These lemon poppy seed cupcakes are a moist cupcake full of fresh lemon flavor and poppy seeds. The lemon cupcakes are topped with lemon cream cheese frosting. If you are looking for a recipe perfect for the spring or summer season, you will love this recipe!
When I was designing this lemon poppy seed cupcakes recipe, I wanted it to be full of very fresh lemon flavor, so this recipe uses fresh lemons and freshly squeezed lemon juice. The frosting also pairs so well with this recipe!
These cupcakes are perfect for lemon lovers! They are perfect for a baby shower.
Why This Recipe Works
- Easy to make- These cupcakes do require a mixer, but it is still easy to make!
- Lemon poppy seed- These are full of lemon flavor and poppy seeds.
- Lemon cream cheese frosting- The frosting is a cream cheese frosting full of lemon.
- Soft cupcakes- The cupcakes are very soft and tender!
Here are some notes on the ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Unsalted butter- The butter for the batter needs to be room temperature before baking (pull this out 2 hours before baking). The butter for the frosting needs to be slightly cold. This gives it the perfect texture for piping.
- Oil- You can use canola oil or vegetable oil.
- Lemon zest- You will need 2 lemons. Use a lemon zester.
- Fresh Lemon juice- The recipe is best with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Sour cream- Use full fat sour cream. Pull this out 2 hours before baking.
- Eggs- Pull the large eggs out 2 hours before baking.
- Buttermilk- Use full fat or reduced fat buttermilk. Pull this out 2 hours before baking.
- Cream cheese- Use full fat cream cheese. Pull this out 2 hours before baking.
- Powdered sugar- Sift the powdered sugar to prevent a gritty frosting.
- Lemon juice- You can use bottle lemon juice instead.
- Sour cream- You can use full fat plain yogurt or greek yogurt.
- Buttermilk- Use ½ cup whole milk and add in a ½ Tablespoon of lemon juice. Let this sit for 10 minutes before using.
- Poppy seeds- You can not use these.
- Cream cheese- You can do 1 cup of butter instead of cream cheese.
Step By Step Instructions- Cupcakes
Here is how to make and bake these lemon poppyseed cupcakes. Use a stand mixer or a hand mixer (electric mixer) for this recipe.
STEP 1: Mix the dry ingredients. Use a sifter to sift the all-purpose flour, this will prevent flour lumps getting into the batter. Then, add in baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds into a medium bowl.
STEP 2: Beat butter, oil, and sugar. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, oil, and sugar on high speed for 3 minutes.
Then, add in lemon juice, lemon zest, and sour cream.
STEP 3: Add in the eggs. Mix these in on low speed. Then, turn up to high speed and beat for 2 minutes.
STEP 4: Add in flour mixture and buttermilk. Alternate between these two until combined. Make sure not to overmix!
STEP 5: Scoop the batter. Using a cupcake pan with cupcake liners, use a cookie scoop to scoop the batter. Fill it up 2\3rds full.
STEP 6: Bake the cupcakes. Bake these for 16-18 minutes.
STEP 7: Cool the cupcakes. The cupcakes needs to cool slightly in the hot pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Cool these completely before decorating.
Step By Step Instructions- Lemon Buttercream
STEP 1: Beat butter and cream cheese. First, beat these on high speed for 3 minutes until fluffy.
STEP 2: Add in powdered sugar. Add this in slowly on low speed. This will prevent the powdered sugar mess!
STEP 3: Add in wet ingredients. Next, add in lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt Mix these in on high speed until fluffy. You can also add in the poppy seeds here.
Decorating The Cupcakes
Use a piping bag to pipe the frosting on top of these cupcakes. If the frosting is too "relaxed" or runny, place in the freezer for 5-8 minutes until it firms slightly.
I used a Wilton tip 1M to decorate these. I also topped them with a little lemon triangle.
Expert Baking Tips
- Flour- Make sure flour is spooned and leveled. If you stick your measuring cup directly in the flour it will compact it. This can dry out the cupcake.
- The wet ingredients need to be beaten on high speed for a total of 5 minutes. This helps to give it more air, and it is a more fluffy texture.
- If you don't like the taste for fresh poppy seeds, you can skip adding it to the frosting.
- The frosting should be very creamy and be beaten on high to get it fluffy.
You can use a mini cupcake pan, 8X8 square baking pan, 9X9 square baking pan, or two 6 inch cake pans.
Yes you can. Double the recipe and use three 8-inch cake pans.
I did not soak the poppy seeds. You can if you want too. Soak in water for 30 minutes before using.
Storing and Freezing
Store these lemon poppy seed cupcakes in a airtight container like a cake carrier. Store in the fridge up to 5 days.
The cupcakes taste best if you let it come to room temperature before eating.
You can freeze the cupcakes before decorating. Wrap the cupcake in plastic wrap or store in a freezer safe bag. Freeze up to 30 days.
Let them thaw for 1 hour before decorating.
Other Cupcake Recipes To Try
Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
- 1 ¾ cup All-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking soda
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 ½ tablespoon Poppy seeds
- 7 tablespoon Unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 tablespoon Oil canola or vegetable oil
- ¾ cup White granulated sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon large lemon
- ⅛ cup Lemon juice freshly squeezed equal to half a lemon
- ⅛ cup Sour cream room temperature
- 2 Large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup Buttermilk room temperature
Lemon Poppy Seed Cream Cheese Frosting
- ¾ cup Unsalted butter slightly cold
- 4 oz Cream cheese room temperature
- 4 ½ cups Powdered sugar sifted
- 2 teaspoon Poppy seeds this is optional
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ⅛ cup Lemon juice freshly squeezed half of a lemon
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with muffin liners.
- In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds together. Set aside.1 ¾ cup All-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon Baking powder, ½ teaspoon Baking soda, ½ teaspoon Salt, 1 ½ tablespoon Poppy seeds
- Using a mixer, beat the butter, oil and sugar on high for 3 minutes. Add in lemon zest, lemon juice, and sour cream. Scrape the bowl.7 tablespoon Unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon Oil, ¾ cup White granulated sugar, Zest of 1 lemon, ⅛ cup Lemon juice, ⅛ cup Sour cream
- Add in the eggs one at time on low. Switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. The batter will appear separated, but that is from the lemon so this is normal.2 Large eggs
- Add in ⅓ of the dry ingredients and half of the buttermilk .Mix until just combined. Add in another ⅓ of the dry ingredients and the rest of the buttermilk. Mix. Add the rest of the dry ingredients.½ cup Buttermilk
- Use 1 ½ tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop the batter into the muffin tins. Fill them ⅔ full.
- Bake for 16-18 minutes. The cupcakes are done baking when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cupcakes sit in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Then allow them to cool completely.
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Let the butter sit for 30 minutes on the counter to get slightly cold. While waiting, sift the powdered sugar.¾ cup Unsalted butter, 4 ½ cups Powdered sugar
- Beat the cream cheese and butter on high for 3 minutes.4 oz Cream cheese
- Slowly add in the powdered sugar. Scrape the bowl. Add in lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Add in poppy seeds, this is optional. Mix on low until just combined. Mix on high for 1-2 minutes until creamy.2 teaspoon Poppy seeds, Zest of 1 lemon, ⅛ cup Lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon Salt
- Pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes.