-owned business, one of only 8,000 in the country; which is one of the reasons I love to support them.
In addition to these delicious lemon cupcakes, check out my recipe using for Peach Bourbon Upside Down Cake using Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour and my recipe for my gluten-free Strawberry Almond Cake featuring their superfine almond flour.
- What You'll Need for these Cupcakes
- Lemon Cupcakes
- Lemon Ermine Frosting
- How to Make Lemon Cupcakes
- How to Make the Lemon Ermine Frosting
- How to Store the Cupcakes
- Why You'll Love These Lemon Cupcakes
- Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Cupcake Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
- More Delicious Lemon Recipes
- Lemon Cupcakes
What You'll Need for these Cupcakes
Here is what you'll need for these cupcakes
- Bob's Red Mill Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. The flour provides structure and the right flour helps ensure a delicate crumb. It's my preferred flour for my baking.
- Granulated Sugar. The sugar obviously adds sweetness, but sugar also provides moisture to the cupcake and helps create the beautiful crumb on this cupcake.
- Unsalted Butter. Butter adds flavor, fat, and moisture to the cupcake
- Whole Milk. The milk adds moisture, flavor, and color to the cupcakes. Make sure you're using whole milk and not 2%, 1%, or skim milk.
- Whole Eggs. Whole eggs provide structure, flavor, color, and leavening to the cupcake. The proteins in the egg cause the other ingredients to bind together.
- Fresh Lemon Juice. The main flavor for these lemony cupcakes.
- Fresh Lemon Zest.
- Baking Powder. Provides the lift for these beautiful-looking cupcakes.
- Kosher Salt. The salt elevates all the other flavors.
Lemon Ermine Frosting
- Granulated Sugar. Makes the frosting sweet.
- Cornstarch. When combined with the flour thickens the slurry
- Bob's Red Mill Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. When combined with the cornstarch thickens the slurry.
- Whole Milk. The milk is used to make the thick roux-like paste.
- Lemon Juice. The lemon juice adds lots of citrus flavor.
- Kosher Salt. The salt adds a counterbalance to the sweetness of the frosting
- Unsalted Butter. Makes the final frosting creamy, smooth and silky. Use great-tasting butter to ensure the final frosting tastes good.
How to Make Lemon Cupcakes
The reverse creaming method is used to make these incredibly moist lemon cupcakes. In this method, the butter is mixed with the dry ingredients to coat the flour, which reduces the development of gluten. The final result is a tender and moist cupcake.
Place the sugar in a medium-size bowl and zest the lemons onto the sugar. Zesting the lemons ensures that the oils from the skin are captured into the recipe giving us a stronger lemon flavor.
If you zested the lemon onto a cutting board or piece of wax paper the lemon oil would be absorbed into the surface.
Place the sugar and all the other dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment to thoroughly combine the dry ingredients and evenly disperse the baking powder. (These cupcake cakes can also be made with a hand mixer).
Add the butter to the sugar and flour mixture and mix on medium speed to combine the butter with the dry ingredients. The mixture will be crumbly.
Add all the milk and mix on medium speed just until the milk is incorporated and the batter looks creamy. Next, add the eggs and beat the batter just until the eggs are incorporated.
Throughout the mixing process be careful not to overmix the batter.
Add the lemon juice and mix on medium to combine. Scrapes the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix in any batter that is not quite incorporated by hand.
Divide the cupcake batter evenly between the 12 cupcake cups, about 65 grams of batter for each cupcake. The cupcake liners should be about 2/3 full.
Bake the cupcakes for 20-22 minutes until they're done and the internal temperature is 202F degrees.
Cool the cupcakes in the cupcake pan for 10 minutes and then move them to a cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting them.
The final cupcake has a moist crumb and these will be some of the best lemon cupcakes you've ever tasted.
How to Make the Lemon Ermine Frosting
Most homemade lemon cupcake recipes are topped with cream cheese frosting, but as soon as I tasted the final version of this recipe I knew I was going to make an ermine frosting. You will be amazed at how easy it is to make this delicious lemon frosting.
