These meyer lemon cupcakes have a moist lemon cupcake base topped with tangy cream cheese frosting and candied lemon slices! They're the perfect springtime dessert!
You just need a few simple ingredients to make these tangy meyer lemon cupcakes!
Cake flour - I always use cake flour in my cupcakes because it makes them super soft and tender, but all purpose flour also works great!
Lemon juice & zest - I love using meyer lemons in these cupcake because they have a slightly sweeter flavor! If meyer lemons aren't in season, regular lemons work great too. I just recommend using fresh lemons for the best flavor! But you can always substitute with a little bottled lemon juice if necessary.
Milk - I use milk in my cupcakes to keep them nice and moist, but you could also substitute full-fat plain yogurt or sour cream!
Candied Lemons - These are an optional, but fun garnish for the lemon cupcakes. I've included my recipe for homemade candied lemons below, but you can check out the full blog post for extra tips and tricks!
The complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below.
How to Make Lemon Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup pan with cupcake liners.
Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk the melted butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Add in the eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice and whisk until fully combined.
Stir in about half of the flour mixture.
Then stir in the milk and the rest of the flour mixture and mix until fully combined.
Pour about ¼ cup of batter into each cupcake liner (they should be about halfway full).
Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack. Let the meyer lemon cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
How to Make Candied Meyer Lemons
- 2 large meyer lemons
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
Using a mandoline or very sharp serrated knife, thinly slice the meyer lemons (⅛ to ¼ inch) and remove the seeds.
Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil and blanch the lemons for 1 minute and then transfer them to an ice bath to cool. This step helps maintain that bright yellow color and removes some of the bitterness from the rind.
In a large skillet, bring the water and sugar to a simmer. When the sugar is fully dissolved. Add the lemon slices and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour or until the rinds are translucent.
Remove the lemon slices and let cool completely on a wire rack.
You can either let the lemons cool on the wire rack at room temperature for about 24 hours. This option is great for when you want the candied lemons to be flexible and sticky. Or you can bake them in the oven at 200°F for 30 minutes to an hour, or until they start to stiffen up.
Sugared Lemons - You can leave the candied lemons plain, or you can roll them in granulated sugar for a pretty, sparkly garnish!
Frost cooled cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting, then garnish with lemon zest and candied lemon slices if desired!
Tips for the Best Baked Goods
Use room temperature ingredients! Always make sure ingredients like butter, eggs, milk, yogurt, etc. are at room temperature before baking (unless the recipe indicates otherwise)! This ensures they'll incorporate into the batter more easily and leads to overall better texture. Remove all ingredients from the fridge 30 minutes to an hour before baking for best results.
Measure your flour correctly! It's most accurate to use a kitchen scale, but if you're measuring by volume you want to spoon and level! Fluff up the flour a bit with a spoon, and then spoon flour into the measuring cup. Once it's overflowing, use the back of a knife to level it off. Don't ever pack flour into the measuring cup or you'll end up with way too much! Improperly measured flour can lead to dry, dense baked goods. [Measure cocoa powder the same way!]
Use an oven thermometer! Just because your oven says it's 350, doesn't mean it is! If you oven hasn't been calibrated recently, it can be as much as 30 degrees off, which will negatively affect all baked goods from cakes to macarons! An oven thermometer is the easiest/cheapest way to ensure your oven is always at the proper temperature.
Make sure you baking powder is fresh! Baking powder is important for helping baked goods rise properly, but it has a relatively short shelf life once opened, so it's one of the few items I never buy in bulk! To test if your baking powder is still fresh, add a small amount to boiling water. If it bubbles it's still good to use, but if not it's time to toss it!
Cupcake Decorating Tips
- Make sure you let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting!!
- For these big beautiful frosting swirls on these meyer lemon cupcakes, I use the 1M tip from this decorating kit. The tips are much larger than standard sizes and so fun for decorating cupcakes!
- After frosting, garnish with lemon zest and candied lemon slices!
These cupcakes will last in the fridge for up to 3 days. However, they taste best when served at room temperature! I like to let them sit at room temperature for about an hour before serving.
Nope! You can use regular lemons instead, the flavor will just be slightly more tart.
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Recipes You Might Like!
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Meyer Lemon Cupcakes
Cream Cheese Frosting
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons meyer lemon juice
- candied lemon slices
- lemon zest
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup pan with cupcake liners.
- Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the melted butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Add in the eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice and whisk until fully combined.
- Stir in about half of the flour mixture.
- Then stir in the milk and the rest of the flour mixture and mix until fully combined.
- Pour about ¼ cup of batter into each cupcake liner (they should be about halfway full).
- Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack. Let the meyer lemon cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the softened butter and cream cheese until completely smooth.
- Then add in the powdered sugar and beat on slow until combined.
- Add in the lemon juice and then beat the frosting for 3-4 minutes on high speed until light and fluffy.
- Frost cooled cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting, then garnish with lemon zest and candied lemon slices if desired!
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.