Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting
This easy lemon cupcakes recipe makes light and fluffy cupcakes topped with lemon buttercream frosting and bursting with lemon flavor.
Lemon flavored desserts are my favorite, from lemon chess pie, to lemon pound cake, I’m all about that sweet and sour flavor.
These easy lemon cupcake recipe starts with a box of cake mix and then you add pudding mix and sour cream give the cakes a moist, fluffy texture.
It’s an easy way to doctor up cake mix to make an amazing dessert, just like our Coconut Cake (and cupcakes!) and Sock it to Me cake.
Lemon is amazing but if you want something chocolat-y give our Triple Chocolate Cupcakes a try!
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Ingredients You’ll Need
Here’s what you’ll need for the cupcakes themselves:
- Yellow cake mix – You can use your favorite brand or use the cake mix from our yellow cake mix found here.
- Instant lemon pudding – The pudding helps add flavor, moisture, and structure to the cake.
- Sour cream – Sour cream adds additional moisture to the cake.
- Vegetable oil – You could use a similar, light tasting oil.
- Eggs – Either brown or white large eggs work well.
- Lemon extract – The lemon extract gives the cupcakes their flavor.
For the buttercream frosting, you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter – Make sure you bring the butter up to room temperature before using.
- Powdered sugar – Do not use granulated sugar for the frosting since it gets gritty.
- Flavors – You’ll need a little bit of vanilla extract and lemon extract.
- Yellow food coloring – This is option and gives a nice yellow hue to the frosting.
- Milk – You could use heavy cream, light cream, or half and half.
Step 1 – Prepare the batter. Before getting started, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
As it heats, mix the instant pudding, sour cream, and vegetable oil in a large bowl of your mixer. Mix together using the whisk attachment on low speed until the ingredients just come together.
Next, add the eggs 1 at a time, mixing after each egg until it is incorporated into the batter.
Step 2 – Prep the muffin tins. Line each muffin tin with your favorite cupcake wrappers. Next, scoop approximately 3 tablespoons of batter into each muffin cup.
Step 3 – Bake the cupcakes. Once you have filled each tin, bake the cupcakes in the oven and for about 18 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
Carefully remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Step 4 – Make the frosting. While the cupcakes cool, you can make the buttercream frosting. First, add the butter and powdered sugar to the clean bowl of your mixer. Use the whisk attachment to mix it together. Start at a slow speed to prevent the powdered sugar from going everywhere and then move to a higher speed to whip the frosting. This will make it light and fluffy.
Once the icing is fluffy, add the vanilla extract and lemon extract and continue to mix. If you want to color your frosting, add 1 to 2 drops of yellow food coloring now.
If the frosting is still too firm add the milk or cream at 1 teaspoon at a time, mixing well in between each and stopping when you reach the right consistency.
Step 5 – Frost the cupcakes. Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, place the frosting in a piping bag and pipe the frosting onto each cupcake.
Serve and enjoy or place them in your cupcake carrier to store or bring to your next get together.
What Does Adding Pudding to Cake Mix Do?
The pudding mix helps add additional moisture and structure to the cake. The lemon flavor also helps enhance the lemon flavor in the cake. Pudding is an easy way to help prevent your cake from drying out as it bakes.
Making A Sheet Cake Instead
If you prefer to make a sheet cake, you don’t need to change much. To start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Next, grease and line a 9×13 inch baking pan with a piece of parchment paper.
Pour the batter in the pan and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
To store or bring to a get together, I highly recommend using a cake carrier like this one. It makes it super convenient to store and transport the cake.
How to Store Them
These cupcakes are safe to store at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. I recommend placing them in an airtight container to help preserve freshness.
Looking for More Cupcake Recipes?
- Bird’s Nest Easter Cupcakes
- Low Carb Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- Froot Loops Cupcakes
- S’mores Cupcake
- Peppermint Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Funfetti Cupcake Surprise!
- Mimosa Cupcakes
- Caramel Apple Cupcakes
- More Cupcake Recipes…
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Lemon Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
- 15.25 ounces Yellow cake mix
- 3.4 ounce Instant lemon pudding
- 3/4 cup Sour cream
- 3/4 cup Vegetable oil
- 3 large Eggs
- 2 teaspoons Lemon extract
- 1 cup Unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2.5 cups Powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons Lemon extract
- Yellow food coloring, optional
- 1-2 tablespoons Milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl combine the cake mix, instant pudding, sour cream, and vegetable oil. Mix together using the whisk attachment on low speed until the ingredients just come together.
- Add the eggs 1 at a time, mixing after each egg until it is incorporated into the batter.
- Prepare a muffin pan by lining each tin with a cupcake wrapper.
- Scoop approximately 3 tablespoons of batter into each muffin cup.
- Place the cupcakes in the oven and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- While the cupcakes cool make the buttercream frosting. Add butter and powdered sugar to the bowl of your mixer and using the whisk attachment mix it together. Start slow so the powdered sugar doesn’t go everywhere them move to a higher speed to whip the frosting and make it light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla extract and lemon extract and continue to mix. If you want to color your frosting add 1-2 drops of yellow food coloring now.
- If the frosting is still too firm add the milk 1 teaspoon at a time, mixing well in between each, stopping when you reach the right consistency.
- When the cupcakes are completely cooled place the frosting in a piping bag and pipe the frosting onto each cupcake.
- Serve and enjoy!
Yum! Those look delicious!
These look amazing, ladies! I love lemon curd and a cupcake filled with it? Pure deliciousness! So fun to do this challenge with you! Enjoy your day! xo
I love the play on ‘Honey Lemon’ from Big Hero 6. What a good idea. Those cupcakes look fantastic!
What a great combination of flavors, these look amazing!
Ohhhhhhh man these look amazing! Pinning!
LOVE these!! I bet they’re so refreshing, especially with the little pudding surprise 🙂
This is my kind of simple recipe! I love lemon everything so I’m sure I’d love these too!
mmm…honey and lemon cupcakes… sounds like a great cold/flu recipe! I will have to try that excuse next time I’m sick…..I feel a cold coming on, I better make these cupcakes, pronto! 🙂
Thanks for sharing!
I love anything with lemons. These cupcakes look so yummy and very beautiful.
Yummmmm…drool…more yummm.Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. Watch for your feature on Monday xo
Those look really good!
These look so pretty! If there is one left…
I love lemon curd and honey sounds like a heavenly pairing! Thanks for sharing, I love your ingredient challenges.
These look like they would melt in the mouth…just the way a cupcake should be! Topping with honey is a great idea.
Thanks for linking up to Marvelous Monday on Smart Party Planning.
Yum! Lemon and honey is the best combination! These look wonderful. Thank you for sharing! Stopping by from Motivational Monday 🙂
What gorgeous cupcakes! And I love the flavour combo too, pinned! 🙂
You two are amazing – so many tasty recipes like this makes me wish I’d get invited over for dinner (and most definitely dessert)!
Thanks for linking up at the Thank Goodness It’s Thursday party. See you tomorrow!
I absolutely love this! Thanks for sharing it with us. Pinned and tweeted. I hope to see you tomorrow night at 7 pm. We can’t wait to party with you! Lou Lou Girls
Those look delicious. I love lemon in the summer- it’s such a refreshing flavor! Thanks for sharing!
Would have never thought of that flavor combo! And love the cupcake liners!
very delicious and very attractive …