Simple and easy to make with a box mix, these Lemon Cupcakes are topped with a whipped cream frosting and bursting with flavor. Super simple and perfect for any occasion.
What’s in this Lemon Cupcake Recipe?
With just cake mix and a few simple ingredients, these lemon cupcakes come together in no time!
- Cake Mix: Starting with a boxed lemon cake mix makes this cupcake recipe so simple! Your dry ingredients are ready to go, no measuring required.
- Yogurt: This adds moisture to the cake mix for a rich, fluffy, crumble-free result. The lemon flavor adds an extra kick of flavor as well, but you can substitute plain or vanilla yogurt.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk adds even more moisture!
- Pudding: Lemon pudding adds a creamy, flavorful texture to the whipped cream frosting. You can substitute vanilla pudding.
Pro Tip: Let your ingredients come to room temp before mixing them.
Variations on a Lemon Cupcake
These lemon cupcakes are so easy to modify!
For lemon blueberry cupcakes, lemon raspberry cupcakes, strawberry lemon cupcakes, or blackberry lemon cupcakes, simply stir in 1 cup of fruit to the batter. You could also add some mashed berries to the frosting if you prefer.
For lemon poppy seed cupcakes, add 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds to the batter, and for lemon lavender cupcakes, add ½-1 teaspoon of culinary lavender to the batter and/or frosting.
The secret to super moist cupcakes is to use buttermilk and yogurt! They not only add moisture to the cupcakes, but they also make these cupcakes super tender!
You can easily make the cupcakes a day or two ahead of time. It’s best to bake the cupcakes and store them at room temp. Then make the lemon frosting fresh before serving.
They should look firm and slightly golden. Insert a toothpick into the center–if there is any batter, they need to bake longer.
For that bakery-style look, I love to pipe my frosting, so I used a Wilton 2D piping tip for these cupcakes. You can also garnish the frosting with some fine lemon zest on top, place lemon slices cut in half, or put sprinkles on top if you would like.
This whipped cream lemon frosting is just perfect for lemon cupcakes, but you can use something else if you like. I recommend a simple vanilla frosting, or this lime buttercream for some extra zest.
How to Store
The unfrosted lemon cupcakes will keep well at room temperature in an airtight container for 3 days. It’s best to store them at room temperature so that they don’t dry out as quickly.
Frosted cupcakes should be kept in a container in the refrigerator, and will keep well for 2 days.
How to Freeze
While you can freeze them with the frosting, I find it easier to freeze them before frosting as they are easier to store. Plus the whipped cream frosting will be best fresh!
Let the cupcakes cool completely, wrap them individually with foil or plastic wrap, and place in an airtight container or resealable bag. They will keep up to 3 months.
Thaw at room temperature before frosting and decorating.
These cupcakes are perfect on their own decorated with a fresh lemon slice, candied lemon peel, or gummy lemon wedges. Top them with some festive yellow sprinkles or candy grapes for Easter. Hollow out the centers and fill them with lemon curd for a fun surprise, or get adventurous and drizzle them with chocolate sauce.
Lemon Cupcakes with Whipped Lemon Frosting
For the Cupcakes
- 15.25 ounces lemon cake mix 432 grams (1 box)
- 6 ounces lemon yogurt 170 grams (1 container)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil 27 grams
- ⅔ cup buttermilk 151 grams
- 3 large eggs 150 grams
For the Whipped Lemon Frosting
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream 341 grams
- 1¼ cup powdered sugar 141 grams
- ½ teaspoon lemon extract 2 grams
- ¼ teaspoon Lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons prepared lemon pudding 35 grams, see note
For the Cupcakes
- Preheat oven 350°F. Line a 12-count cupcake tin with cupcake liners. Set aside. Place mixing bowl and beaters into the freezer while you bake the cake, so it will be nice and cold when you go to make the whipped cream frosting.
- In a separate large bowl, mix the cake mix, yogurt, oil, buttermilk, and eggs together until well combined. Be careful to not overmix.15.25 ounces lemon cake mix, 6 ounces lemon yogurt, 2 tablespoons olive oil, ⅔ cup buttermilk, 3 large eggs
- Fill the cupcake liners ⅔ full and bake for 11-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove cupcakes from the oven and let sit for about 2 minutes in the cupcake tin. Remove from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Once cupcakes are completely cooled, make up the frosting, and frost the cupcakes. If you are not going to eat them right away, I would wait to frost them and place both the cupcakes and the frosting in the refrigerator.
For the Frosting
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat cold heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, lemon extract, and lemon zest until soft peaks form.1½ cups heavy whipping cream, 1¼ cup powdered sugar, ½ teaspoon lemon extract, ¼ teaspoon Lemon zest
- After soft peaks form, add the pudding and beat for a few seconds longer, about 20 seconds, as it will set up quickly. Be careful to not over mix or it will begin to separate.2 tablespoons prepared lemon pudding
- Frost the cupcakes your favorite way! I love to pipe my frosting, so I used a Wilton 2D piping tip for these cupcakes. Your can also garnish with some fine lemon zest on top, place lemon slices cut in half, or put sprinkles on top if you would like.
- Pudding: You can substitute the lemon pudding with an equal amount of vanilla pudding.
- Don’t over mix the cupcake batter. Over mixing causes the gluten to develop too much and you will end up with flatter cupcakes that aren’t so light and airy.
- Use room temperature ingredients. I like to take everything out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before I want to make them. The ingredients will combine more easily and you will have a more uniformed texture.
- Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting them.