Lemon drizzle cupcakes on a plate

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These Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes bring the fresh, sweet and zesty flavour of your favourite cake into individually portioned treats from heaven. Totally delicious, and perfect to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee, these are perfect to serve to guests or to keep a batch on hand for whenever the mood takes you.

What is it?

Lemon drizzle cake is a British favourite, which is estimated to have been around since the 1960s. Its simplicity is by no means indicative of its flavour and, when you try it, you’ll realise it’s no wonder that it’s one of the most popular cakes in the UK. Sweet and zesty, it’s light and airy and has a fresh taste that will leave you wanting more!

Traditionally lemon drizzle is made as a loaf cake, with a basic sponge recipe and a drizzle of sugary lemon syrup to top it off. These cupcakes combine a classic cupcake recipe with lemon drizzle, crowned with some lemon buttercream frosting. Yum!

How long do they keep?

Cupcakes will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge (I recommend keeping them cool to keep the buttercream stable). Store in a sealed container and away from anything with a strong odour as this may be absorbed by the buttercream.

You can also freeze cupcakes for up to 3 months. You can opt to freeze the cupcakes and buttercream separately or freeze fully decorated cakes. First, give them a stint in the freezer until solid (make sure to place them somewhere they won’t get squished). Next, wrap them in cling film individually and line them up neatly in a container before placing them back into the freezer.

Spoon drizzling lemon onto cupcakes

How can I make my cupcakes come out perfectly?

Cupcakes may seem easy, but consistency is key to making sure that you get the same fluffy and airy results, every time:

Mix, but don’t overmix

Batter which isn’t mixed enough will rise unevenly and often lead to those annoying volcano looking tops. Batter which is overmixed will rise too quickly and then shrink in the cases. Not a good look.

Aim to mix the batter for around 1 minute if using a hand or stand mixer. Then add the milk and mix for a further 40 seconds.

Use room temperature butter

When making cupcakes, it’s important that you use butter that has been at room temperature for a good couple of hours before mixing your cakes. This way the air bubbles will be more evenly distributed throughout each layer when you mix the batter. If you use butter that is too cold then you’ll get those weird peaks in the middle. Conversely, butter that is too warm will lead to shrunken cupcakes.

A good rule of thumb is to press lightly on the butter before using it. Your finger should compress into the butter easily, but it should still hold its shape.

Fill the cases the right amount (or be prepared for a messy oven!)

An ice cream scoop is your best friend when portioning out the batter! Around 1 scoop per case is enough. It should fill around half of the cupcake case.

This recipe makes 12 standard-sized cupcakes, so if you share the mixture evenly between the cases you can’t go too wrong!

Close up of lemon drizzle cupcakes

Ingredients

For a full list of ingredients, with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.

Lemon drizzle cupcakes ingredients

For the batter…

  • Plain/all-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Caster sugar
  • Eggs
  • Unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Milk

For the lemon drizzle

  • Caster sugar
  • Lemon juice

For the buttercream

  • Butter, room temperature
  • Icing sugar
  • Lemon juice

How to make them

For detailed recipe instructions with tips, jump to the printable recipe card.

Recipe steps
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/350F
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs and butter and beat with a stand or hand mixer for 1 minute.
  3. Add the milk and beat for a further 30-40 seconds.
  4. Line a cupcake tray with cases and distribute the batter between them.
  5. Bake the cupcakes for 20-22 minutes. Check they are done by inserting a skewer (it should come out clean when removed).
  6. Mix the lemon juice and sugar together to make the drizzle. Use a skewer to poke a few holes into the top of each cupcake. Drizzle over the lemon and sugar mixture.
  7. Make the buttercream by beating the butter until pale and fluffy. Add the icing sugar a little at a time.
  8. Once the cupcakes have cooled, decorate them with buttercream.

Looking for more sweet treats? Try:

Products that work well for this recipe:

Set of 3 Emma Bridgewater Cake Storage Tins

Airtight metal tins, perfect for storing cakes or biscuits! 25 x 14.5cm / 9.8 x 5.7in 22.5 x 12cm / 8.8 x 4.7in 20 x 9.5cm / 7.9 x 3.7in

Hand Mixer with Beaters, Whisk and Dough Hooks

– 5 speed settings – Built-in storage – Stainless steel attachments

Kenwood kMix Stand Mixer

Stylish Kitchen Mixer with K-beater, Dough Hook and Whisk, 5L Stainless Steel Bowl, Removable Splash Guard
Print
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Lemon drizzle cupcakes on a plate

Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes


  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

These Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes are a perfect afternoon treat. Light & fluffy with a zesty lemon flavour that doesn’t overwhelm but enhances every bite.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 125g plain/all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature (see note 1)
  • 2 tbsp milk

For the lemon drizzle:

  • 60g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

For the buttercream: (see note 2)

  • 140g butter, softened at room temperature (see note 1)
  • 280g icing sugar, sifted (see note 3)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

To decorate: (optional)

  • Lemon zest
  • Small lemon slices

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/350F
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar until fully mixed. 
  3. Crack the eggs into the flour mix and add the butter. Beat using a food mixer or hand blender for around 1 minute. 
  4. Add the milk and beat for a further 30-40 seconds until just combined.
  5. Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases and spoon the mixture evenly between them. An ice cream scoop gives a good single measure.
  6. Bake the cupcakes in the oven for 20-22 minutes. When they are done you should be able to place a skewer or toothpick into the middle of the cupcake and it comes out clean when removed. The surface should be springy and bounce back after being lightly pressed. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  7. While the cupcakes are baking make the lemon drizzle by whisking together the lemon juice and sugar in a bowl with a fork. 
  8. While the cakes are still warm use a skewer to poke several holes in the top of each. Then use a pastry brush to brush the lemon drizzle over each, allowing the juice to seep into the holes and add flavour to each cake. 
  9. Next, make the buttercream. Start by beating the butter for 5 minutes until it turns pale and fluffy. Add the icing sugar a little at a time, incorporating each addition before adding more.
  10. Once the cupcakes have fully cooled, use a piping bag to decorate the cupcakes with buttercream.

Notes

  1. It is very important to make sure that the butter is at the right temperature. Room temperature means you should be able to stick your finger into it easily. However, it should hold its shape a little and not have any oily patches. For a full block of butter this usually takes around 2 hours at room temperature. If you need to warm the butter faster then place it in a bowl over warm to hot water and keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t liquify.
  2. This is a generous amount of buttercream so you can either use a lot of frosting or freeze any that is leftover for up to 3 months. 
  3. Cupcakes can be frozen for up to 3 months – either decorated or not. If freezing decorated cupcakes then place them in the freezer for a few hours (somewhere they won’t be squashed) until hard. Wrap in clingfilm and place back into the freezer in a sealed container
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: British

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 360
  • Fat: 19g
  • Carbohydrates: 45g
  • Protein: 2g

Keywords: cupcakes, lemon, lemon drizzle, snack, dessert, cake, sweet, easy

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