Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

I finally got to use a KitchenAid stand mixer, and it was no less than the Professional 6000 HD! It made the mixing process super-easy and I finally understand what it means to have a light and fluffy batter, and how it is possible to make such light buttercream frosting. It worked like a dream and I can’t wait to own one when I can afford one and have enough counter-space to store an appliance as huge as this!

And I’m glad that I was able to use this to make a lemon creation, these cupcakes are not too sweet and the taste and aroma of Meyer lemons make this a perfect light dessert, in a season that’s normally full of heavy desserts.  This recipes yields about 24 cupcakes and the frosting was enough for me for about 24 cupcakes. However, I neither put *too much* frosting on every cupcake, and nor did I put too much sugar in the frosting. So if that’s not your style, you might want to adjust the frosting accordingly.

If you’re only looking for gluten-free lemon cupcakes, then see this recipe of lemon-poppy seed muffins and use the recipe for the lemon buttercream frosting given below. Enjoy!

lemoncup2

Recipe adapted from une gamine dans la cuisine – Yields 24 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

For cupcakes

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons grated lemon zest (about 4-5 lemons – I used Meyer lemons since they’re the most flavorful)
  • 1 cup ( that’s 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 room temperature eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk (allow it to sit at room temp. for about 20 minutes)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the frosting

  • Slightly less than 1 cup (that’s one full stick and 3/4 of another stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temp.
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (have an extra 1/2 cup on hand, just in case because I don’t like sweet frosting, so I used lesser sugar)
  • 1/4 cup half & half cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

For cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line muffin tins with paper liners (this recipe will make about 24 cupcakes).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand-mixer (or any large mixing bowl if you’re using a hand-held), combine the sugar and lemon zest. Use your finger tips to rub the zest into the sugar until it’s moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, using the paddle attachment, beat on med-high until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for about 1 minute per egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the almond extract.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and lemon juice.
  5. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and lemon juice, and beating until just combined after each.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared tins (about 3/4 full for each).
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or the tops spring back when lightly touched and a small knife inserted into a center cupcake comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and put the muffins out on a wire rack to cool completely before putting on the frosting.

For the frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes).
  2. Slowly begin adding the sugar, and beat until well combined. Beat in the cream, vanilla, and salt.
  3. Once combined, turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for about 3 minutes straight. Turn the mixer down to low and add the lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat for another 3 minutes until the frosting is fluffy and light. [Note: If the frosting looks too thin, add that extra 1/2 cup of sugar. If it's too thick, add a splash of cream, and beat to combine.]

    Beating the lemon buttercream frosting until it's light and fluffy

    Beating the lemon buttercream frosting until it’s light and fluffy

  4. Decorate the cooled cupcakes as desired!

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