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lemon curd dripping down the side of an unwrapped lemon cupcake

Lemon Cupcakes

  • Author: Jenna Barnard
  • Total Time: 1 hour + 1 hour cooling
  • Yield: 16 cupcakes


Fluffy and moist lemon cupcakes with a creamy mascarpone buttercream and homemade lemon curd swirl!


Lemon Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup (110g) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • Zest of 2 lemons (1 tbsp)
  • 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk, room temp
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) fresh squeezed lemon juice (34 lemons)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (195g) all purpose flour *see notes for GF option
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream**, room temp

Mascarpone Buttercream

  • 3/4 cup (185g) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese***, chilled
  • Zest of 1 lemon (1-2 tsp)
  • 4 cups (480g) powdered sugar
  • 23 tbsp heavy whipping cream, chilled



  1. *If you’d like to add lemon curd on top, make that first thing. Then, pour it into a counter and let it cool at room temperature while you make the cupcakes. By the time you’re ready to frost, the curd will be thickened but still drippy – perfect for swirling.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350F and line cupcake tins with 16 paper liners.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl using a hand or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the sugar and lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar using your fingers which will release even more lemon flavor.
  5. Add the butter and mix on high speed for 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  6. Mix in the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the bowl and mix in the lemon juice and vanilla. 
  7. Pour in half of the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Scoop in the sour cream and mix again.
  8. Scrape down the bowl and add in the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix on medium-low speed and stop right when the dry ingredients are fully blended into the batter. The batter should be thick.
  9. Evenly distribute the batter into each cupcake liner, filling each about half way full. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Let the cupcakes cool completely before making the buttercream.

Mascarpone Buttercream

  1. When ready, mix together the room temperature butter and chilled mascarpone using a hand or stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
  2. Once combined, mix in the lemon zest.
  3. Then mix in the powdered sugar one cup at a time until smooth. In between cups of powdered sugar, add in the heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time. Start with just 2, and decided if you need the third by the end.
  4. When everything is mixed in, kick the speed up the high and let it mix for about 1-2 minutes. The frosting should be smooth and creamy. If it’s too thin, chill the frosting for about 30 minutes. 
  5. Frost your cupcakes either with just the mascarpone frosting, or with the addition of a lemon curd swirl. Pop them in the fridge for 20 minutes to set. Enjoy!


*GLUTEN FREE – I haven’t tested it, but I believe gluten free flour would work for this recipe. Substitute the flour with a good quality gluten free baking flour. I like Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour. I also suggest weighing the flour rather than measuring by cups, to ensure accuracy.

**SOUR CREAM – You can also use full fat Greek yogurt.

***MASCARPONE – If you can’t find mascarpone cheese, sub with room temperature full fat cream cheese.

STORAGE – Keep the cupcakes in an air tight container in the refrigerator where they will keep for up to 5 days. The frosting softens quickly, so always keep the cupcakes chilled. Serve either cold or at room temp. 

  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Baking

Keywords: lemon cupcakes, cupcake recipes, lemon recipes, lemon cupcake recipe, lemon curd

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