I am currently detoxing myself from cupcakes, after last week was filled with yummy cupcake abundance. I had 3 occasions that “required” cupcakes, and I decided it was a good opportunity to do some experimenting in the kitchen. I wanted a tasty spring confection, and thought lemon might do the trick. After quite a bit of experimenting, I came up with a keeper lemon cupcake recipe that is now a new favorite, and in my opinion needs no further tweaking. They are insanely moist, and just the right amount of sweet-sour combination. The cake is a little more dense than other cupcakes, somewhat resembling pound cake. I originally made it with a lemon buttercream frosting, but decided to try it with cream cheese. Ooohh, I am so glad I did. The combination of the lemon and cream cheese is perfect!
(For those who love coconut, I also have a coconut cupcake recipe that I am ready to share, and possibly replaced my red velvet cupcake recipe as my #1…It is a tough call. Stay tuned, as I’ll share it this week!)
I served these as a breakfast treat for a Bible study that I participate in. Of course, I rationalized cupcakes for breakfast by the 3 lemons (fruit) and 2 cups of non-fat yogurt that they contain. I also made them with a whole wheat flour mixture. That makes them healthier than a doughnut, right?! I didn’t hear any complaints about cupcakes for breakfast. : )
Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Yields 24-30 cupcakes, depending on size
- 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 4 teaspoons grated lemon zest*, or zest from 2 lemons
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup lemon juice (juice from 2 large lemons)
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 2 Sticks butter
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 Tablespoons Sour Cream
- 3 1/2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice (Approximately juice from 1 large lemon)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 7 cups of powdered sugar
- In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add lemon zest, vanilla, and lemon juice; mix well. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with yogurt (batter will be thick!). Mix just until combined, do not overmix. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes (in my convection oven) or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. I didn’t write down my mini cupcake cooking time, but if my memory serves me right, I think it was around 15-16 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
- For frosting, cream butter in a small mixing bowl, until the consistency of whipped cream. Add softened cream cheese, and beat until smooth. Add sour cream, lemon juice, vanilla. Beat on high until smooth. Add additional powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, if frosting is too runny.
- Frost cupcakes. I use either a piping bag, or a ziplock freezer bag. Sometimes I bother with a decorative tip, but usually I don’t. I personally find that it is easier to pipe the frosting on cupcakes, than to use a knife. I also prefer the way the piped frosting makes them look. If you aren’t sure what I am talking about with “piping” frosting, take a look at this very brief video.
- Optional: grate additional lemon zest on top of cupcakes, for garnish.
*If you are not familiar with lemon zest, it is the outer, yellow, part of the peel. I use a small grater, and just grate off the outside. The white portion of the peel is bitter, so you are just wanting the yellow.