Ermine frosting is an easy eggless version of Swiss meringue buttercream. It's silky, buttery, light tasting, and less sweet than cream cheese frosting. And because it starts with a flour and sugar slurry it's easy to add a lot of natural flavor, like lemon juice without impacting the consistency.
The basic frosting recipe is made by combining milk, flour, cornstarch, and sugar and cooking it until it thickens. For the lemon version of this frosting, I added 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
Once the mixture is thickened scrape into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium-low speed until the mixture has cooled to room temperature.
Add the butter and mix on medium speed until the ingredients are combined. Increase the speed to medium-high until it's silky smooth and soft. The final result is a creamy lemon frosting.
Frost the cupcakes either with an offset spatula or use a piping bag with a Wilton 1M tip to frost the cupcakes with a beautiful swirl pattern.
How to Store the Cupcakes
- Store the unfrosted cupcakes can at room temperature in an airtight container for a day
- Store the frosted cupcakes at room temperature for one day and in the refrigerator for three days in an airtight container.
Why You'll Love These Lemon Cupcakes
Lemon is one of my favorite flavors and if you love lemon desserts this lemon cupcake recipe is destined to become one of your favorite cupcake recipes. The cupcakes have a fluffy, moist crumb with plenty of lemon zest and lemon juice to make sure you don't miss the lemon. The lemon ermine frosting is silky, creamy, and slightly tart with plenty of lemon flavor. Each bite is perfect.
Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Use a scale to weigh your flour and sugar for the best results. Too much flour will result in a dry cupcake. Too little flour will result in a sunken cupcake because there is not enough flour to provide structure for the liquid and the fats in the recipe.
- The butter, eggs, and milk should all be a room temperature, which is typically between 65-68F. Room temperature ingredients blend more easily together. In addition, eggs straight from the refrigerator will result in a dense cake.
- Do not use bottled lemon juice. It has a different flavor than freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Cupcake Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
For these cupcakes, butter is definitely better. Butter not only adds a lot of flavor but produces a cupcake that is soft and tender.
No, don't use bottled lemon juice, it has a slightly off taste and you don't get the same tart lemon flavor in the cupcake and frosting.
If your cupcakes are dry then you added too much flour to the recipe. Use a scale to weigh the flour to ensure you have the right amount.
More Delicious Lemon Recipes
- Meyer Lemon Tart
- Lemon Raspberry Meringue Tarts
- Homemade Lemon Curd
- Lemon Cream Pie with Ginger Cookie Crust
- Cupcake Liners
- Stand Mixer
- 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest about 2-3 lemons depending on the size
- 1 1/2 cups (212 grams) Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 tablespoons (169 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 2/3 cup whole milk room temperature
- 2 (100 grams) large eggs
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
Lemon Ermine Frosting
- 5 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 14 tablespoons (198 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Line the muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- Place the sugar in a medium-sized bowl and zest the lemon directly onto the sugar. Once you have about 2 tablespoons, use your fingers to rub the sugar and lemon zest together until the sugar turns yellow and is very fragrant. Juice the lemons until you have 1/2 of lemon juice.
- Place the sugar, the flour, the salt and the baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment mix the dry ingredients on medium-low for 30 seconds to thoroughly combine the dry ingredients. Add the butter and mix on medium speed until the butter is thoroughly incorporated and the mixture is a little crumbly, about 1 minute. Add all the milk and mix on medium speed until the milk is incorporated and the batter looks creamy. Be careful not to overmix. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Whisk the eggs and add the eggs to the batter. Mix on medium speed until the eggs are incorporated. Add the lemon juice and mix on medium speed just until incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottoms of the bowl and fold the batter by hand to ensure all the butter is mixed together.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 12 cups of the muffin pan, about 65 grams each. Each muffin tin should be about 2/3 full.
- Bake the cupcakes for 20-22 minutes until they are done. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let them cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the cupcakes from the pan to a cooling rack. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting them.
- If making the cupcakes one day in advance before frosting them, store the cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature.
