Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes


Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes by Alicia of The Baker Upstairs for I Heart Naptime

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes on iheartnaptime.com

Hello again, I Heart Naptime readers! I am so excited to be back as a contributor this year! I had so much fun working with Jamielyn and the I Heart Naptime creative team last year, and I have loved sharing fun recipes with you every month. This is just such a fun place to be! This time of year, with the weather so cold outside, I’ve been baking a LOT. I love making the house warm and filling it with delicious smells, and baking with my little girls helps us beat the ever-present cabin fever we get from being indoors all day. The three of us worked together to make these lemon poppy seed cupcakes a few weeks ago, and they were fantastic! I got an enthusiastic thumbs up from both of my girls, and my husband loved them too.

Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes on iheartnaptime.com

I haven’t done a lot of baking with poppy seeds before, but they are so fun! They’re almost like sprinkles for grown ups. :) These cupcakes are light and fluffy, perfect sweetened, and full of flavor from the lemon zest and poppy seeds. They are topped with a delicious and light cream cheese frosting that is the perfect complement to the lemon flavor. I bake a lot of cupcakes, but these are definitely some of my favorite that I have ever made. They taste so light and fresh, and are the perfect treat for lightening up those dark winter days! Every winter I find myself craving citrus recipes, and I think it’s because I need that little burst of fresh flavor on an otherwise gray day. I hope you’ll try these and love them like I do!

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes


for the cupcakes:

1 3/4 cups sugar

zest of two lemons

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups cake flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cold, cut into pieces

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon extract

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

for the frosting: 

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat the oven to 350. Line two cupcake tins with paper liners. In a large bowl or a the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Whisk in the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine the milk, vanilla, and lemon extract in a measuring cup, and add about half of the milk mixture to the flour mixture. Beat until well blended and smooth. Add the other half of the milk mixture, and beat until smooth. Gently fold in the poppy seeds. Fill paper liners 2/3 full and bake 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for a few minutes and then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. To make the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and mix until combined. Beat until light and fluffy. Frost cupcakes as desired.

Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes on iheartnaptime.com

more by Alicia »


Hi! I’m Alicia and I blog at The Baker Upstairs. I am in love with all things food! I love to bake bread, cupcakes, cookies… you name it! When I’m not baking, I am running after my two adorable little girls, working as an RN, knitting, reading, and trying to squeeze in time with my husband every day. I’m also into photography and graphic design, and I love learning new things. I’d love for you to stop by The Baker Upstairs and say hi!

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  1. Michelle posted on January 6, 2015 at 1:32 pm (#

    Lemon poppy seed muffins are my favorite, so I can’t wait to try this cupcake version!

  2. Amy@theidearoom posted on January 6, 2015 at 2:32 pm (#

    These looks so yummy. I need to make some very soon!

  3. Michelle@TheRibbonRetreat posted on January 7, 2015 at 12:00 pm (#

    Wow…these cupcakes look absolutely divine! I LOVE lemon poppy seed muffins, and I can’t wait to try this fun recipe. Thank you so much! PINNED!

  4. Jen and Emily @ Layers of Happiness posted on January 15, 2015 at 6:45 pm (#

    I love love love poppyseed – kind of a new ingredient to me, but it’s sooo yummy, I wish I wouldn’t have waited so long!! This poppyseed creation looks SO awesome!! I’ll definitely be trying it soon. Pinned! :)

  5. Erin posted on February 8, 2015 at 11:31 am (#

    I tried this recipe with my children last night and they’re absolutely delicious. Eating one for breakfast because I couldn’t resist :)

    • Jamielyn posted on February 24, 2015 at 10:21 pm (#

      I’m so glad you liked them Erin! Thanks for your comment. :)

  6. Judi Graber posted on March 5, 2015 at 5:29 pm (#

    I make a delicious lemon poppy seed bread and I love that combination.  I know these cupcakes have to be yummy :)

  7. Cassie posted on March 7, 2015 at 8:01 am (#

    After reviewing your recipe, I noticed the butter ingredient in both the cake and icing recipe indicate  1 cup of butter (16 ounces).  16 ounces equals 2 cups.  1 cup would be 8 ounces.  So which is it,  1 or 2 cups?

    • Jamielyn posted on May 20, 2015 at 6:45 pm (#

      Hi Cassie! It is 1 cup for the cupcakes and 1 cup for the frosting! Sorry for the confusion. :)

  8. Jenna-Rae posted on June 25, 2015 at 1:03 am (#

    I’ve made these cupcakes twice now and both times they have turned out wonderfully.  They have a nice lemon flavor and dome perfectly!  The last batch I made was for my sister’s wedding (we filled them with a bit of lemon curd and topped them with blueberry cream cheese icing).  This is my go to recipe for lemon poppyseed now!

  9. josie posted on August 5, 2015 at 9:18 am (#

    Hey Alicia, 
    this cupcakes look fenomenal my only problem is that I don’t have lemons where I live so I was wondering if this could be made with lime? 
    Also, if i was making mini cupcakes what would you think the time is?

    Thank you for the recipe I have been looking for a lemon poppy for ages! 

    • Jamielyn posted on August 7, 2015 at 12:13 am (#

      Hi Josie! Using lime will definitely change the flavor, but I think it would still turn out well. I usually half the time when I am doing mini cupcakes! Try 10 minutes and then cook until golden. :)