These lemon poppy seed cupcakes are light and fluffy, perfectly sweetened and full of flavor from the lemon zest and poppy seeds. Then topped with a light cream cheese frosting that tastes amazing!
I bake a lot of cupcakes, but these are definitely some of my favorite that I have ever made. They’re so light and fresh, every bite is perfection! Some of my other top picks are these apple pie cupcakes and carrot cake cupcakes. Yum!
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. I made these lemon poppy seed cupcakes a few weeks ago, and they were fantastic! I got an enthusiastic thumbs up from my kids, and my husband loved them too.
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 have a light and fluffy texture, with amazing lemon flavor. They are topped with a delicious and light cream cheese frosting that is the perfect complement to the lemon flavor.
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!
How to make lemon cupcakes
Make flour mixture. Combine the sugar and lemon zest using an electric mixer. Whisk in the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix in the butter pieces until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then beat in the eggs one at a time.
Add liquids. Stir together the milk, vanilla and lemon extract in a small bowl, then add half of the mixture to the bowl with the flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in the other half of the liquid mixture until smooth, then fold in the poppy seeds.
Bake. Fill two lined cupcake tins with the batter about 2/3 of the way full. Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for a few minutes, then remove from tins and move to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before frosting.
Frost. Beat the softened butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Then beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. Frost the cooled cupcakes and enjoy!
- You could easily make mini cupcakes with this recipe if you prefer. I usually cut the baking time in half when making the mini version, so I’d recommend baking them for about 10-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Feel free to add more lemon zest or extract if you like a strong punch of lemon flavor.
- You don’t have to include the poppy seeds, however I love the flavor and texture they add.
- Fill the cupcake tins 2/3 of the way full. The cupcakes will rise in the oven and bake into the perfect size.
- A classic buttercream would also taste delicious as the frosting.
More lemon desserts:
Lemon Poppy Seed 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 butter (2 sticks) 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 butter (2 sticks) , softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese , softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. 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 for 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.
Recipe contributed by Alicia from The Baker Upstairs for I Heart Naptime.