Lemon Ermine Frosting
- Sift the flour and cornstarch into a 3 or 4-quart saucepan. Add the sugar and salt and whisk for 30 seconds to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Whisking constantly, slowly add the milk until it is incorporated and there are no lumps. Add the lemon juice and whisk to incorporate.
- Place the mixture over medium-high heat and whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened and you see a 2 or 3 bubbles pop on the surface.
- Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixture. With the whisk attachment mix the flour mixture on medium low speed for 10-12 minutes until the mixture reaches room temperature.
- In a medium-sized bowl bowl cream the butter by hand with a spatula until it looks creamy. Add all the butter to the flour mixture and mix on medium-high speed until the mixture is fluffy and creamy, 5-6 minutes.
- Frost the cupcakes and serve.
- Leftover cupcakes can be stored in the refrigertor in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Mary Lynch says
I love (LOVE LOVE LOVE) your blog, and a big reason is because of the precise directions you give. A few moist crumbs? How do you tell a dry crumb from a moist crumb? The center jiggles slightly? Where "slightly" is? This recipe is done ata 202 degrees F! I have a Thermapen. I can forgo all the incomprehensible directions and simply check the temperature.
My aunt baked daily for a farm crew, and moist crumbs and jiggle slightly made sense to her, because she baked constantly. I cannot bake more often than rarely, and I think I'm pretty typical. So I rely on my favorite baking bloggers to give me directions that don't rely on having an eye for something I make once a year. BakesByBrownSugar is at the top of my list of blogs for that very reason.
Always consult an engineer BEFORE beginning a project!
Cheryl Norris says
Thank you so much for the kind and beautiful words. I'm glad that you're enjoying the recipes and that you find the detailed instructions helpful. There are a lot of good bloggers out there so it made my day to read that I am one of your favorite bloggers. I get my inspiration from Rose Levy Beranbaum and The Cake Bible, one of my favorite cookbooks. She is all about the science of baking and providing the details for successful baking.
Love these cupcakes! And the stand with the little lady bugs.... MY GOD!!!!! most adorable cake stand ever!
Cheryl Norris says
Thank you Sally. I had fun recipe testing for these cupcakes and I'm happy with how they turned out. I found the ladybug stand at a ceramics show and the little ladybugs are what sold it.
Maureen Frye says
I think there is an error on the recipe. It should say 2 tbsp lemon zest, not juice. I haven't tried them yet, but they look fabulous.
Cheryl Norris says
Thank you so much for letting me know about that error. I've corrected it.
Thank you for the great tips and easy to follow directions! My cupcakes turned out delicious! The kiddos love them too and are already asking me to make them again. Thanks for the recipe!
These cupcakes were so delicious! My husband devoured a few of them in one sitting! He even told me that these were some of the best that he’s ever had!
I love all things lemon and these were the perfect cupcakes to make. My son helped me make these (he's more of the master baker than me) and he gave them two thumbs up of approval. Will be making them again!
I love any dessert with lemon. I also thoroughly love cupcakes but are afraid to make them. Your detailed instructions made this such an easy recipe. They came out perfect!
Robin Sparks says
I don't know what ermine frosting is exactly but the juxtaposition of the butter and fresh lemon juice, left my friends speechless. These cupcakes were exquisite!
I love lemon desserts and these cupcakes were out of this world! The perfect amount of lemon flavor and the cake was light and moist. Going to make them again for a party in a few weeks!
[email protected] says
These cupcakes were great! Citrusy, moist, delicious and easy to make. Thank you!
I'm a big fan of lemon flavored desserts and this cupcake recipe did not disappoint. It was fluffy moist and had the perfect amount of lemon. I'm definitely adding this to my favorites.
Sarah Jackson says
Do you have a recommendation for making this gluten free?
Cheryl Norris says
Thank you for visiting the blog. I don't have a recommendation for making this specific recipe gluten recipe. I will be testing the recipe soon with gluten-free flour. In the meantime check out The Loopy Whisk. Her blog has great gluten-free recipes.