Perfect Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

This recipe comes from My Kitchen Cafe via You Got Served who got the recipe from Amy Barker who combined two recipes she got from her friend Nancy (the cake) and the Magnolia Bakery in New York (the frosting).That just shows how a great recipe gets around! The original recipe was made as a cake, but had instructions for cupcakes. I decided to try it in the cupcake form.

Let me tell you that this cake recipe was named correctly, these little cupcakes were lemon perfection. The cake is so tender and moist, it was absolutely mouth watering. I loved the frosting, but must warn you it is very full of lemon flavor. If you are shy of really strong lemon flavors you may want to use a regular cream cheese or buttercream frosting. If you are a fan of lemon bars, then you will totally love this cupcake with the lemon frosting! These little morsel would be perfect to finish off your Easter dinner, you could always make it in regular cake form too. I topped mine off with a strawberry cut in half with the stem left on, but any type of berry will work.

Perfect Lemon Cupcakes |

5.0 from 1 reviews
Perfect Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream
  • Cake:
  • 1 package lemon cake mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 small package lemon instant pudding
  • Lemon Buttercream Frosting:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, very soft
  • 6-8 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Berries, optional fro garnish
  1. Add of the the cake ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Mix with electric mixer on medium speed for about two minutes. Use a strong mixer, this batter is thick.
  2. For cupcakes, bake them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (I was able to get 24 very full cupcakes from the recipe). For regular cake, pour into a greased 9x11 pan or two round pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Don't over bake or the cake will be too dry! The toothpick test works to check to see if they're done. Allow to cool.
  3. The original recipe said that the cupcakes will fall after they come out of the oven, but this is normal and to just fill up the indentation with more frosting. I didn't have this problem at all!
  4. For frosting, place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of sugar, then the juice and the zest. Beat until smooth and creamy.
  5. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency (I added 6 cups total). Use and store at room temperature. (Don't refrigerate and it will last in a covered container for about three days.)
  6. Frost cooled cupcakes with frosting. Garnish with berries, if desired right before serving.


These are the original pictures from this post. Photo above was updated in May 2013.

39 comments on “Perfect Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

  • Love lemon awesome recipe here thankyou for another great treat. 🙂

  • This cannot be called a recipe when you are using packet mixes.

  • I made these using milk instead of water for the cake, as I always do when making a box cake. I also baked at 25 degrees lower. The cupcakes were done on time, and looked perfect, but collapsed shortly after coming out of the oven. I thought maybe it had to do with the milk, but see several comments about the cupcakes falling in the center. Any ideas as to what may cause this? I did the toothpick test and, using that method, they were done…..??

  • Very yummy recipe! Lemon is our favorite. Mine fell too after taken from the oven. I just filled them in with icing. I also used greek yogurt in place of the sour cream and they turned out great!

  • These sound like the perfect cupcake. I love lemon and the mix of sour cream and pudding in the cake sounds so flavorful and moist I bet. Plus lemon buttercream sounds absolutely amazing!

  • I tried the recipe for the cupcakes and they fell also. I tried them again and a few fell again. but the texture was different the second time. It was more like a cake. I still am not certain what happened with the first batch…they were for a reception, I did a variety of cupcakes and large sheet cake. I was worried about the Lemon ones but they turned out to be the most popular…

  • Yumm, these look really great. Love lemon anything.

  • I tried a whole cake without pudding which sunk. My toothpick came out clean but the cake didn’t have a very “cake like” texture.

  • I have a question. I’ve used this recipe for over a year whenever i need to bring dessert to an event and everyone always LOVES them. i get requests all the time. Since the recipes been such a hit, i’ve made a chocolate variation with chocolate cake mix and pudding and those turned out great as well. Well my friends favorite type of cake is funfetti, so i went out and bought a box of the mix as well as vanilla pudding. I was just going to follow this recipe again with my variations. However, i just noticed that the funfetti box said that there was already pudding added. Should i go ahead and make it with the vanilla pudding or just skip it? Im worried it will come out funny.

  • How moist and yummy! Great recipe. And, just a side note – I was going way fast when I made these and I accidentally grabbed a large box of cook n’serve pudding instead of a small box of instant pudding – well, it still worked! 🙂 So, if anyone else makes that mistake, it’s okay! 🙂

  • Love it when great things start with a mix. (not so threatening for my ability)

  • I make these cupcakes this past weekend and they were a hit! Everyone loved them! They are so refreshing! Even my friends who hate sweets ate 2 or 3! Def making them again soon!

  • I made these cupcakes because the host of the annual friendly chili cookoff loves lemon. They were such a hit that I’m sending the recipe to all of my friends. The cupcakes did collapse but that was fine it just meant more frosting. The cupcakes that I left in for less than a minute longer did not collapse and were not dry. Instead of cream cheese frosting I made a 7 minute frosting that I grated lemon zest just before I frosted the cupcakes. I also topped the cupcakes with zest. I didn’t use the cream cheese frosting only because I was also making carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

  • I made the cupcakes and cake tonight. The cake collapsed in the middle. The middle is two inches lower than the sides! However, both cupcakes and cake still taste wonderful. I love this recipe, and I recommend the cupcake version over the cake version.

  • these cupcakes are ridiculously good! i made them for my birthday.. we'll see what the coworkers think! thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • These look absolutely perfect! Delicious!

  • Wow these cupcakes are amazing!!! I made them for easter and they were a huget hit. I have to shamefully admit I ate way too many of them. Great recipe!

  • Oh my goodness these cupcakes are amazing. I made these for easter and they were a huge hit. My only negative is that I wish I sent them home with my mother so there weren’t so many left over for me to eat the next day, HA! Seriously though, great recipe.

  • I made this recipe into a regular cake (Not enough cupcake pans) this weekend and have to thank you for such a wonderful recipe! The frosting was light and fluffy and tangy! It was the perfect balance to the dense, moist cake.

    It was a hit with my fammily and neighbors!

  • I love lemon. It tastes so spring-like and refreshing. Those look so good. Your photo is really good!

  • What a perfect spring dessert!
    Looks lovely!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • I’m not a baker, but these looked so pretty, I had to click on your entry on tastespotting. I was glad to see regular cake mix used, so maybe I could do this! Thanks for sharing.

  • I made the cupcake part of this recipe yesterday. I used a strawberry cake mix and vanilla pudding and I added about a cup of milk chocolate chips to the batter before baking. Then I topped them with a cream cheese frosting. They were way good. Mine did fall when I took them out of the oven.

  • just wanted to tell you that your cupcakes look beautiful!

  • Those look so yummy! I love lemon with strawberry, fantastic!

  • These cupcakes look beautiful! I love lemon cake, it’s one of my favorites.

  • Your cupcakes look just beautiful! They sound yummy too-perfect for spring.

  • These really do look perfect, and the picture of spring!

  • I still have this on my list to try. Your cupcakes are so cute. I love what you did with them.

  • Laura, your pictures are amazing! I love the strawberry garnish. I’m glad you liked this recipe!

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