Lemon Cupcakes with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I may as well change the name of this blog to Love of Annie’s Grub. While I love trying recipes from a variety of sites and even occasionally coming up with something original, Annie’s Eats has been my go-to food blog more often than not lately. If you visit her site, you’ll understand why!

For Mother’s Day Brunch I made a bunch of tiny lemony cupcakes from this recipe and frosted them with this. I halved both recipes, and I made simple cupcakes instead of the fancy-pants layered cake she shared, so here is the adaptation:



For the cupcakes: (makes 48+ minis)

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Zest of 1/4 a lemon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2.5 large eggs, at room temperature*
  • 5/8 cup buttermilk, at room temperature**
  • 1/2 tbsp. lemon extract
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 3/4 cups plus 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract


* I hate wasting things like half an egg, and I like adding things like flaxseed to my baked goods, so I did a fun trick and mixed 1/2 tbsp. flaxseed with 1 1/2 tbsp. water and called it half an egg.

** I also don’t love buying things like buttermilk when it’s so easy to make my own. So, I put 1/2 tbsp. + 1/8 tbsp. white vinegar in a measuring cup, added milk to the 5/8 cup spot and let it sit for 5 minutes.


For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Prepare your muffin (or mini muffin) tin(s) by lightly greasing and flouring them or lining them with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk together and set aside.  Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment a large bowl and set it somewhere that can be reached by a plugged-in hand mixer.  Add the lemon zest to the bowl of the mixer with the butter.  Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.

Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition.  Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Combine the buttermilk and the lemon and vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup.  With the mixer on low speed a wooden spoon in one hand, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.

Pour the batter into your cupcake tin(s). I had enough batter for 2 full tins of mini cupcakes (48) plus one mutant cupcake that I attempted to bake in a liner in a bowl. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Let cool in the pans about 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

For the frosting:

Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment  a bowl near a plug-in.  Whip with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Add the confectioners’ sugar to the bowl and mix on medium-low speed just until incorporated.  Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean pod (if using) into the bowl and add in the salt.  Continue to beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.  Mix in the heavy cream and vanilla on low speed just until incorporated.  Increase the mixer speed and whip on high speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed, about 4-5 minutes.


I couldn’t find my pastry bag, so I cut a hole in a sandwich baggie, shoved a pastry tip in it, and filled the bag with frosting. It worked well enough to make some cute-ish squirts of frosting on the cupcakes, and I topped them each with a lemon head. I wasn’t entering Cupcake Wars or anything, so I didn’t obsess over this detail much, but if you wanted to, you could probably make your cupcakes look more showroom-ready 🙂


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